What to Do After a Chimney Fire
Thousands of chimney fires occur annually, primarily in the winter, causing billions of dollars in property damage, injuries, and even deaths. So, if you recently had a chimney fire, you know it can be a shocking and traumatic experience for the entire family. Yet, barely into 2023, fire departments across Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois are responding to dozens of structure fires that began in the chimney. In fact, squirrels were the cause of chimney fires in several Illinois homes, resulting in over $100,000 in damage to each property. Now that the fire is out, here’s what to do after a chimney fire.
Ensure Family Members Are Safe
Your top priority is ensuring all family members (including your beloved pets) are safe. You may need to seek shelter for your family if your home is uninhabitable.
Apply Water to Your Roof
Even if you have a small chimney fire, it is imperative to call the fire department. There may be smoldering combustible materials that you can’t see. In the meantime, apply water to your roof and chimney top, if it is safe, until the fire department arrives. Only reenter your home when the fire chief says it is secure.
Schedule a Chimney Inspection
If you reside in the Racine-Waukesha-Zion area, contact Burlington Fireplace to schedule a Professional Chimney Inspection.
We will determine the repairs you will need to bring your chimney and fireplace up to code, so you can again enjoy the warmth of the hearth.
Contact your Homeowners’ Insurance Company
Call your homeowners’ insurance agency to file a claim. Depending on the terms and limits of your policy, they may cover all or part of your chimney repairs, minimizing your out-of-pocket costs. However, if the fire is determined to be due to failure to maintain or clean the chimney properly, they may deny all or part of your claim. The claims adjustor may ask you to provide documentation from your last professional chimney inspection and cleaning.
Do Chimney Repairs Quickly
Your Certified Chimney Professional® will provide a complete written report with digital images and video to support the documentation. We will also include a list of any necessary chimney repairs. These may be a partial or complete chimney or crown rebuilding, flue liner replacement, etc., that will make the stack structurally sound and in compliance with National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) specifications and local and state building and fire safety codes.
Make Fire Prevention a Priority with Annual Chimney Cleanings
A Wisconsin fire chief reported that many chimney fires result from new homeowners unfamiliar with the proper precautions required to maintain a safe fireplace and chimney. Here are some fire prevention tips all fireplace owners should practice:
- Hire a professional sweep to clean your chimney yearly to remove flammable creosote buildup.
- Clean your firebox and remove excess ash in the fireplace during the winter.
- Sweep ash into a metal container with a lid.
- Keep children, pets, and combustible materials at least three feet away from the fireplace.
- Have an annual inspection to ensure animals aren’t nesting in your chimney.
- Only burn “seasoned” hardwoods that have been dried for at least six months.
- Replace the batteries and test your smoke and CO2 detectors twice yearly.
- Have a fire escape plan and have practice drills with your family.
Professional Chimney Inspection, Cleaning, & Repairs in Racine, WI – Zion IL
After a chimney fire, call Burlington Fireplace at 262-763-3522 today to schedule a chimney inspection. Our certified chimney professionals will perform a thorough examination and chimney sweeping then make the repairs, installations, and replacements so that you can enjoy your fireplace, stove, and other heating appliances safely.
We serve customers in communities throughout southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Or contact us online for a free estimate.