On Tuesday night, January 3, just as we were putting The Paper to bed, the call came through that there was a structure fire along the 7000 block of Valmont.
When we arrived at the scene, along with L.A. Fire Companies 24 and 74, we could see that the fire had gone up through the roof through the old fieldstone chimney on the structure. One of the problems with the old-style chimneys is that, over the years, the foundation sinks, which in turn causes breaks in the fireplace walls. When you burn wood logs, the heat gets so intense that it leaks through the cracks in the stone fireplace walls and sets fire to the adjacent wood joists.
Fortunately, there was no major damage to this house —but it could have been very bad, very quickly and hidden.
Fire agencies recommend that if you have a house that is more than 50 years old, you should have the fireplace and chimney professionally checked for leaks.