Multiple weekend fires caused by fireplaces

Multiple fires caused by fireplaces

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - At least five weekend fires in and around Kansas City are believed to have been caused by fireplaces.

It only took 10 minutes to get for one fire at a home in W. 66 th Street to leave nearly $60,000 in damages.

"It doesn't look like much is done, until you walk in," Marsha Colwell said, who was at home with her husband and daughter at the time of the fire.

The family left the fireplace on while they were in their rooms.  It may have been too late to save her home, but not her family.

"By the time I got back in the front door and woke my husband up and went upstairs and got my daughter and one of the dogs, we came outside and it had engulfed the whole front," she said.

Her other dog, Patch, went back inside.

"(He) didn't see my daughter come out and went in the house after her and the firefighters found him under her bed," Colwell said.

It took two firefighters to carry Patch out and nearly 45 minutes with an oxygen tank before he regained consciousness.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 36 percent of all house fires are caused by heating.

"We've torn chimneys apart, torn down the flue system and actually saw the wooden structure of the home right behind where the clay tiles were and the wood was black as coal," Glen Simmons said, who owns Sleep Safe Chimney Service, "it wasn't a matter of if it was a matter of when that house was going to catch fire."

Simmons recommends cleaning your chimney at least once a year and using only seasoned, dry wood. Anything else will form creosote, or a sticky residue.

"That's the more flammable product and that's the produce that's going to catch fire and cause that 2,200 degree ball of fire to shoot up the flue system," Simmons said.

This lesson is one Colwell doesn't want anyone else to have to learn the hard way.

"I don't care if you have it checked out three times, four times, have it checked out and make sure everything is working," she said.

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