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As the weather turns colder, residents are turning to their fireplaces to cozy up their homes. While some newer homes have gas fireplaces, older homes still rely on wood-burning appliances, which can come with some significant hazards if operated incorrectly.

Two in five home heating equipment fires involved equipment that relied upon a solid fuel, such as wood-burning or pellet stoves or wood-burning fireplaces. Fireplaces or chimneys were involved in 29 percent of fires caused by heating equipment. The vast majority of these fires were classified as confined fires that were limited in scope and did not extend beyond the chimney, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District receives an average of a dozen calls for chimney/flue-related fires annually, according to Noell Crosse, Con Fire’s Public Education Coordinator. The majority of those calls occur between October and March.


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