BEAVERTON A family was displaced after a fire started in their chimney and caused smoke damage throughout their house Saturday, firefighters said.

Smoke and flames quickly spread from their fireplace into the home s attic at around 10:30 p.m., said Karen Eubanks with Tualatin Valley Fire.

Miranda Litkie, her four kids and husband - an Iraq war veteran - escaped the flames but lost much of their possessions.

Litkie said her husband tried to fight the fire with a garden hose as friends got the kids out of the house.

I'm glad were were awake and that we got everybody out safe and caught it in time before it got to the whole house, Miranda said.

Fire investigators said the fire at 7805 SW Hall Boulevard in Beaverton was caused by a fireplace flue that had not been inspected or maintained for some time.

The American Red Cross was assisting the family.

Fire officials said that more than 50,000 heating equipment fires occur each year in the US, which are the second leading cause of fires in homes after cooking.

In this case, the Litkies said they were burning cardboard in their fireplace. Fire officials said it can be dangerous to burn trash and paper products.

Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue encourages people to have fireplaces and wood stoves inspected and cleaned before using them, and to burn only dry, seasoned wood.

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