By Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

HUDSON, Wis. (WCCO) — It’s a winter household hazard that can be tough for the eye to see, and if you miss it, it can be costly or even deadly.

Now’s the time to prevent it.

Clogged chimneys can cause fires this time of year. A family in Hudson, Wis., had one just last night, as build-up in the chimney was the impetus. Luckily, as smoke poured into the room, they got out.

St. Paul Police Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard said chimney fires can be especially difficult to fight.

Kerry Langer said her daughter were finishing Halloween preps and that she and her fiancé Richard Slater were close by when a fire erupted in their chimney.

“We heard a loud bang, and all the sudden smoke started filling up the room,” Slater said. “If the fire department didn’t get there in the time they did, it could have spread into the attic and burned the whole house down.”

Eventually, the family got out, cat included.

Chimney clean outs are recommended each year and now is prime time to do so seeing fireplaces will be lighting up as temps go down.

“Definitely — every year get your chimney inspected and cleaned,” Langer said.

Firefighters said these are dangerous fires to fight because the fire travels up then leaks into the attic, and they have to cut a hole in the roof to fight it.

What you can do: Shine a flashlight up your chimney, if you see black gooey substance, that could be a hazard and you should get a professional cleaner out.


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