Officials say fireplaces in newer homes could pose greater fire - CBS 5 - KPHO

Officials say fireplaces in newer homes could pose greater fire risk

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

George Smith is the owner of A Honest Abe's. Over the past week, business has really picked up for the chimney sweep.

"Prior to that it was like two or three jobs a day. Now it's 10 a day," said Smith.

It takes about 20 minutes to clean and inspect a fireplace - a check-up that can prevent your home from going up in smoke.

"So when you burn anything, it's going to leave a black residue called creosote. When that builds up in the flue, that's the stuff that ignites and causes a chimney fire," said Smith.

Mesa Fire Department spokesman Capt. Forrest Smith told CBS 5 crews have responded to quite a few fires over the past several years that sparked in the chimney or the fireplace.

Forrest Smith said there are two causes behind the majority of those fires. One reason is a dirty chimney.

"Then you have another situation that we've noticed especially with new construction. Those light weight constructed homes that have those prefab chimneys. We found that people were over burdening those fire places with a lot of wood," said Forrest Smith.

If the fire burns too hot, it can melt the metal box along with the flue and spread to the wood frame.

"They are not designed for a rip roaring camp fire. Just one or two logs at the most because you're going to damage the fire place or risk lighting the house on fire," said George Smith.

George Smith said you should only burn Dura-flame logs or hard woods such as cedar in your fireplace.

Christmas trees and any type of shiny paper like magazines are bad for the fireplace and the environment.

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