Chimney Fires: Prevention and Safety Tips

Woman reads book near fireplaceWho doesn’t love the sound and smell of a warm crackling fire? While fireplaces add a decorative touch to any room, they have a function that is very important. Warmth!

Growing up in tiny house in Minneapolis, I remember our fireplace being the “center” of the house. It always drew anyone who was in the house to that tiny little living room to bask in the warm glow! As Minnesotans I think we appreciate a real wood-fired fireplace or stove.

With that appreciation has to come responsibility. Those majestic heat sources can also lead to dangers no homeowner wants to be faced with. Please remember to annually have your fireplace cleaned by a professional to help prevent a smoke or fire damage in your home.  Fact – clean chimneys don’t catch fire!

Indications of a chimney fire can be:

  • Loud Cracking and popping noise
  • A lot of dense smoke
  • An intense, hot smell

The Basics of how a chimney and flue work

The chimney and flue are intended to carry gases from your fireplace, wood stove or furnace safely out of your home. This action allows for healthy, breathable air in a home.  It is important, therefore to keep your chimney clean.  A dirty chimney can cause a chimney fire, which will damage structures, destroy your home and potentially injure or kill someone.

Chimney fires can be loud and dramatic, or quiet and slow burning. Some homeowners report hearing a low, rumbling sound that resembles a freight train.  Others never hear a sound. 

Many homeowners are not even aware that they have had a chimney fire. This is scary to me and should be everyone’s main reason for an annual inspection. 

  Here are the signs that professional chimney sweep looks for:

  • “Puffy” or “honey combed” creosote
  • Warped metal of the damper, metal smoke chamber concoctor pipe or factory-built metal chimney
  • Cracked or collapsed flue tiles, or tiles with large chunks missing
  • Discolored and or distorted rain cap
  • Heat-damaged TV antenna attached to the chimney
  • Creosote flakes and pieces found on the roof or ground
  • Roofing material damaged from hot creosote
  • Cracks in exterior masonry
  • Evidence of smoke escaping through mortar joints of masonry or tile liners

If you are buying a new home or have recently purchased a new home with a wood fired stove or fireplace, you should definitely have it inspected for any of the signs listed above.

24Restore has helped many homeowners in the Minneapolis/ St. Paul and surrounding areas recover from soot, smoke or fire damage. Our highly trained team members are equipped with the best equipment in the industry and are available 24 hours and day and 365 days a year.  Our People, Our Equipment and Our Expertise are the difference.

For more than thirty years CSIA, Chimney Safety Institute of America, has worked to prevent chimney fires, dryer fires, and other home heating disasters by educating both homeowners and industry professionals. For more information regarding home fire prevention check out their website at