Fred A. Mitchell Jr., Fire Chief
47 Central Street
Georgetown, MA 01833
For Immediate Release
Monday, Nov. 7, 2016
Contact: John Guilfoil
Georgetown Fire Department Extinguishes Chimney Fire
GEORGETOWN – Chief Fred Mitchell reports that the Georgetown Fire Department put out a small chimney fire last night, and would like to provide residents with safety tips as they begin using their fireplaces this season.
On Sunday, Nov. 6, just after 10:30 p.m., firefighters responded to 26A Prospect St. on a report that the residence’s chimney had caught fire.
The fire was contained within the chimney and did not extend into the home. However, Engine 1 and Ladder 1 remained on scene for over an hour due to the excess buildup of creosote – a highly combustible, tar-like substance – inside the chimney.
“We start to see residents using their fireplaces and wood or pellet stoves around this time of year,” Chief Mitchell said. “All chimneys and stoves should be cleaned and inspected at least once a year to prevent this sort of build-up from causing a fire in your home.”
To prevent chimney and wood or pellet stove fires, Chief Mitchell recommends that residents follow safety tips from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services:
- Have your chimney flue cleaned before each heating season and burn only dry, well-seasoned, hardwood to reduce creosote accumulation.
- Inspect your pellet and wood stoves annually to ensure they are functioning properly. Be sure to check the combustion chamber for damage and look for corrosion or damage to the vent before using.
- Never use flammable liquids to start a fire.
- Be sure that the damper of the chimney is open before lighting a fire. Failure to do so can result in an accumulation of smoke and carbon monoxide within the home. Do not close the damper before the fire has died out and the embers are cold.
- Use a fireplace screen to prevent flying sparks and embers from falling out onto the floor.
- Install and maintain smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Be sure to properly dispose of ashes from chimneys and stoves. Ashes should be shoveled into a metal bucket with a metal lid, placed outside, on the ground, away from the building, to prevent fires. Do not place ashes into a paper bag or cardboard box, as ashes and embers can stay hot for days and ignite combustibles.