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November 13, 2012

Residents need to clean chimneys

NORMAN — No injuries in house fire Monday

A house fire occurred Monday morning on the 5700 block of East Franklin Road.

The fire started from a chimney. While it didn’t cause any damage and there were no injuries, it served as a reminder for residents to clean their fireplaces, Deputy Fire Chief Jim Bailey said.

“It’s that time of year that residents need to have their chimneys checked and make sure they’re clean,” Bailey said.

As the temperatures dip below freezing and more people begin to use fireplaces, Bailey said they need to make sure they’re clean to prevent instances like this.

“It’s extremely dangerous this time of year,” he said. “Everybody’s firing up their fireplaces.”

More than one-third of Americans use fireplaces, wood stoves and other fuel-fired appliances as primary heat sources in their homes, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

“Heating fires account for 36 percent of residential home fires in rural areas every year. Often, these fires are due to creosote buildup in chimneys and stovepipes. All home heating systems require regular maintenance to function safely and efficiently,” according to the USFA website.

Some tips the website offers to safely burn fuels include:

· Never use flammable liquids to start a fire.

· Use only seasoned hardwood. Soft, moist wood accelerates creosote buildup. In pellet stoves, burn only dry, seasoned wood pellets.

· Build small fires that burn completely and produce less smoke.

· Never burn cardboard boxes, trash or debris in your fireplace or wood stove.

· When building a fire, place logs at the rear of the fireplace on an adequate supporting grate.

· Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving the house.

· Allow ashes to cool before disposing of them. Place ashes in a tightly covered metal container and keep the ash container at least 10 feet from your home and any other nearby buildings. Never empty the ash directly into a trash can. Douse and saturate ashes with water.

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