Home repairs after Memorial Day tornadoes could pose fire hazards, firefighters warn

BEAVERCREEK — Home repairs made after the Memorial Day tornado outbreak could pose a risk for fire if the repairs were not up to code, according to a new warning by Beavercreek firefighters.

On Sunday, a duplex on North Knoll Drive caught fire and investigators said a contractor hired to make repairs after tornado damage might have cut corners.

“The cause of the fire was the fireplace that was vented into the attic, but the chimney did not go all the way through,” Beavercreek Fire Division Chief Scott Dorsten told News Center 7′s Gabrielle Enright.

The renters escaped from the duplex safely and told firefighters this was the first time they had used the fireplace since repairs were completed.

Firefighters checked the other side of the duplex and found it had the same design after the repairs.

The fire prompted the Beavercreek Fire Department to issue a message on social media for anyone who had a roof installed recently, especially after the tornado outbreak, to have a certified contractor do a safety inspection on all exhaust ducts associated with fuel fired appliances in their homes.

BTFD highly recommends that if you have had a roof installed, especially after the Memorial Day Tornado of 2019 (on May...

Posted by Beavercreek Township Fire Department on Tuesday, February 2, 2021

“With the amount of repairs that were made, and how quickly they were done, we want to make sure that people were aware of potential hazards they could be facing,” Dorsten said.

How to avoid potential fire hazards:

If your home is damaged and in need of repairs, Dorsten said to choose a contractor that is licensed and bonded and make sure correct permits are requested for any repairs. This helps inspectors follow-up especially during disasters where out-of-town contractors come to help.

For renters, knowing your rights and what questions to ask is important before moving in.

“Was all the work done up to code? May I see inspection reports? (Renters) have the right to ask for that so they know they’re moving into a place that’s safe,” Dorsten said.

Additionally, if you have a wood burning fireplace or stove, Dorsten recommends getting it inspected annually by a certified chimney sweep.

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