Do I need to fill in a previous fireplace before walling it off? via /r/DIY

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Do I need to fill in a previous fireplace before walling it off?

Back story: The previous home owners completely gutted the fireplace, removed the chimney, and turned the area into an alcove for their entertainment center. Now it just looks stupid.
I'd like to wall it off with a faux fireplace mantle and electric fireplace so I don't have to worry about reopening the flue. My question is, since I'm walling off a 4.5ftx2.5ft area do I need to do anything to stay within fire safety code?

Submitted May 15, 2021 at 02:56PM by PhantomWang
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