Chimney fire started at a woodstove (C) D FriedmanChimney Fires & Fire Prevention
Metal & Masonry Chimney Safety Advice

  • CHIMNEY FIRE ACTION / PREVENTION - CONTENTS: What to do in the event of a chimney fire How to prevent chimney fires - US CPSC Safety Alert Document # 5047, supplemented & expanded. Metal chimney safety warning. Common causes of fires at woodstoves. Safety warnings about chimney fires & Metal Flues
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about chimney fires, chimney causes, what to do if you have a chimney fire, & how to prevent a chimney fire

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Chimney fires:

Here are photos and examples of the cause and effects of a chimney fire traced to an unattended woodstove.

Steps to prevent a chimney fire from a fireplace, woodstove, or woodstove or fireplace insert safety include making sure that your metal chimney or "flue" is safe.

"Safe" means clean, properly constructed and installed, using proper materials and proper fire clearances.

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Fireplace Safety Advice from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission - US CPSC Document 5047 - expanded

Fire damaged home (C) Daniel FriedmanIf You Have A Chimney Fire [or any other house fire] Here is What to Do

Know what to do in the event of a chimney fire:

  1. Get everyone out of the building.
  2. Call the fire department from a cellphone or neighbor's telephone.
  3. If you can safely re-enter the building and access the fireplace or wood or coal stove without becoming trapped in the building:
  4. Close down the combustion air supply to the woodstove or coal stove. If you have a fireplace that has glass firedoors, close them.
  5. If there is a manual flue damper in the wood stove or coal stove flue vent connector (the stackpipe between the stove and the chimney), close it.
  6. If you have a chimney fire extinguisher device put it into the woodstove or fireplace or coal stove. Chimflex™ sells a chimney fire extinguisher "stick" that can be ignited and placed "alongside the fire" in a fireplace or woodstove to attempt to suppress a chimney fire.[5] However keep in mind that the fire is in the chimney, not the woodstove or fireplace.

    Watch out: be sure to follow the chimney fire extinguisher device manufacturer's instructions or you may make matters worse.
  7. If you have a dry chemical fire extinguisher (recommended for anyone using a woodstove, coalstove or fireplace, use it to extinguish the fire in the fireplace or woodstove.
  8. While waiting for the fire department, if you have access to a garden hose, use it to wet down the roof surfaces to reduce fire spread.

The US CPSC offers some succinct advice to avoid having a costly and dangerous house fire or an unsafe gas leak hazard. Consumer Product Safety Commission Metal Chimneys: Safety Alert CPSC Document #5047 [7]. We have added to the original CPSC information. For a succinct pamphlet on chimney and woodstove safety see
this CHIMNEY & WOODSTOVE FIRE SAFETY CODE Information Sheet [PDF] from Vermont.

Before Using a Wood Stove, Coal Stove, or Fireplace Insert: Safety Checks

Photograph of a woodstove too close to paneling, a fire hazard at both the woodstove and its metal flue.

Details about wood stove choices, installation, inspection, repair and safety are now at WOOD STOVE OPERATION & SAFETY.

Excerpts are below.

[Before using your wood stove, coal stove in the coming or current heating season] the US Consumer Product Safety Commission [since 1983 has] strongly urged you, if you have a [wood stove or coal stove] or fireplace connected to a metal chimney, to check for any damage that may have occurred in the past heating season.

[Click to enlarge any image]

Even when the heating appliance is properly installed, people with both metal and masonry chimney systems should frequently check the chimney for creosote deposits, soot build-up or physical damage. Details are

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission advises owners of metal woodstove or fireplace insert chimneys to:

If you have had a fire or other safety problem with your chimney, please provide this information to the Commission by calling the Commission's toll-free Hotline 800-638-CPSC.


Continue reading at CREOSOTE FIRE HAZARDS or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.


Or see FIREPLACE DAMAGE & UNSAFE HEARTHS - fireplace and hearth hazards that can be found by visual inspection

Or see CHIMNEY FIRE REPORT & chimney fire safety advice: Vista Fire Department, [PDF]

Suggested citation for this web page

CHIMNEY FIRE ACTION / PREVENTION at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.


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