"the one thing about chimney fires is they are very preventable. and if you follow the rules, the guidelines that are sent down by the national fire protection agency and use a certified chimney sweep to keep and clean and keep it expected then there is no reason why you should ever have to deal with a chimney fire because a clean chimney will not catch fire,"says Parkersburg Fire Department Lieutenant Kevin Siers.
The danger in any wood burning device comes from a build up of ash and what is called creosote. Creosote is the black you see inside a chimney or stovepipe and builds up each time wood is burned.
If that black substance gets too thick or turns shiny that means it will easily ignite.
"People start their fires a lot of times with papers and a lot of times what happens if you've got some creosote build up in your chimney and a little piece of that paper goes up that's still got an ember in it or is still on fire then it'll ignite that creosote and then if you do have some cracks or some damage that you can't see that fire can spread to the rest of your house," says Lt. Siers.
And on cold nights when you leave the fire burning for some much needed heat, you'll sleep easier knowing it's not a fire hazard.
"Because a lot of people do use that as a supplement, a very necessary supplement so you know the main thing is to keep that chimney clean on the inside and to get it inspected once a year by a certified chimney sweep," says Siers.
Lieutenant Siers also says to have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.