Around Acadiana

Nov 12, 2013 6:06 PM by Steven Albritton

As Temperatures Drop, Fireplace Safety A Concern.

Temperatures are falling and parts of Acadiana could be looking at freezing temperatures over the next couple of days. Homes will be lighting up their fire places because of the cold weather, but taking proper steps before you ignite the flame could make all the difference. Chimney sweep Steven Comeaux has been in the chimney cleaning business for more than 26 years. During that time he has pulled the worst of the worst out of chimneys.

"One lady had big flies in her house for six months. She tried Orkin. She tried pest control. One day, she decided she wanted her chimney cleaned and low and behold! I literally counted 28 gallons of bird droppings and 12 dead ducks," Comeaux said.

Wading through it all, the real danger to the home is if the chimney isn't properly maintained. Build up of soot and ash could make for a deadly situation.

"All that soot is very dangerous. It's like jet fuel. If the fire gets a hold of that you're talking about a hot fire."

The Lafayette Fire Department says doing the necessary cleaning before hand could make all the difference.

"If you use it a lot in previous years, you may want to get that inspected. If you haven't you may want to just take a look at it to make sure everything is safe," Alton Trahan of the Lafayette Fire Department said.

Comeaux echoes what fire officials say. He says regular upkeep will reduce the chance of something going wrong.

"After a good truck load of wood get it cleaned. That's a rule of thumb or you're taking chances," Comeaux said.

The Lafayette Fire Department says there are a few things you can do to keep your house safe besides just regular cleaning.
Make sure you do the following:

- Burn good, dry wood
- Dispose of ashes in approved containers after they've fully cooled off, away from the house.
- Use space heaters in open areas and make sure they are kept away from things that could be flammable.

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