55 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204
Chimney and Woodstove Safety
From 2004 through 2008 in Oregon, there were 2,899 home heating-related fires resulting in 12 deaths, 85 injuries, and more than $42 million in property loss. These heating-related fires also resulted in 34 injuries to firefighters.
Have your chimney inspected by a professional prior to the start of every heating season and cleaned if necessary. Creosote, a chemical substance that forms when wood burns, builds up in chimneys and can cause a chimney fire if not removed through cleaning. Always protect your home and your family by using a sturdy fireplace screen when burning fires. Remember to burn only clean, dry, seasoned firewood - never burn paper or pine boughs, which can float out the chimney and ignite your roof or a neighboring home. Do not use flammable liquids in a fireplace. If you are purchasing a factory-built fireplace, select one listed by a testing laboratory, and have it installed according to local codes. If you decorate your fireplace with Christmas stockings or other seasonal decorations, don't burn fires in it.
Be sure your wood stove bears the mark of an independent testing laboratory and meets local fire codes. Click here for building code information dealing with woodstove installations. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for proper installation, use and maintenance. Chimney connections and chimney flues should be inspected at the beginning of each heating season and cleaned when necessary. Follow the same safety rules for wood stoves as you would for space heaters. Burn only clean, dry firewood, and be sure the wood stove is placed on an approved non-combustible stove board or hearth to protect the floor from heat and hot coals. Fireplaces and wood burning stoves are auxiliary home heating devices that demand care and attention in their purchase, installation, and maintenance. For someone considering the installation of a wood or coal stove, a fireplace, or a solid-fuel furnace, careful consideration must be given to the safety aspects of the equipment and the installation. Expert advice is often required. Instructions must be followed to the letter.
Following these precautions can reduce the possibility of a fire or injury related to woodstove use.
For more fire prevention tips to keep you safe and sound, visit and subscribe to Portland Fire & Rescue's YouTube account at http://www.youtube.com/PDXFireRescue.
Portland Fire & Rescue
We Respond: Always Ready, Always There
November 8, 2010