Officials warn of chimney fire danger

Published: Feb. 19, 2015 at 2:50 AM CST|Updated: May. 19, 2016 at 9:25 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Chimney fires are the second leading cause of house fires and the third leading cause of house fire deaths.

The Ohio Township Fire Department responded to a chimney fire on Tuesday evening.

The homeowners caught the fire before it got out of control. However, firefighters say, that's not often the case.

In the past five days, firefighters were called to two chimney fires. One went into the attic of a home in Oakland City. It destroyed the house and kept firefighters on the scene for hours.

These fires are sparked by a build-up of residue on the chimney walls. The residue is highly flammable and, if there's too much of it, it will catch fire and take off.

"This time of the year, you've got to watch for people trying to burn old Christmas trees, trash, cardboard, and over firing their fireplace," said John Bassemier, who owns a Chimney sweep business.

"What will happen is it will get hot enough that it will crack your brick lining and everything in your fireplace," added Charles Kirsch, Ohio Township Fire Chief. "Sparks and flames will come out into your attic and that's actually what catches the house on fire."

To help prevent these fires, officials say you should have your chimney cleaned at least once a year.

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