Keeping chimney properly cleaned could save house from fire

Chimney Champions president explains how, when to get chimney cleaned

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Keeping your chimney properly cleaned could save your house from an unexpected house fire this winter.

Video of an apartment fire that happened Thursday morning on the Southside shows a burnt fireplace. Firefighters said they're not exactly sure what started the fire, but the fire marshal told the person living in that apartment unit that the fireplace could have been the problem.

Cleaning your chimney is not only a routine necessity, but something that can save your house and your life.

"Here in Jacksonville, thankfully it doesn't happen all that often because of the frequency that we use our fireplaces," Chimney Champions president Wally Conway said. "That doesn't change the risk. It only takes one fire to get out of your flue to destroy your home and harm your family."

Conway said it's best to make sure the entire chimney is examined and not just swept. A chim cam gives chimney sweeps a 360 degree view of an entire chimney.

"What that entails is cleaning the chimney so we can get a good look at the internals of it and then sending a camera right up there so we can get a good look from the top, all the way to the bottom," Conway said. "Are there any breaks, any cracks, any obstructions? Is there anything there that would pose ... a danger to you and your family."

Conway said the biggest mistake homeowners make is not getting chimneys clean when needed.

"If you're burning a lot of wood, you would want to do it annually, in (any other) ... case every other year," Conway said.

That's because getting your chimney cleaned is a lot easier than cleaning up after a fire.