Tips before you light your fireplace

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - On nights like tonight, nothing sounds better than a late cup of hot chocolate and sitting by the fire.

But before you do, the Knoxville Fire Department has some advice so you don't start a blaze.

KFD says most of the house fires they work start in the kitchen. But blazes that start in the fireplace cause the second most.

"They don't think, they don't plan ahead sometimes. That's probably the last thing on their minds. The first thing is survival, to keep them warm," said Capt. D.J. Corcoran.

There are ways to make sure your fireplace is in working order. For instance, buying wood that isn't damp.

"What that does if you're burning green or damp wood, it creates a lot of build-up in the fire place," said Corcoran.

Before you even light a fire, Capt. Corcoran says be sure to get your chimney swept and inspected.

"I still want to get a chimney sweeper out here before I do something foolish," said Tommy Greene.

Pam and Tommy Greene haven't lit their Buckstove in years, they once relied on it to heat their entire house.

Once, as the weather started to get cold, their chimney caught fire.

"We hadn't had it checked in awhile, and it had a lot of build-up in it, and it caught on fire and it looked like a torch coming out of my chimney," said Greene.

No serious damage, but definitely a tale of caution that supports the recommendation to inspect your chimney before you light a fire.

Firefighters warn you to not throw your wrapping paper into the flames because it burns hotter.

They also suggest if you use Christmas lights that burn hot, turn them off before you go to sleep.

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