Fireplaces: The Reward and the Risks

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Last month fire destroyed the home of an 82-year-old man. The owner started a fire in the fire place and took a trip to the store only to return to his house up in flames. A situation firefighters said occurs to often.

"Just today (Dec. 8th) somebody lit a fire up and it started a fire. They had a flue fire because their chimney's not cleaned properly and then it set a bunch of pine straw on fire on the roof also," recalled LT Scott Henderson of the Tallahassee Fire Department.

Residents like Elaine Anderson have used fireplaces for several years for heating. Anderson said she a fan of the look, the smell and the warmth fireplaces provide.

"I always make sure that the flue is open and I close the chain and the door on the fireplace, and I also make sure that I am always in the area. I don't go to bed with the fire going and I make sure it's properly put out before I go to bed," said Anderson.

Experts recommend having chimneys inspected and swept by professional and avoid using flammable liquids to start a fire in the fireplace or wood stove, and then there is the approach Anderson took.

"I have tile in front of the fireplace so that if any sparks happen to come out it hits the tile and not the hardwood floor," added Anderson.