Firefighter shares fireplace, chimney safety advice amid Arctic blast

A firefighter is sharing some fireplace and chimney safety advice as people try to stay warm during the bitter cold this weekend.
"Very important that you have your chimney inspected by a licensed, insured chimney sweep," says Round Hill Volunteer Fire Company Chief Rick Strain.
The fire company in Greenwich has dealt with many fires. Strain says poor chimney maintenance has caused about six fires this winter season alone, including at a house on Riversville Road that caught fire a day before Thanksgiving.
"We don't like seeing people suffer losses like that," Strain says.
To avoid a visit from the fire department, Strain says use a mask, gloves and a tin bucket and dispose of the ashes properly.
"It's not important that you immediately remove the ashes from the fireplace the very next morning," Strain says.
He says the embers can stay warm enough to reignite for a couple of days, so let them sit.
"Tip your tin bucket on its side, use your metal scoop, put the lid on tightly, and carry it outside away from the house," Strain instructs.
Strain wants to ensure homeowners focus on two priorities.
"To have your chimney cleaned at the beginning of the season and make sure you're using a metal container to remove your ashes to a safe place," he says.
All materials used should be made out of metal when cleaning out a fireplace. Also, Strain reminds homeowners that a fireplace should never be left unattended and if they must, to make sure they use a screen to ensure no firewood can escape.