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Flames Shoot from Home's Chimney, Prompting Scare

Creosote buildup blamed for incident on Cambridge Heights.

In an incident that will sound like a free advertisement for chimney sweeps, Novato firefighters doused flames seen shooting from the chimney of a single-family home Tuesday night, a fire district source said.

There were no injuries in the incident on Cambridge Heights, a cul-de-sac in the Sunset area just off South Novato Boulevard.

At 8:23 p.m., the Novato Fire District answered an emergency call for a chimney fire and contacted the homeowner, who said all residents were safely outside the house, Captain Erich Mesenburg said. The family had a wood-burning fire in the fireplace,  but flames were showing from the top of the chimney, he said.

Firefighters put out the fire and found no extensions into the attic or roof. Investigators said there was no damage to the home but found significant buildup of creosote within the chimney walls. The homeowner was advised not to use the chimney until it was professionally cleaned, Mesenburg said.

Three fire engines, a truck, a medical crew and a battalion chief responded to the call.

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