It’s never a problem until it’s a problem. The worst thing is this was preventable.

Noble said it’s important to have wood-burning fireplaces and chimneys regularly inspected and cleaned once a year. “They said they had a fire in the fireplace last week and there was no indication of a problem,” Noble said.

“If a wood-burning fireplace isn’t maintained properly, this can happen … The creosote can build up in the chimney if you don’t burn the fire hot enough.”