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Bitter Cold Brings Rise In Chimney Fires

Make Sure Chimneys Are Clean Before Lighting Fires
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FRISCO, Colo. (CBS4) – Since the temperatures plummeted firefighters have been busier than ever putting out fires around the Denver metro area.

Cold weather may not help the spread of flames, but it does make it harder for firefighters to put them out.

“That’s something we have to be hyper vigilant with,” Assistant Fire Chief Jim Lynch with the Denver Fire Department said.

Lynch says house fires happen every winter, many of which are due to fireplaces.

“You’ve got to make sure your chute is open,” he said.

Just this past Sunday a Westminster townhome caught fire after the family had a fire the night before. The resulting ashes caught fire around 3 a.m. Luckily nobody was hurt.

“You’re going to get a lot of cresol build up with the type of wood that we burn here,” Lynch said.

Firefighters say those who plan on having a fire should get their chimney cleaned before doing so, because the chimney itself can become a fire hazard.

“It can build up on the inside of the chimney chute and get real hot and heated and it can all of a sudden start combustion itself and start burning.”

Crews say it happens every winter and recommend getting chimneys cleaned before lighting up.

“It is always recommended to get it cleaned a couple times a year because of the cresol build up.”

Firefighters say the ashes from a fire can stay hot for days after a fire. They say to keep anything flammable at least 3 feet from any heat source, and remember to turn it off any time leaving the room or going to bed.

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