A chimney fire in a California mountain home in late September provided a stark reminder about the dangers of using improperly maintained fireplaces. Authorities in Rimforest said that the fire, which started on Sept. 22, caused embers to drop onto the roof of the home as the chimney was sputtering. Even though chimney fires may seem to only affect the home at which they start, it is possible that these embers could have been blown into surrounding residences. Victims in such fires have been known to suffer serious thermal burns because of other homeowners’ negligence.
Officials say the chimney fire probably started because of a buildup of debris, ash and soot. In addition, such fires can be sparked by failure to frequently use the fireplace or chimney. Luckily, this chimney fire did not cause any serious structural damage at the home, and only one victim suffered minor injuries at the scene. Firefighters were able to confirm that the surrounding structures were safe, without any additional measures required to protect residents in the area.
Still, failure to properly clean a chimney before starting a fire can cause problems not only for local residents, but also for the surrounding wilderness. California’s woodlands are notoriously vulnerable to fires, thanks to a variety of conditions, and a chimney fire could ignite a raging blaze without any malicious intent. Residents of local homes could be injured or killed because of such a fire, but those utilizing natural resources in the area are also at risk.
Heating equipment is one of the major causes of injury and death in preventable home fires, with 22 percent of fatalities attributable to such items. A vast majority of these fires are caused by improperly cleaned chimneys and fireplaces.
Victims who have been injured in a fire that was not their fault should consider seeking financial damages from the at-fault party. Medical costs from burn injuries can quickly skyrocket because of the nature of the wounds.
www.mountain-news.com, “Chimney fire sparks warning” Mike Harris, Sep. 26, 2013