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Fireplace safety: How to stay safe this holiday season

Nearly half of all home fires occur during December, January and February. 25% of those fires were due to improper use of fireplaces.
Published: Dec. 12, 2021 at 9:02 AM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Nearly half of all home fires occur during December, January and February. Around 25% of those fires were due to improper use of fireplaces. A fireplace can be a great way to heat your home during the winter months, but firefighters want to be sure you are doing so safely.

First, keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from the fireplace. This includes things like furniture, blankets, and Christmas decorations.

Next, if you have a wood-burning fireplace, do not burn paper; the debris can build up in the chimney and lead to an attic fire.

“Probably the most important thing is that they make sure to get their flues cleaned, make sure they get their chimneys cleaned,” said Fire Chief Shane Anderson with the Battlefield Fire Protection District. “There are lots of services available that can do this, and in most cases, they’re inspecting at the same time. Often, you can have a fire caused by cracks in the flue things like this that people aren’t aware of. That causes the burnt material to build up and it can leak out and catch fire into the attic.”

Keep in mind what kind of wood you are burning. Some types of wood generate more heat than others.

When it’s time to clean up the ashes, place them in a metal container and dispose of them far away from your house.

“Recently, we’ve had fires associated with the improper removal of the ashes,” said Anderson. “We had somebody that pulled the ashes out of their fireplace, and they stored them in the garage. They thought it was far enough away from the wall, but it caught the garage on fire.”

Firefighters also want to remind you to check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors so that everyone can stay safe this holiday season.

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