Close call prompts Houston Fire Department to remind Alaskans to check chimney

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The Houston Fire Department wants to remind Alaskans to check their chimney after a homeowner had a close call.

Firefighters photographed a chunk of the creosote that fell off the chimney. Courtesy Houston Fire Department

The homeowner called Houston Fire Department Tuesday night after they heard a rattling from their chimney and saw embers coming from the top of their chimney.

No one was hurt and the fire was limited to the top of the stack area. It was put out by firefighters and everyone was able to return home.

In extremely cold weather, smoke cools quickly, causing creosote to build up.

"The build-up in this situation, there was less than two months of build-up, and it restricted it to less than 10 percent of the opening was still.,” said Christian Hartley, fire chief of the Houston Fire Department. “So what was happening was that it was so built up in there, the fireplace finally ignited in the chimney, in the stack."

Hartley recommends that you clean and check your chimney every month, even though places in the Lower 48 would recommend a yearly cleaning.

He also recommends that you burn dry, seasoned hardwood rather than any damp or soft logs.

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