Chimney Sweeps

Friday, January 14, 2011 - 2:14pm

Florida chimney sweeps are working overtime because of the cold weather.

The frigid temps across the Bay Area have chimney sweeps working over time to keep homeowners safe from fires. Chimney sweep Kevork Shrikian says "I still encounter some very odd things sometimes”

From rodents, to birds, Kevork Shrikian has seen it all in his 30 years being a chimney sweep.

Today, it's a pretty standard call. When it's cold "Kev," as his customers call him, will make 5 or 6 inspections a day.

His wife has slowly gotten used to him coming home looking like a coal miner.

Kev says "she makes me buy the stainless steel front loading washers just because of my clothes."

Even with special tools, it took him about 5 years to learn the guild.

Kev says "I have so many people who see what I do, then go buy their own vacuums and then discover they soot up their house."

Industry standards usually call for inspecting and cleaning a fireplace once a year but Kev says Florida is a different world.

Kev says "I generally tell people 40 to 50 fires.”

After 30 years of use, this one needed cleaning.

It's a dirty job.

Kev says "believe me, even after I get home and clean up I sometimes still smell it on me."

But it's a special guild that pays when Florida gets cold.

Kev says "there isn't really any place that I know of that really teaches it."

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