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The season for fireplace usage has arrived, along with the cascade of claims originating from them. Fireplace blazes have many causes, but this article deals with those originating in and around the enclosure encompassing the firebox. Figure 1 is a simplified drawing of the two general types of fireplaces: the masonry fireplace and the prefabricated fireplace.

Masonry fireplaces are custom-built for a particular home and must be supported properly, as the masonry may weigh several thousand pounds. Prefabricated fireplaces are popular because of the reduced expense and additional features provided, such as forced air heat recovery systems. The following case studies illustrate some of the causes of fires in and around the firebox enclosure area.

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