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Chimney fire risk on the rise as temperatures drop

As the temperatures continue to drop, the risk of chimney fires is on the rise.

Thousands of flues will catch fire in Mid-Missouri this year…and those flames could spread to the rest of your home.

Experts said there is a precaution every homeowner with a fireplace should take to avoid a flue fire: getting your fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected once a year.

“Within seconds, it can have that whole chimney engulfed in flames,” Joseph Ivicsics said.

Ivicsics has been a chimney sweep for the last 8 years. He said he gets called constantly during the winter for flue fires in mid-Missouri.

“We’ll get a call once to three times per week that, ‘I’ve had a flue fire, I need an estimate,'” he said.

He said the main cause of chimney fires is a dirty chimneys left unmaintained.

“The soot turns to creosote which is flammable,” he said.

While a flue fire is scary enough, what’s even scarier is that they can be silent dangers.

“I’ve been to a lot of houses where we could tell they’ve had a flue fire and the homeowner never knew so it’s not always something the homeowner knows happened which is scary,” Ivicsics said.

It might seem like a hefty chunk of change to pay nearly $200 for a cleaning and inspection, but the alternatives could be a lot more costly.

“Versus having a flue fire or structure fire or losing your house or your life…it could make a huge difference,” he said.

Wood burning fireplaces need to be cleaned and inspected every year. Gas burning fireplaces need to be inspected every year and cleaned as needed.

If you think you’ve had a flue fire, be sure to call an expert to get it looked at because the chimney can be broken or damaged which poses further risk.

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