Staying safe this winter from chimney fires

900 people die in winter home fires every year.

AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) – Separate chimney fires damaged two homes less than a block apart in Franklin County on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 22News explains how you can prevent chimney fires if you heat your home with wood.

Chimney fires are preventable, but according to the U.S Fire administration, more than $2 billion in property loss, occurs from winter home fires. Two chimney fires in Turners Fall spoiled Christmas for two families Saturday night. One fire at 28 High Street forced eight people to find someplace else to stay on Christmas Eve.

Chimney fires can make noise, said Fire Fighter Scott Miett of the Agawam Fire Department.  “Usually a loud popping or a roaring noise in your chimney. Thick, dense, black smoke that puffs out of your chimney, more than usual.”

Creosote is solidified smoke residue. Creosote coats the inside of your chimney and builds up. If it catches fire, it burns very hot, and can destroy your house.

Miett told 22News, firefighters generally see more chimney fires during the winter months. “Chimney fires that occur usually occur in the months of December, January and February. It’s when people first start up their chimneys and the creosote is there.”

There was a second, less serious chimney fire in Turners Falls on the same street 12 hours later. This should serve as a reminder to get your chimney checked out and cleaned by a professional if you heat with wood.

The U.S Fire Administration says winter home fires cause more than $2 billion dollars in property loss every year, but that’s not all. Nearly 900 people die in winter home fires every year.