Taney County fire crews urge homeowners to maintain heaters, prevent fires

‘Tis the season for house fires. Crews in Western Taney County have battled about half a dozen blazes since the weather turned cold. 

As firefighters have been busy putting out the flames, local fireplace technicians have also been busy servicing heaters and helping to prevent fires.

“This has been a banner year for service. Usually, every year in the past, we've only been a couple weeks out. We've been a solid month and a half out,” The Fire Place Owner Ryan Pulley said.

Pulley says having your heater checked out annually can protect your home. 

"Many houses burn down every year,” Pulley said.

A home northeast of Branson was one of those homes. The woman and her grandchild who were inside are okay, but the fire serves as a reminder.

"We believe it was the chimney. I don't know if they actually had a flue fire initially or it was just such a big fire that it set some combustibles that were near the flue on fire,” Western Taney County Fire District Chief Chris Berndt said.

Chief Berndt agrees, smart usage includes servicing. 

"Electric, gas, wood, whatever it may be, that it's just maintained properly,” Chief Berndt said.

Pulley says that maintenance usually includes cleaning for all types of heaters.

"Even the best maid, I can make look bad because these logs attract dust,” Pulley said. “You blow out all the orifices and knock all the dust out of it."

So, with winter weather on the way, it might be time for a tune-up.

“You definitely want to be using it at the top of its game,” Pulley said. “Similar to getting your oil changed. No one runs their car for 10 years and doesn't get the oil changed. It's the same with your fireplace, you need to have it serviced or you're going to have issues."

The fire chief says in addition to making sure your heat source is safe, it's also very important to have working smoke alarms. He says most fire departments install those for free.