CHENANGO COUNTY — The Chenango County Bureau of Fire and Emergency Management is reminding Chenango County residents to be mindful of fire prevention methods this winter season.
"This time of year what we're finding right now is we get a lot of chimney fires with the fluctuation of the temperatures," said Chenango County Emergency Management Director and Fire Bureau Coordinator Matthew Beckwith. "So when it gets cold, people burn their furnaces hotter, especially the wood stoves and et cetera. They burn them hotter so they get more heat. So the hotter you can burn your furnace, the less creosote that it creates in your chimneys."
Creosote is a highly flammable material. With this season's fluctuating temperatures, Beckwith said many are burning their furnaces at lower temperatures, creating a build up of creosote that eventually catches fire.
"What happens is people turn their dampers down, so they don't burn their chimneys as high. So it creates additional creosote inside their chimney," he said. "Creosote is highly flammable, so what will happen is we start to have a lot of chimney fires. We have chimney fires that turn around and they spread outside their chimneys, and the next thing you know their house is on fire."
To prevent this, Beckwith said residents should make sure they are only burning seasoned wood in fireplaces and wood stoves, cleaning and inspecting their chimneys often, and cleaning out any creosote buildup.