Recent fire in Ajax prompts warning about wood burning appliances

After a recent fire, due to a faulty wood burning appliance, Ajax Fire and Emergency Services reminds homeowners to properly install and maintain these devices.

Any new installation of a wood stove or wood burning appliance requires a building permit. The installation must be installed as per the manufacturers' instructions and, ideally, this installation should be done by a technician certified under the Wood Energy Technical Training (WETT) program. A D.I.Y. installation should be inspected by a WETT technician prior to using the appliance.

Prior to installation, homeowners should also notify their home insurance provider to determine any necessary insurance requirements.


"Proper installation of wood burning appliances is the first step to heating with wood and solid fuels. However, lack of on-going maintenance is the number one contributor to chimney fires, due to the build-up of creosote – a highly flammable waste product of combustion. To avoid build-up, chimneys should be inspected and cleaned at least once a year."
Kyle Chamberlain, Fire Prevention Inspector

The following list outlines proper maintenance procedures:

  • Ensure that wood burning appliances are installed and maintained as per manufacturers’ instructions.
  • Chimneys or wood burning appliances should be inspected and cleaned annually by a certified chimney specialist (WETT Certified).
  • Clear the area around the hearth of debris, decorations and combustible materials.
  • Always use a metal mesh screen with fireplaces.
  • Install stovepipe thermometers on wood stoves to help monitor flue temperatures.
  • Keep air inlets on wood stoves open and never restrict air supply to fireplaces to prevent creosote build-up, which could lead to a chimney fire.
  • Never use flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Burn only seasoned, dry hardwood. Soft, moist “green” wood accelerates creosote build-up.
  • Never burn cardboard boxes, trash or debris in your fireplace or wood stove.
  • Place hot ashes in a metal container, soak in water and place outside your home.
  • Remove branches hanging above the chimney, flues or vents.
  • Cover the chimney with a mesh screen spark arrester.

For more information, visit



Media Contact:
Kyle Chamberlain, Fire Prevention Inspector, 905-686-6052