Two recent fires may have started in fireplaces - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Two recent fires may have started in fireplaces

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - Two fires rip through homes in our area in just one week, and it looks as if there is one common cause.

You might think burning a turkey in the oven is your only concern next week -- but it might be your toasty warm fireplace that causes you problems.

A home turned into a fireball Tuesday in Georgetown, Indiana, destroying much of it. Thursday morning, another blaze sparked in a home in Oldham County. No one was injured in the fires, but officials believe they started in fireplaces.

"Rule number one, keep the fire small," said Captain Sal Melendez with Louisville Fire & Rescue. Melendez says you also need to have your chimney cleaned and inspected every year. "Make sure that the vents are properly opened, that nothing is clogged, that nothing is blocked."

Make sure protective screens and doors are in place. "The closest flammable things such as furniture or household items need to be no closer than three feet," Melendez added.

It is not only a busy week for firefighters, but an active season for chimney sweeps. "This month is our busiest month of the year. A lot of people use the fireplace for the holidays so we have Thanksgiving coming up," Dallas Thomas, with AAA American Chimney Sweeps said. 

Before you enjoy chestnuts over the fire, Thomas says it is worth paying $100-$150 for an inspection. "First of all, it gives you a feeling of safety. You're secure in the fact that fireplace has been cleaned and you don't have the type of creosote that's going to ignite," said Thomas.

He echoes the advice of keeping the fire small. "And I recommend shaping the logs in a triangular shape," he said. "Two on the bottom, one on top, the fire starter underneath."

Soot came raining down as he scrubbed everything out. Even more convincing is watching the vacuum suck all the gunk up. "She's ready to go, it's in A-1 condition and it'll give her many years of safe pleasure," said Thomas after inspecting a local chimney.

Captain Melendez says to never leave the fire unattended, and also be careful with space heaters this time of year.

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