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Madison Fire Department
Committed to recruiting and retaining a qualified, diverse, inclusive and safe fire workforce.

Safety & Prevention

Image: Wood Burning Stove

Fireplace & Wood Burning Stove Fire Safety

Fireplaces and wood burning stoves are auxiliary home heating devices that demand care and attention in their purchase, installation, and maintenance. Following these precautions can reduce the possibility of a fire or injury related to their use.

All wood burning stoves and fireplaces should be cleaned and inspected before the heating season begins. Make sure that the door latch closes properly. Furnaces and water heaters which have flue pipes attached to the chimney of a fireplace or wood burning stove should have tight fitting joints and seams.

Fireplaces should be equipped with a tight fitting spark screen or enclosed with glass doors to stop sparks from landing on carpet or other nearby combustibles. Special retaining screens can also keep children and pets at a safe distance from the fire and so reduce the possibility of accidental burns.

Never use liquid fuel to start the fire in a fireplace or wood burning stove. Ashes need to be thoroughly dampened, cooled, and stored in metal cans that are used solely for ash storage, not in compost piles, cartons, boxes or anything else that is combustible.

It is important to use only thoroughly dried hardwood. This will prevent or slow the buildup of creosote which is the cause of many chimney fires.

Although following these precautions should reduce your risk of a chimney fire, be aware of the signs of one and know what to do if you encounter them -- a loud roar, sucking sounds, shaking pipes, hot spots on wall or chimney, or smoke in the house or apartment.

If you hear or see any of these sounds shut off the fire's air supply, get everyone out of the house quickly, and call 911 from a neighbor's phone.

There is something special about the feeling of warmth and cheer that surrounds gathering around the hearth on a cold winter night; take the time to make it a safe experience for you and your family.