YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Area II officials are sealing off fireplaces in 160 family housing units because they haven’t been inspected in 10 years and pose safety concerns.

Fireplaces and flues must be inspected annually, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Officials here can’t find a certified chimney sweep, according to an Area II news release, so they’re welding plates near the dampers and fireboxes to close the fireplaces.

“In their current condition, the fireplaces pose a fire and carbon monoxide threat,” Area II Directorate of Public Works Engineering Inspection Chief Bryan Dorrough said in the release.

“Some have cracks in their exterior brick structure. The flues are dirty and some may have interior cracks in the flue lining.”

As of Friday, 12 fireplaces in vacant quarters had been sealed, according to an Area II spokesman, and residents in the 148 remaining quarters were being contacted to schedule the maintenance work.

The plan is to have the work completed by Nov. 30.

The duplex and single-family units are populated by command sergeant majors and senior officers, according to the release.

The work was directed by Area II commander Col. Ron Stephens.

“Regrettably, the Area II Support Activity does not have the resources to inspect, maintain and certify the hundreds of fireplaces within Area II as required by federal fire and safety codes,” Stephens wrote in his memo to the residents.

“Therefore, in an effort to prevent a fire or carbon monoxide gas leak from occurring within your quarters, I am asking your cooperation and understanding in helping remedy these potential fire and safety deficiencies.”

Anyone seeking additional information can contact the housing office at DSN 738-8234 or the fire department at 738-5200.

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