A fireplace is believed to be the cause of a Monday night fire on the North Side.

Firefighters rushed to the home in the 4100-block of Evergreen Road in Summer Hill around 8:10 p.m.

When they arrived, smoke was billowing out of the two-story house.

Firefighters found the man who lived in the house standing in the front yard covered in soot.

Before he was taken by ambulance to Allegheny General Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, he told firefighters that he had been burning some wood in his fireplace when it got out of control.

The flames gutted his home in less than 30 minutes.

Experts say in many cases, fireplace and chimney fires can be avoided.

Steve Mader, owner of Aero-Dyna-Kleen Chimney Builders, knows these tips well.

First, he says you should have your fireplace and chimney professionally cleaned at least once every two years. A simple service that will cost around $200.

Next, you must always remember to open the damper door before starting your fire.

Third, be sure to pre-heat your chimney with kindling to help establish the proper airflow before you throw on the logs.

Finally, don’t overstock the firebox.

If you do, Mader suggests removing some wood if you can do so safely. If not, close the glass doors on your fireplace to keep the fire contained.

You should also have your fireplace and chimney inspected for structural integrity, a service that is usually included along with a cleaning.

Stay with KDKA for more information.

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