Iowans who are stoking their fireplaces for cozy blazes might be wise to have a pro look over their chimney before lighting that first fire. Creosote buildup, faulty flues and other problems like nesting birds or squirrels can be found and fixed by a professional before you toss that first match in your fireplace. Des Moines Fire Department spokesman Brian O’Keefe says the capitol city’s seen three chimney fires in the past week. O’Keefe says one fire hit a home this morning and the family was fortunate as they’d had the fire in the fireplace last night and had already gone to work or school today when the flames rekindled in the chimney. He says the smoke that filled the house would’ve been fatal. O’Keefe says Iowans should call in a pro before using the fireplace as they can run a scope down your chimney to check it over thoroughly from top to bottom. A visit from a chimney expert may cost 40 or 50 dollars, but O’Keefe says that’s nothing compared to the cost of a major housefire or worse, the loss of a life.
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