Oct 12, 2010 4:25 PM by Bea Karnes

Fast facts: avoiding chimney fires

Five percent of all civilian fire deaths in the United States are caused by house fires started by fireplaces, chimneys or chimney connectors. That's according to statistics compiled by the National Fire Protection Association.

So how do you protect yourself?  Here are the fast facts:

* Get your chimney swept. A buildup of creosote in chimneys causes nearly 15,000 fires each year.

* Have your chimney inspected. Improperly connected chimneys and other mechanical issues cause about 7,000 fires a year.

* Combustibles catching fire. Do you have a nice stack of newspapers next to the fireplace? An overstuffed easy chair? Pulling your chair right up to the fireplace and snuggling with with a book may conjure up images of a Norman Rockwell painting, but get too close and you'll end up the lead story on NewsFirst5.

The majority of fire deaths happen 2:00 - 4:00 a.m., so don't leave fires burning when you go to bed.



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