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Jackson Fire Hosts Woodstove And Fireplace Safety Class Tuesday Night

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Jackson Fire Hosts Woodstove And Fireplace Safety Class Tuesday Night

Jackson County Central Fire Department will host a Woodstove And Fireplace Class Tuesday night to raise awareness of the potential dangers of improper use.

The fire department’s Rick Vlahos will be teaching the class. He brings not just his firefighter training but 40 years of experience instructing retailers on woodstove and fireplace installation. He said a lot of people do not think about woodstove and fireplace safety before use, but they should.

“Well, we’re talking about building a fire in you living room,” Vlahos said. “I would just as soon know that it is done right. You know, one of the things I’ve noticed since we’ve lived down here is there is a lot of really bad installations.”

In addition to bad installations, Vlahos said the biggest variable in safety is the type of wood used. He said if you burn wet wood that isn’t seasoned you can build up creosote in your chimney.

“If that ever catches on fire, it can be a very tough fire to put out, and it can cause a lot of damage,” Vlahos said. So the idea is, operate them right so you’re not creating creosote and if you do create it, how to take care of it.”

Vlahos said the biggest issue in installation is wall clearance.

“We want to keep it away from the wall,” Vlahos said. “Each appliance will tell you how far back the appliance needs to be away from something combustible.”

The class is being held in recognition of National Fireplace Month and Fire Safety Week. The free 90-minute class will be at Timeless Events On Main at 7:00pm Tuesday night. Vlahos said it was the perfect time for the class as weather is also changing and people will be firing up woodburning stoves and fireplaces.

“One of the jobs I’ve had over the years is doing the safety testing for one of our manufactures, so I got to do everything we tell people not to do their stoves just to see what happens,” Vlahos said. “It can get pretty scary, pretty quick.”


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