Soot-filled chimneys can lead to devastating fires

Chimney expert says clean chimney after 10 uses

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Temperatures in the 40s throughout South Florida have many people putting their fireplace to use, but it may also spark danger. 

Longtime chimney cleaner John McDermott says people need to make sure their chimney is free of soot before lighting up. 

"What happens is soot gets in there and clogs, gets on the insert going up and shortens the draft," said McDermott.

Firefighters say that may have been the case Wednesday night when a chimney fire forced a Boca Raton family out of their home. No one was injured, but the fire spread to the attic, leaving an estimated $150,000 in damages. 

McDermott says that's unfortunate when there's an easy fix. 

"We go on the roof, take a chimney cap off and we run a brush down," said McDermott.
 
McDermott says you should have your chimney cleaned after every 10 uses. He's surprised how often people don't know it's necessary.  
 
No word on how soon the Boca Raton family could return to their home. 

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