How to avoid winter fires

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind.—The colder temperatures have many people turning up their space heaters and fireplaces. Although house fires are common, all-year-round, they tend to increase during the winter months.

As people turn to different ways to stay warm, like using their space heaters or cozy up near the fireplace, it is imperative that we go into this winter season with safety in mind.

South Bend Assistant Fire Chief Gerard Ellis said they’ve had some fireplace fires in the past.

He recommends you schedule an inspection at least once a year, clean your chimney; especially when you notice creosote build-up, especially since it's highly flammable and can cause fires. To help minimize creosote build-up Ellis mentions only burn seasoned hardwood, but also keep the screen in front of the chimney closed.

“The screen in front of the chimney helps, so if you are burning wood in the chimney place that helps if a piece does spark off, and then just paying attention to it as well if you do have a chimney at home you don’t want to walk away and leave it unattended for hours,” Ellis said.

It’s also important to check your smoke detectors and make sure they work.

You can always contact the fire department if you have any questions.

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