South Omaha Chimney Fire Sparks Call For Safety

Paul Gutierrez

OMAHA (KPTM) - A house fire in South Omaha this week is renewing a call for chimney safety.

The Omaha Fire Department said Monday a wood burning stove was to blame for a fire that spread into the chimney near 14th Street and Pasadena Avenue. At one point, flames were even shooting out from the home.

Fires like that are now prompting chimney sweepers to warn people to clean out their chimneys.

"If you don't, there could be dead raccoons and bird nests in there," said Lance Rains, a chimney sweeper in Omaha for the past six years. "The debris left behind could easily spark a fire."

With another cold snap in the forecast Wednesday, Rains encourages everyone planning to use their fireplace to haul out the brushes and brooms first. Removing the soot, he says, is crucial.

"That soot turns into creosote, which turns from a solid state into a liquid state, and that's what makes it combustible."

Rains also recommends that you pay close attention to your flue when doing any cleaning.

"If there's debris in the flue and the flames can't go up, it's going to go up in front of your fireplace."

Experts also urge you to check the condition of your fireplace to make sure everything is in working order. Also, if you're not sure how to fix something, don't try to do it yourself and leave it to a professional.