Chimney Fire Displaces Residents and Prompts Safety Precautions - News, Sports and Weather

Chimney Fire Displaces Residents and Prompts Safety Precautions

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Residents living in a Helena four-plex certainly had a rough Friday night after they were all evacuated after a fire almost broke out.

People living at 638 South California street had a close call midnight on Friday as a potentially dangerous fire nearly broke out. The chimney of a four-plex building happened to be too close to a wooden 2x4 piece of the structure.

"Over time the heating process and the cooling process breaks down those fibers and it becomes more ignitable." said Fire Helena Department Fire Marshal Craig Trapp.

And Friday night, that is exactly what happened. Residents called the fire department after noticing smoke.

"It was more of a smokey vent a pyrolysis vent a full blown fire." added Trapp.

Some tenants of the four-plex are currently displaced while the $20,000 worth of damages are being repaired.

Now luckily residents here caught this pretty early, but the Helena Fire Department wants people to know what to look out for near fires before its too late.

Incidents like this one are sometimes impossible to catch, but the fire department says there are factors you could look for.

"We recommend that people have their fire places and chimneys inspected as they install them." said Trapp.

In addition to having the fire safety items like smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, it is also important to keep the chimney clean.

"You need to have them cleaned on an annual basis also so the creosote and other materials don't build up in your chimney itself. " continued Trapp.

The Helena Fire Department says episodes like this are common during the winter, but to be cautious and alert and have a plan incase this situation ever happens to you.

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