Fireplaces are fixtures in many Northwest Florida homes, but go without notice until temperatures start dropping. Thoughts of warm nights by the fire and the ambience a fire creates are inviting. However, homeowners may want to think twice before striking that match if they have not had their fireplaces inspected by a qualified inspector. Santa Rosa County has already had one fire this month that was directly related to a hole or crack in the fireplace chimney flue.
According to the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)’s latest U.S. home-heating fires report, heating equipment -- primarily space heaters and fireplaces — are still the leading cause of home fires and fatalities, and half of all home heating fires occur in December, January and February.
“You definitely should have your fireplace and flue inspected, because a fire will find the smallest crack in a ceramic flue or metal pipe and, before you know it, you will have a lot of fire damage,” Holley-Navarre Fire Chief Ron Norton said. “The storms and high winds we have around here can and will shake your pipes loose. If you haven’t had your fireplace inspected since the hurricanes, you should definitely do so.”