A Chimney Sweep Can Reduce Fire Danger

- Fireplaces may not be the most efficient way to heat a home but for many, there is nothing like a crackling blaze inside when its frigid outside.

And as the mercury falls, many people will be opening their flues and starting the first fires of the season. That means there is the potential for fires to spread outside of a fireplace.

Chimney experts say something that remains out of use many months of the year also remains out of mind and people don't think of taking precautions and making checks until they want to use it.

Unfortunately, now that cold weather is here, getting that done quickly can be difficult.

Kevin Connors is hard at work cleaning this chimney in a home off Southwest Parkway.

He says when temperatures started getting cooler a few weeks ago demand for his work started getting hotter.

"During the off season, which is say March to August, we have maybe 5 jobs a week.  Now we've got 5 or 6 or 7 jobs a day," says Kevin Connors, owner of Archangel's Chimney Sweeps.

And his expertise can help prevent this.

Earlier this year Wichita Falls fire crews battled a three alarm fire on Hamilton Avenue.

Officials say it was started by a fire in the fireplace.

Last week fire officials believe a chimney fire might have been the cause of this house fire on Barker Drive.

So, to prevent that from happening Dianne Whaley called in a professional.

"At the end of last season, every fire that we built was filling the house with smoke so I told my husband I think we need a cleaning," says homeowner, Dianne Whaley..

Connors says the Wayley's chimney needed just that because quickly noticed a potential problem.

"If you can move the damper and you get soot falling down then you've probably got a soot buildup all the way through," Connors explains.

But a soot buildup wasn't the only problem.

Connors also found a dead bird inside the flue and noticed cracks in the chimney that could allow a fire to start in the attic, a problem he says he finds often when cleaning chimneys.

Getting a chimney cleaned can cost around $150 but officials say it's a cost that can help prevent homeowners and even renters from losing their homes.

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