Chimney flue crack causes fire

PERRY TWP. – A crack in a chimney flue caused a fire at a home at 1205 E. 12th St. at 12:52 a.m. Friday, catching the wood studding between the two brick walls ablaze and causing smoke damage.

Perry Township Fire Chief Bruce Whitcher said the Zink family was alerted by smoke alarms and waited for firefighters outside in their vehicle, with no injuries reported. Fire escaped through the crack in the flue between the basement and first floor and caught the wood on fire.

Damage was kept to a minimum, according to Whitcher, but he had no dollar amount for the damage. The home was insured. He said there was smoke damage in the living room on the first floor and in the family room in the basement where the fireplaces were located, along with some soot on the walls.

Cold temperatures didn’t cause a problem for firefighters, but Green Township firefighters were requested to respond with their tanker in case there were any problems with fire hydrants. No electrical wiring was affected. Whitcher believed the family stayed elsewhere for the night, but said they would be able to remain in the home.

Walls were checked to see if the fire extended, but nothing further was found.

Whitcher asked that residents have fireplaces and chimneys inspected at least once a year to look for any defects or problems that could evolve into something much worse. He also noted how the smoke alarms did their job in this case and urged residents to install smoke alarms and make sure the smoke alarms they have are functioning properly and the batteries are checked.

The Perry Township fire department has a smoke alarm program and will install smoke alarms for residents.

Perry Township and Salem police assisted with traffic control.

Mary Ann Greier can be reached at