Creosote Buildup Caused North Highlands Fire

Fire chief urges annual maintenance

By Michael Turton

A fire in North Highlands emphasized the need for regular maintenance of chimneys that vent wood-burning fireplaces and stoves.

Just after 11 p.m. on Saturday, April 21, the North Highlands Fire Department responded to a call from the residence of Timothy Hall at 95 Esselborne Road. The fire was under control within about an hour and there were no injuries.

The fire was caused by excessive creosote in the chimney, according to NHFD Chief Pat Scherer.

Fire personnel at the scene (NHFD photo)

“Buildup of creosote can also lead to a complete blockage of the chimney causing carbon monoxide to backup into the home,” which can be deadly, he wrote in an email.

“Our recommendation is to have a licensed and insured chimney sweep clean and inspect wood-fired chimneys annually,” he said. Sherer added that only seasoned firewood should be used in indoor fireplaces or wood stoves, while fresh-cut or green firewood should be used only outdoors.

In addition to North Highlands, the Rombout, Cold Spring, Garrison, East Fishkill and Hughsonville fire departments assisted along New York State Police and Philipstown Ambulance Corps. The Dutchess County Fire Investigation Division determined the cause.


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