Chimney fires damage homes in West Milford

| 18 Feb 2016 | 01:59

By Erika Norton
— West Milford firefighters responded to two fires over the weekend, both of which started in the homes’ chimneys.

Firefighters were called to 18 Glencross Road in West Milford on Feb. 12 at 6:19 p.m., according to West Milford Fire Marshal Mike Moscatello. The fire broke out in the wall of the chimney and extended into the attic.

The house sustained water damage and smoke damage mainly, with the blaze being brought under control within an hour, with no injuries.

On Feb. 13 at 3:51 p.m., firefighters were called to a home at 456 Snake Den Road, but due to the single digit temperatures and the location of the fire within the house, the blaze took about two hours to extinguish, according to Moscatello. The chimney fire burned into the wall of the home, and was for the most part contained to one room, with no homeowner or firefighter injuries.

“We had to open up the wall and it was heavy stonewall around the fireplace, so it took some time to get it opened up,” Moscatello said. “We (also) had an issue with our hose lines. It kept freezing up because it was about 4 or 5 degrees at that time when we were on the scene.”

Prevent chimney fires
In order to prevent chimney fires, Moscatello recommends homeowners have their chimneys cleaned every season, if not twice a season depending on how much it is used, by a professional chimney cleaner. He also recommends having the chimney inspected regularly by a certified chimney company.

Without regular inspection, there may be cracks in the chimney that the homeowner is unaware of, which is what causes a fire to spread into a home more quickly.

“A lot of times they get cracks in them,” he said. “They don’t know it and then you get the fire in there and the heat gets through the cracks, and then you get a fire in the wall. So they need to get them inspected.”