Briefly seeing flames emit from a chimney led to a quick response in the 400 block of Toluca Avenue Thursday afternoon by members of the Alliance Volunteer Fire Department. 

Chief Troy Shoemaker said the department responded with 10 firefighters, working to assess the scene and prevent damage to the home. 

“We got dispatched at 4:04 p.m. and we arrived at 4:09,” said Shoemaker. “We deemed what we were doing under control at 4:49 and left and terminated command at 5:02. We had two fire trucks there and a command unit.” 

Shoemaker said the fire was contained in the chimney. The firefighters were able to prevent the fire from spreading. 

“We had no extension of fire into the home’s attic or walls; it was all contained within the chimney structure itself,” Shoemaker said. “What we believe happened was there was some buildup of creosote, and that’s what the actual issue was.” 

The occupants of the home, Shoemaker explained, were notified by a passerby that their chimney was on fire. Shoemaker said the occupants of the home used the fireplace for aesthetic purposes only.  

“The occupant walked outside, looked up, and he saw flames shoot out of the top of the chimney anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute, and that was all the flame that he had seen,” said Shoemaker. 

The chief explained that upon arriving at the scene, they made contact with the occupants of the home to attain information. A crew went inside the house to clear the firebox of the fireplace of the logs. 

“We used what we call a water can, which is basically a water fire extinguisher, and shot up into the chimney a couple of times while we were deploying the ladder so we could actually deploy water down from the top. We just addressed the chimney itself with water fire extinguishers,” Shoemaker said. 

The firefighters were able to prevent any damage to the residence, noting that they used a salvage-cover tarp in the living room as they worked to control the fire. Shoemaker noted that the smoke that made it into the house was limited and did not cause any damage. 

“All in all, it was a pretty minor issue that could have been a major issue,” said Shoemaker. 

Advising safety, Shoemaker encourages people to have their chimney’s inspected every year. 

“What we recommend is that folks that have fireplaces and wood-burning stoves, and those types of heating appliances, have their flue and chimneys looked at once a year by a licensed chimney sweep. If you have a chimney sweep come up, and they look at it, and they don’t put a brush into your chimney or flue, they’re probably not doing you justice,” said Shoemaker. 

The occupants of the home, Shoemaker noted, had their chimney inspected in July. Shoemaker advised the occupants not to use the fireplace until they can have an inspection take place in order to prevent a larger issue from arising.

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