Dancing chimney sweeps are the musings of Hollywood minds but the reality is a clean chimney and appropriate precautions when using your fireplace could save your life.
"We’ve had three fires like that this year, this fall so far," said Lexington Fire Battalion Chief Joe Best.
Your fireplace is a nice alternative to your thermostat in the early months of winter. But those options can be dangerous if not properly handled.
"I would imagine that we probably average around 20 runs like that a year," said Battalion Chief Joe Best.
Lexington firefighters would be stoked if you didn’t become a part of that statistic.
"You always want to make sure that your chimney’s been inspected; your fireplace, your stove by a certified technician, make sure that’s professionally done and cleaned if necessary so that you can minimize the chance of a fire in the chimney," said Best.
The chimney isn’t the only hazard.
Firefighters and fireplace professionals alike agreed there’s a safe and effective way of getting rid of your embers once you’re through with your fire. They said you should carefully remove them from your fireplace, then put them for the time being in a metal bucket. Then at that point they said you should remove them from your house altogether, storing them outside at a safe distance from the building.
"Whenever you’re disposing of your fireplace ashes, you never want to assume that they’re still cold, you always want to assume that they’re hot," said Brion Barnhill, owner of Barnhill’s Chimney Company.
Brion Barnhill’s business is fire. His company not only cleans fireplaces and chimneys; it sells them, making sure customers know what their responsibilities are.
"Folks have the sense that because we’re human, we naturally know about fire and fire is easy to start but sometimes it’s a lot harder to put out so just educating yourself a little bit about what appliance you have and how to use it can go a long way," said Barnhill.
Barnhill knows because he’s seen what can happen.
"If that fire gets away from you, then you’re on the news the next day," said Barnhill.