Ky. experts urging homeowners to get chimneys inspected, cleaned to avoid fires this winter

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56/WKYT) – It was a chilly Saturday evening, so a Lexington couple lit their fireplace to keep warm. Next thing they knew.

“Somehow the fire in the fireplace got outside of the firebox,” said Major John Walters with the Lexington Fire Department.

The fire spread through the house. Now during the holidays, a family will have to repair multiple rooms in their home. Walters worked the fire and said this was something that could happen to anyone.

“The smoke that’s generated from a wood-burning fire builds up over time and it’s that building up of smoke over time that creates the flammable deposit called creosote,” said Brion Barnhill, the owner of Barnhill Chimney Company. “And it’s our job to remove that product so it doesn’t catch fire inside your chimney.”

Barnhill said whether you use it or not, you should still have your chimney swept and inspected yearly.

“And we evaluate the system to make sure there are no defects or structural faults, that would lead to a structure fire,” Barnhill said.

Chimney companies can also walk you through how to safely use your fireplace.

“Every year we see probably 10 to 15 fires in our area,” said Dustin Bradley, the owner of Ace Chimney Sweep.

“When you have a fire in your living room it’s very dangerous, even if it’s gas or wood-burning, it’s really scary if you don’t know how to operate it properly or what safety precautions to take,” Bradley said.

We also asked chimney experts for tips when it comes to decorating near your fireplace for the holidays.

“Anything flammable you want to keep a very safe distance away from the open flame in your fireplace,” Barnhill said.

They said these steps could save you from potential heartache and expenses later.

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