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MOORPARK : Warning Issued on Chimney Covers

Moorpark officials plan to send notices to homeowners warning them that their fireplaces might be unsafe to use.

Diane Leigh, a building and safety official, said Friday the city will send flyers to homeowners in the coming weeks warning them not to use their fireplaces this winter if their chimney covers have not been checked or replaced.

Ventura County fire officials said the covers or “shrouds” can force heat and soot back into the chimneys, drying their outer wood frames and making them flammable over time.

Four house fires in Moorpark last winter were blamed on the decorative chimney covers that were installed by some developers of tract houses without the approval of chimney manufacturers.

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No one was injured in the fires in December and January in the Glenhaven, Marlborough and Pacifica tracts and the Peach Hill area. One fire caused $10,000 in damage, but the others were minor.

Leigh said many of the houses in these four subdivisions have since had chimney covers inspected or replaced.

Three house fires similar to the ones in Moorpark occurred in Camarillo in 1988 and led to the replacement of chimney covers on about 300 houses there.


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