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Chimney Cleaning Could Help Prevent House Fires

Posted at 5:37 PM, Jan 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-10 18:44:29-05

With the temperatures dropping in Middle Tennessee, experts have been encouraging people who use fireplaces to make sure they’re clean to prevent fires from breaking out.

In many neighborhoods in Tennessee, you can find multiple homes with chimneys, but on Sunday morning, one family’s chimney in West Nashville may have caused a damaging fire.

“The thing about this time of the year when it starts getting cold, people will start their fireplace, and they don’t get them cleaned out,” District Chief Lester Kelton of the Nashville Fire Department explained.

According to Kelton, the fire happened just after 7 a.m. Sunday on Taggart Avenue after the homeowner started a fire in his fireplace.

“He said the smoke started pillaring out of his fireplace, so he knew that something was wrong,” Kelton said.

Within minutes, much of the home had been damaged, but luckily everyone made it out without being hurt.

“It’s just a sad thing when a house catches fire,”  John Weaks said.

Weaks is the owner of Chimney Quest, a Nashville company focused on fixing up, inspecting, and cleaning chimneys.

“We want your winter experience to be cozy at the fire and not a winter nightmare,” Weaks said, adding that he thinks this fire, and others like it, could have been prevented. “If you go to light your chimney and it smells maybe different than it did last year, or it’s not drawing properly like it did last year, then put it out and give us a call.”

A chimney inspection usually runs less than $100, with a chimney cleaning costing you slightly more, but Weaks said it’s worth it to keep your home safe.

“You should clean your chimney at least once a year,” Weaks said.

Weaks said if homeowners have their chimneys inspected prior to using them every year, it can prevent a fire like this, and firefighters agree.

“I would not start a fire in my fireplace until I had a professional come out and make sure my chimney is clean,” Kelton said.

While firefighters believed the chimney may have been the cause of the fire, the cause of the fire was still under investigation and had not been determined.