Most fires involving either masonry or prefabricated metal chimneys occur because of improper installation, use or maintenance. Here are a few of the most common causes: chimney installation too close to wood framing; thermal insulation too close to the chimney; and, passing the stovepipe or chimney through a ceiling or wall, causing ignition of wood framing. Also, always operate your appliance within the manufacturer's recommended temperature limits. Too low a temperature increases creosote buildup, and too high a temperature may eventually cause damage to the chimney and result in a fire.
When you finish your next project, instead of throwing away unused building materials, donate them to a non-profit organization and let someone else put them to a good use.