Area fire departments brace for weather-related calls

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LEMAY, Mo. – The Lemay Fire Protection District has responded to so many chimney fires over the years that the department’s firefighters have created their own bucket of tools designed specifically for chimney-related fires.

The bucket is made of metal, which gives firefighters a safe place to deposit hot embers. Firefighters can wet towels stored inside the bucket to create steam. The steam can help extinguish a chimney fire while minimizing water damage to a home.

Bags filled with fire-extinguishing materials are also stored inside the bucket. Firefighters can drop them down a chimney.

“It’s an extinguishing agent that’s exactly like your fire extinguisher that you would have in your kitchen,” Lt. Jason Brice, Lemay Fire Protection District, said.

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Brice advises anyone using their fireplace this season to make sure it’s inspected annually.

“Anything greater than an eighth of an inch of soot buildup needs to be cleaned out,” he said.

He said calls related to carbon monoxide are also expected to increase during colder weather. In some cases, a bird’s nest can prevent a heating system from functioning safely.

Brice has also seen the improper use of a generator lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. He reminds generator operators that the devices need to be outside so exhaust is not directed inside a home.

“We’ve had people put them in their garages and basements,” he said.

Brice encourages everyone to have a working carbon monoxide detector on every floor of their home.


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