Each fall, thousands of homes experience chimney fires, due to the improper maintenance of their chimney. These fires can be prevented by making sure your flue is lined and in good repair, by having it inspected and cleaned regularly by a professional and by learning how to build fires that reduce the build-up of creosote.
The cause of most chimney fires is creosote which is a by-product resulting from the incomplete combustion of wood. It accumulates on the sides of your chimney and stovepipe as a liquid and later condenses into a solid. As it builds up it not only blocks the flue, but can ignite into a roaring fire.
The fall season also marks Fire Prevention Week, which commemorates the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. On October 9th, 250 people died and over 17,000 buildings were destroyed in a fire where the property damage was estimated at $169 million dollars. The Fire Marshal's Association established Fire Prevention Day in 1911 to publicize the fire problem. In 1922, President Harding proclaimed National Fire Prevention Week and since that time the National Fire Protection Association has been the official sponsor of Prevention Week activities throughout the nation.