That is, if you're planning to use it this winter. We had a half-cord of firewood delivered yesterday and with the first cold threads of winter drifting over Austin we decided to celebrate with a nice fire.
Ten minutes later, a stranger knocked on the door. "Your chimney is on fire." Flames were coming out the top, he said, and it looked like a jet engine up there.
"We'll take the fire option, please."
Can't have been five minutes and three engines arrived in the cul-de-sac, lights and sirens, men in masks and heavy-duty gear.
"You ordered strippers?" I asked my wife. "They're here."
They were calm, these boys, checked the house inside and out, got on the roof and took the top off the chimney to make sure it wasn't a bird's nest on fire. It wasn't, just a build up of creosote because my wife had been too lazy to order in a chimney sweep. Shocking, I know.
On the plus side, the firemen found Santa's left boot. He'll be glad to get that back.
But seriously, thanks to those guys for being so fast, so thorough, and so friendly. Also for the reminder to check our smoke alarms (which I did. They all worked.).
And the kids, as you can imagine, loved all the action.
So, if you have a chimney, and plan to use it, I strongly suggest you avoid the jet-engine effect by calling your local chimney sweep. It'll help the economy and Santa will thank you.