What’s Hiding in the Chimney?
Firing up the fireplace for the first time of the year can have disastrous consequences.
Dry grasses, old leaves and other yard rubbish piled on top of a chimney ready to ignite. This is the situation at many St. Peters area homes. In the warm spring and summer birds, squirrels and other animals make themselves at home inside chimneys. When homeowners turn on their fireplaces for the first time each fall, the nests can lead to large-scale house fire.
These nests are usually found at the top of the flue. When the fireplace is lit the nest catches on fire. As it falls down in between the flue and the chimney a house fire can start. “One of the most dangerous things about this is that homeowners often don’t know their home is on fire because it is happening behind the wall, or in the attic. They are often alerted by a neighbor or passerby who sees the smoke and calls 911,” says Central County Fire & Rescue Chief Russ Mason.
CCFR sees an increase in these fires each fall, and they are preventable. Every year before turning on the fireplace for the first time residents should inspect the flue and the chimney to ensure it is clear. “If there appears to be debris we recommend hiring a company to provide a professional cleaning,” says Mason.
About Central County Fire & Rescue
The Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) District is one of the largest fire districts in Missouri, covering 72-square miles of St. Charles County, MO and a population of 90,000. A team of 82 firefighter/EMTs, fire inspectors and operational staff work together to keep the St. Peters and St. Charles, MO community safe. This well trained team operates six fire stations, seven days a week. A three member, citizen-elected Board of Directors, leads the District.
About Chief Russ Mason
In his 35-year fire service career Chief Russ Mason has responded to more than 2,000 fire related incidents, and determined the point of origin and cause of more than 900 fires. He has served as Chief of CCFR since 2003. He is Vice President of the MO Fire Chiefs Association and the past President of the Professional Fire and Fraud Investigators Association of Missouri. He formerly served as the Deputy Chief and Chief Investigator in Charge of the Criminal Investigation Unit for the Missouri Division of Fire Safety. Chief Mason was one of ten national finalists for the International Association of Fire Chief’s 2012 Career Fire Chief of the Year.