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Shannon Weidemann
Shannon Weidemann
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Defect in Chimney Caused Fire

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A townhome community in Bedford County in Virginia may have a construction defect in all of the chimneys that is a potential fire hazard. A fire in January destroyed six units of the Waterways community. The fire started in one unit and spread to five others. The fire started due to rust holes in the chimney that allowed sparks to exit the chimney.

The rust holes allowed sparks from the fireplace to get into the wooden frame, where the sparks smoldered for some time, Jennings said. Eventually, it burned through the frame to the outside of the house and to the deck area. Once it hit the air, the fire took off and spread to other decks, Jennings said.

The Renner’s insurance company, National Grange, hired inspectors to examine the chimney, Jennings said. The inspectors also looked at other chimneys in the town home complex and found the defect in every chimney they inspected, he said.

The townhomes in the complex were all built in the 1980s and 1990s. County officials are asking all of the residents to have their chimneys inspected by a licensed professional before using them. The construction defect may be found in all of the units in the complex.