California official to earthquake victims: Get your chimney inspected by a CSIA certified sweep

It has been nearly three months since a 6.0 earthquake rocked residents of Napa, California.

Chimney Safety Institute of America responded that day, documenting the chimneys that failed as a result of the temblor (and there were many) that were shared on social media sites such as Twitter and Instagram. Chimneys are powerful symbols. CSIA showcased the damage with  a special “images of fallen chimneys” log on our public Storify social media page. We warned residents that there was likely unseen damage that may result from the shift ground.

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We also published a blog post on our Wisdom From the Hearth blog site: “Add chimneys to your post-Napa Earthquake assessment checklist.”

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In our blog post, we reminded homeowners on the West Coast that the integrity of their chimney may have been affected and that prior to using your fireplace, woodstove or furnace for the first time, a Level II chimney inspection was in order to ensure that the chimney’s interior had not suffered damage from the earthquake which would allow the escape of heat, products of combustion, or hazardous gas, into their living space.

In a follow-up story, the Napa Valley Register reported in its Nov. 14 edition the great advice from David Giudice, code enforcement supervisor for the Napa County Department of Planning, Building and Environmental Services. Giudice, the Register reported, has been part of a team going through the California community to inspect chimneys and talk to homeowners. One chimney after another was in pieces.

We highlight a section of the story where he refers to CSIA.

“Inspect the chimney from different angles to see if the top of your chimney is leaning or has fallen on the roof. Look for cracks, gaps or separations that would indicate the chimney may be pulling away from the dwelling,” Giudice said. “Look for falling, loose and/or missing bricks along the full length of the chimney.”

“Even if you see no visible damage, he recommends that everyone living in Napa have their chimneys inspected by a qualified chimney contractor or chimney sweep such as an inspector certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America before attempting to light a fire in the fireplace this winter,” the newspaper reports.

We wish all victims of the August 2014 earthquake a speedy and safe recovery, and hope those that wanted to build a fire in their home have been able to do so safely.

You can find a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep near you by using our free zip-code locator, at csia.org/search.


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