The winter heating season is upon us, and the Waldoboro Fire Department in conjunction with the Waldoboro Office of Planning & Development, would like to remind you of the dangers of wood or pellet-burning appliances. Two Waldoboro residences have been destroyed by fire in recent months. Both fires are believed to have begun in the area of the home’s woodstove. Additionally, the number of fire deaths in Maine more than doubled last year from the state’s record low set in 2010. The Maine Public Safety Department says the state

recorded nine fire deaths in 2010. In 2011, the number grew to 23.

In our area, many homes use fireplaces, wood or pellet stoves, and other fuel-fired appliances as the primary heat source. Wood-burning stoves can provide efficient, lower-cost heat, but must be carefully monitored to prevent unwanted building fires. Unfortunately, many residents are unaware of the fire risks when heating with wood and solid fuels.

Heating fires account for 36 percent of residential fires in rural areas every year. Often, these fires are due to creosote buildup in chimneys and stovepipes. All home heating systems require regular maintenance to function safely and efficiently. In addition follow the manufacturer’s recommended use and maintenance.

Remember these simple safety tips:

  • Have your chimney or wood stove inspected and cleaned annually by a competent and qualified chimney specialist.
  • Clear the area around the hearth of debris, decorations, and flammable materials.
  • Always use a metal mesh screen with fireplaces that do not have a fireplace door.
  • Install stovepipe thermometers to help monitor flue temperatures.
  • Use fire-resistant materials on walls around wood stoves.

“We encourage you to go to (CLICK HERE) and read Recommended Standards for the Installation of Wood Burning Stoves,” says Waldoboro Fire Chief Paul Smeltzer, “this information was prepared by the Office of State fire Marshal and the Maine Office of Energy Resources. This is helpful, easy to read information necessary for anyone utilizing a wood burning stove or fireplace.” Planning & Development Director Bill Najpauer has made copies available at the town office as well for residents to pick up.

Finally, the Waldoboro Fire Department wants make sure you have installed smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your home and check them monthly. If you have questions or need further assistance, please do not hesitate to call The Fire Department or the Office of Planning & Development at 832-5369.