Firefighters warn to check chimneys after fire destroys home

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Reported by: Sara Whaley
Updated: 11/09/2013 11:13 pm Published: 11/09/2013 9:04 pm

Fire destroyed a south Tulsa family's home Friday night. It happened near 75th Street and Yale Avenue and firefighters tell FOX23 cold weather may be to blame.

Tom Gibbons and his wife work hard to make their house beautiful for the holidays. In fact, it's not their house but their home.

That's why it was hard for them to see their neighbor's home go up in flames.

"They were probably 8 to 10 foot," Gibbons said. "It was horrifying."

Even though the family was home, everyone made it out safely.

"They were outside without shoes on or anything. They got out of the house as quickly as they could, so we got them some coats and some shoes for their feet," Gibbons said.

TFD tells FOX23 that a buildup of byproducts from the fireplace flame could have caused the problem.

"It started in the chimney. It's the first time the homeowners used their fireplace this year, and there was something in the chimney that caught on fire and it spread up into the attic," Capt. Gillespie with Tulsa Fire Department told FOX23.

The byproducts of the flames are also flammable, so the department is begging people to think ahead.

"Make sure before you start them up you get them cleaned and checked out so this doesn't happen," Gillespie said.
Gibbons hasn't had his chimney cleaned yet, but he said that will change.

"We'll probably at least have it checked before we light it off again."

FOX23 talked with the family. They are still in shock and didn't want to go on camera, but they did tell us despite the damage to their home they are thankful. That's because they are alive.

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