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Fireplace, chimney problems cause house fires

January 04, 2011

After a string of four fires in two days in the city, Newport Beach firefighters are reminding the public to check and maintain fireplace equipment and chimneys.

In a span of 48 hours on the New Year's Day weekend, Newport Beach firefighters extinguished four house fires. All were apparently caused by residents misusing their fireplaces and chimneys, or because of faulty equipment.

Officials received two fire calls at 10:09 a.m. Saturday. One on King's Road started in several parts of the home's walls after a resident started a fire in the fireplace. The blaze caused $300,000 in damage.

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Meanwhile, on Balboa Island, a fire that started in the fireplace was also burning out of control. That one was extinguished by 20 firefighters and caused $10,000 in damage.

Electrical problems sparked a blaze in a house attic Sunday, causing $60,000 in damage to the $3-million home. Two hours later, a fire inside another home's fireplace ignited other parts of that house, ultimately causing $70,000 in damage.

Firefighters recommend having an expert check the fireplace every year and never leaving a fire unattended. It's also recommended replacing smoke alarm batteries annually and having working fire extinguishers in the house.

Joseph Serna

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