From Calvin Ralls' perch on a roof pitch, he can see it all.
"You're always at the highest point," he said, looking out over Fairway Drive.
His vantage point often allows him to catch what many homeowners may miss, hidden above the logs they intend to light as the weather turns wintry. As the owner of A-1 Chimney Pro, he has been cleaning, sweeping and inspecting chimneys nonstop.
"If you don't clean that stuff out like soot and creosote, you could get carbon monoxide poisoning, because the fumes can't escape," he said. "You could have a chimney fire and in turn that could spread to the rest of the house."
In the last week, more than seven residential fires, two of them fatal, have claimed lives and homes in Central Arkansas.
A home in Little Rock on Saturday, burnt to the ground, the result of the family's faulty chimney.
"There are thousands of fires that happen every year that are 100 percent preventable," Ralls said.
Ralls wants the public to know there's more to fireplace safety than simply a scrub with a wire brush. He and his team inspect the flue, its lining, and the distances between the fireplace and combustible items in the home.
"There's a lot more to it than just that," he said. "If the flue lining is damaged, that keeps it from doing its job and that can cause a fire to spread to the rest of your house. If there are combustibles too close to the fireplace (like a basket of dried pine cones or wood piles) that can also pose a hazard. We take a look at all of that."
Residential fires are the top ranking disaster calls the American Red Cross in Arkansas receives each year.
"Nationally, Red Cross responds to a fire every 70 seconds. In Arkansas, it's about four home fires each day on average," said Brigette Williams with the Red Cross. "And each time you see that person who has never had a fire -- it's simply devestating. "
The cold snap last week, Williams said. led to several fires across the area.
"We had a fatal fire in Pine Bluff on Friday where a mother and child died. The day before last a fatal fire in Conway that claimed the life of an older woman," Williams said. "In between all that we've had fires in Mayflower and Little Rock that destroyed homes. Three apartment fires in the state that have displaced dozens of people. Then other fires in between all of that."
The causes for fires are usually attributed to cooking, electric wiring deficiencies, and fireplaces or other heating sources.
In fact, fireplaces caused roughly 30 percent of home fires nationally last year. While the causes can vary, the impact usually doesn't.
"It's always the same look on these people's faces when we get to the scene. The look of what do I do now," Williams said. "The realization that you have lost everything that you own."
Many of Ralls' customers come to him for the top to bottom inspection after learning a hard lesson on their own.
"They know of somebody that has had a bad experience with it or they themselves have had a bad experience with it ," he said.
According to Ralls, an annual cleaning takes roughly one hour, but it can take longer if a homeowner has skipped sweeping for a few years. The costs for his customers range from $75 to $200, depending on the size and condition of the chimney. While it comes at a cost, Ralls believes its something most homeowners will say is worth it.
"You have to ask yourself how much is your home worth. How much is your life worth," he said. "A house fire can be tragic, it can change your life. And many of them can be prevented."
In all honesty, Ralls would rather clean and inspect the chimney before it becomes a hazard, so he doesn't watch his neighbors' lives go up in smoke.