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Four Homes and Ten Acres Destroyed by Chimney Fire

Chimney fire
Chimney fire

Six fire departments were called to assist in putting out a fire in Ivy Bend, Missouri on Tuesday, January 21, 2014. According to volunteer fireman Steve Hoover, he received a 9-1-1 call at 11:50 p.m. reporting a chimney fire on Ivy Bend Rd in Ivy Bend. Because of the high winds the fire spread to three homes and a large building destroying them along with approximately 10 acres of vegetation.

The Ivy Bend Fire department along with five other fire departments and Mid-Mo Ambulance districts responded to the incident. Mutual aiding fire departments were Gravois Fire Protection District, Stover Fire Protection District, Versailles Rural Fire Protection District, Moreau Fire Protection District and Cole Camp Rural Fire Department. The City of Versailles Fire Department stood by at their station to assist if needed. "

The cause of the fire is undetermined at this time, but it is suspected to have started in a living room chimney. Officials say it spread quickly, with the entire house engulfed in about four minutes.

More than half of the Volunteer Ivy Bend Fire Department was out of town at the time. Ivy Bend is a non-tax funded volunteer fire department and currently is in need of apparatus and volunteers.

Morgan County 911 issued a press release on Tuesday, January 21 containing steps to preventing chimney fires:

• Burned wood odors coming from the fireplace when it's not being used.

• Fires that seem to burn poorly or that dump smoke back into the room

• A black damper, caked with creosote. Since it sits right above the firebox, the damper is often the easiest thing to see and reach. If you see “black gunk” or you can pull out chunks of residue, there's a dangerous amount of creosote buildup.

“How often you need to clean your chimney depends a great deal on how much you use it. The kinds of fires you build and the type of wood you use also govern cleaning frequency. As a rule of thumb, it's a good idea to have chimneys cleaned at least once a year, usually before cold weather sets in. Some people prefer to do it in the spring, and some chimney sweeps offer special promotions at this time of year to keep business going. This is fine, too, but scheduling a fall cleaning will also clear out anything that might have fallen into the chimney during the summer.”

Local officials recommend hiring a professional chimney sweep to ensure a thorough cleaning and also recommends homeowners look for a sweep that is credentialed by the National Chimney Sweep Guild or the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

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