Chimney fire burned Rachael Ray’s home

A home belonging to celebrity cook Rachael Ray was reportedly on fire in upstate New York. Images showed the flames shooting through the roof of the home.

Fire crews were battling flames at the home in Lake Luzerne, N.Y., as the Warren County Sheriff’s Office told ABC10 the residence belonged to the television personality.

Two weeks after a devastating fire nearly gutted Rachael Ray’s home, officials finally have released a cause. The Aug. 9 blaze at her manse began inside a fireplace chimney, state officials revealed on Friday.

Rachel Ray Home Chimney Fire

40 Year old home with 3 cracked chimney flues

This is a video of a home in San Juan Capistrano that is approximately 40 years old.  All 3 chimneys had severe cracks and gaps in the chimney flue.  This is a severe fire hazard if the fireplaces are used to burn wood or gas fires.  If you are purchasing a home that was built over 20 years ago, don’t take a chance that the chimney will not have gaps.

Approximately 40% of the homes that were built in the 1980s and earlier have cracks and gaps within the chimney flues.  Regular home inspectors do not inspect the chimneys with a video camera and as a result most of the cracks are not detected.  Approximately 15,000 homes per year in the U.S. have home fires which start in the fireplace/chimney.

Gas log fireplace

Here is a Gas log set we recently installed in a fireplace.

Gas logs fireplace

Chimney repair

Here is a recent chimney repair we did.

Chimney repair before & after

Home inspectors do not usually inspect chimneys

Chimney cracked crown on inspectionWould you want to buy a home with a fireplace and then burn down your home the first time you burned a fire because you had never gotten the chimney inspected?

There are approximately 15,000 house fires a year caused by fires that start in the chimney.

Most home buyers do not want to spend to have fireplaces and chimneys inspected, but home inspectors do not usually inspect chimneys.  If there are obvious cracks on the outside or in the fireplace, they will note those, but they will not usually get on the roof and look down the chimney, much less put a video camera down it.  Most good inspectors will suggest you have a chimney professional examine the chimney, especially if the home is older or it is a pre-cast Rampart General fireplace which are known to have structural issues. Read more