Chimney Fire Displaces Orem Family Indefinitely

News

OREM (ABC4 Utah News) – There’s no place like home for the holidays but the Error family won’t be home for Christmas their chimney ignited Sunday morning.

On Monday evening, the inside of their house near 1200 South, 1100 East looked like something out of a horror movie tonight, snow falling through a hole in the the roof onto the family’s scorched and melted belongings.

It was just before 8 on Sunday morning when Brett Error and his daughter Sarah smelled smoke, then noticed that their fireplace itself was on fire, flames crackling behind the stone facade.

“I could actually see some orange between like a hairline crack and then I got close and I listened and I could hear some noises inside,” Brett told ABC4 Utah News. “It just kind of burned all the way up through the chimney and got into the attic space and then spread from there.”

Brett and his two teenage children got out safely then stood shivering in the street as they watched flames tear through their roof.

“Honestly it was pretty terrifying,” 14 year old Sarah said. “I’m just really glad that everyone’s safe. I’m really happy that we’re all good.”

The cause of the fire has not been determined but in many other cases the culprit is a buildup of creosote in wood burning fireplaces.

“Over time the deposits that are in the smoke adhere to the walls of the chimney,” Orem Fire Department Battalion Chief Ryan Peterson said. “Over time that will build up and creosote that is flammable material, if the buildup gets heavy enough it can ignite. We do see a few a year and one or two that will extend into the structure.”

Battalion Chief Peterson suggests a preventative measure.

“We would recommend that people get their chimney inspected regularly,” Peterson said. “It doesn’t necessarily need to be cleaned each year, it’s going to be based on the use but at a minimum have a professional come and inspect the chimney.”

Battalion Chief Peterson also emphasizes the need for working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your house.

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