Question: We live in a 1990 sq ft 6 year old single story stucco home in Northern California. The home has a zero clearance fireplace which recently caught on fire at the top of the chimney. The entire chimney and fireplace box needs to be replaced. We enjoy wood burning fires and had been burning almond wood for the past 6 years and had the chimney cleaned approximately 1-1/2 years ago.The chimney tubing appeared clean so we suspect that the wooden structure at the top of the chimney became so dry, ignited and caused the fire. In any event, we do not want to replace with the same type of fireplace and have been looking at inserts for pellet, wood and gas. The problem with the inserts that we have seen, is that they appear to stick out more than we would like. We are also getting conflicting opinions as to the installation of wood inserts. Some feel that they also have the potential for causing another fire.Therefore we are contemplating a complete gas fireplace, not an insert. Unfortunately, the price of gas has increased significantly here in California, which has now made the decision even more difficult. We need to make a decision this week and the more we read, look and discuss our options, the more confused we become. Any suggestions as to what we should do would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in Advance, Michael Banton Answer: Why not consider a built-in zero clearance fireplace that heats. Some popular models at from RSF Energy, Travis Industries, Heat n' Glo and others at http://hearth.com/prod.html These will not stick out at all, but will provide a house full of heat. In order to use an insert you have to build an entire fireplace first. Then the insert goes into it. The units I am speaking of are all-in-one. They simply build into the framing and then use a metal chimney to vent through the roof.