Chimney Fire, What to do - Northern Virginia - Winson's ChimneyOne of the biggest risks there is when you have a fireplace, a chimney fire can damage structures, and destroy homes and businesses. When most people think of a chimney fire, they imagine flames and billows of smoke shooting from a chimney; however, some chimney fires occur without anyone ever knowing. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), dirty chimneys cause chimney fires. Preventing this type of fire is why the CSIA recommends an annual chimney sweeping from a reputable company like Winston’s Chimney Service. Our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps will be sure to remove all of the hazardous and flammable creosote accumulations from your chimney to reduce the risk of a chimney fire. We are often asked what to do in the situation of a chimney fire, so we thought we would share with you some information from the CSIA about dealing with this experience.

What are the symptoms of a chimney fire?

Since a chimney fire is most often contained within the chimney, you may not even be aware that a fire is occurring or has occurred. Indications of a chimney fire include low and rumbling sounds, cracking and popping noises, an intense smell, and a large amount of dense smoke. A slow-burning chimney fire does not get enough air and does not have enough fuel to be visible and dramatic, but it can still damage the structure of your chimney. If you suspect there has been a chimney fire in your chimney, you should contact Winston’s Chimney Service as soon as possible.

What are visible signs of a chimney fire? 

The CSIA has provided the following chimney fire signs:

  • “puffy” or “honey-combed” creosote
  • warped metal chimney components
  • cracked or missing flue tiles
  • discolored or distorted chimney cap
  • heat-damaged antenna attached to the chimney
  • creosote flakes and pieces found on the roof or ground
  • damaged roofing materials
  • cracks in exterior masonry
  • evidence of smoke escaping through mortar cracks.

What should I do after experiencing a chimney fire?

Your first step is to call a CSIA Certified Chimney Specialist for a professional chimney inspection. They will examine your chimney, clean it, and make recommendations about bringing your chimney back into compliance with safety standards. Depending on the situation, they may just need to repair a few chimney tiles, reline your chimney, or possibly even demolish your old chimney and rebuild a new one. If you believe you have had a chimney fire, you should never try to ignite another fire until a CSIA sweep has made their professional evaluation on the condition of your chimney.

How can I prevent a chimney fire?

The best prevention against a chimney fire is to have your fireplace and chimney professionally cleaned and inspected annually by a CSIA-certified chimney sweep. They can make sure your chimney stays clean of creosote buildup and detect any cracks or damage to your chimney before a chimney fire ever happens.

Have questions about chimney fires or think you’ve had a chimney fire? Contact the CSIA Certified Professionals at Winston’s Chimney Service to have your chimney inspected.

Winston's Chimney Service
11301 Industrial Road
Manassas, VA 20109