Reporter: Mark Kelly l Photojournalist: Sally Delta Goin
Lynchburg, VA - For the second time in two weeks, a wood stove is to blame for a family being forced out of their home by fire.
It happened Tuesday morning in Lynchburg. The stove was bought just last month. Last week, another fire but same story - a family of four bought their wood stove just days earlier.
The man who lost his home Tuesday says he knew there was a crack in his stove. He'd usually keep on eye on it. Tuesday morning, he left his house for a minute and came back to see it burning.
Crews board up Leon Rose's home hours after the wood stove he loved so much turned on him.
"It put out good heat; it warms the whole house. Don't have to worry about it cutting off and cutting back on. Once you put that wood in there it's going to keep the house warm," said Rose.
Warm to the touch and light on the pocketbook. Wood Stove sellers say on average, four cords of wood at $150 can heat a home for a whole year. An electric bill can be several hundred dollars a month.
"Anytime you see an increase heating oil, propane start to go up, you see an increase in wood stoves, kerosene heaters and that's when our problems come," said Walter Bailey, Lynchburg Fire Department deputy chief.
Fire officials and Wood Stove sellers say it's not the stoves; it's how they're used and maintained. They say you need to have yours cleaned regularly.
"Once a year. Pretty easy," said John Heller, manager at the Hearth Pros and Aqua Pros store in Madison Heights.
Heller says it's important to keep the flu pipe clean, but what you put inside the wood stove matters too.
"It's really, really important to use a seasoned hardwood," said Heller.
Hearth Pros manager John Heller says the wrong wood could lead to a Creosote buildup. And there lies the danger.
"On the warm days when they turn the heating device down, creosote tends to build up in the chimney," said Bailey.
Something many don't think of - even clothes building up around the wood stove is a no-no.
"A lot of times we see clothes. People trying to dry clothes instead of outside on the clothesline," said Bailey.
Fire officials say it's not worth saving a buck drying your clothes near a wood stove.
As for Leon Rose, he was the only one living in the home. He'll be in a hotel for the next couple nights until he can figure out his next move.