Friday, 20 January 2012

Chimney Fire!

I'm sitting here with my tea this morning and trying to decide what to post...  I've been trying to write at least part of my posts the evening before so I can read them over fresh in the morning and fix all the mistakes...  Lets face it, a great writer I am not but I do love to write.  Anyway... Sometimes the day gets away on me and I just don't have time, but as I listen to the sounds of the house waking up around me and the fire crackling I am reminded of the first winter and our very first chimney fire.

Chimney fires, to me, are crazy scary and since this one was the first on in our new house you can only imagine the horror I felt. We had gotten up fairly late that morning and I was rushing around trying to get ready as we were going to town. Of course I was all dressed up for town, make up on, hair done, I was even wearing slacks in stead of my usual jeans! I don't have much of a reason to dress up at home so figured why not? I wanted to look nice. I had a few appointments that day and couldn't be late, hence the rush. (Anyone who knows me knows how much I hate to be late)

I had added wood to the stove that morning and turned it up a bit to warm up the house as it had been a very cold night. Just before we were ready to leave we turned the dampers down so the fire would die down and we could go to town. I was just putting on my jacket when I heard a very strange sound, kinda like a freight train. I asked Mountain Man if he heard it and his eyes got pretty wide as we both said together, "chimney fire!!". Yep, there we were all dressed up to go to town and obviously going nowhere. But what to do?

The wood-stove we have is quite well built and supposed to be airtight so the first thing we did was close the dampers all the way so no air could get in. It did make a bit of a difference as the noise died down a bit but did not go away.  Now what? Neither one of us had ever dealt with this before. Thankfully Mountain Man is very safety conscience and it wasn't long before he knew exactly what to do. He grabbed one of the fire extinguishers. Put a ladder up to the roof and climbed up to the chimney. He then pulled off the chimney cap using very heavy gloves and sprayed short bursts of the dry chemical down the chimney. It worked! The chimney fire died out in no time but our racing hearts took much longer to settle down.

Lesson learned! We now have a schedule on when we clean the chimney (once a month) and usually we make sure to check it every week. Lesson two? Make sure your wood is dry! If you use wet wood you will build creosote faster. Our new woodshed will help a lot with this one.

Well, we are off to town this morning so must run...  and yes our chimney is clean!

Wisdom from Mountain Man:
Moral of this story? Learn from others mistakes to avoid that panic stricken feeling in your heart.


  1. Oh my! That would terrify me! I am a worrywart by nature anyway. When Hubby is doing electrical work, I stand by with a broom (wooden handle) - he laughs, but I figure I got one good swing to knock him away from wires if need be.

  2. My heart was beating hard along with yours - scarey stuff for sure. Thanks for the tip on spraying the extinguisher down the chimney. Yes, it would save time and potential losses if we could learn from others' mistakes, and that's much easier when people like you write about things like this. I look forward everyday to your stories. And AH - I'm afraid I also laughed at your broom, but it makes sense for sure. Take care, all. Gloria

  3. Any tips on chimney-sweeping? What tools/techniques do you use to keep things clear?

  4. Time to get my flue cleaned. Thanks for the reminder! Your story scary the bejeezus out of me!

  5. Thanks for sharing this valuable lesson learned! We hope to get a wood stove soon, so this will help us be prepared.

  6. Glo, thankful to hear that you and Mountain Man are okay and were able to prevent the chimeny fire from turning into a major problem.

  7. You can also throw a glass of water in the fire box and allow the steam to put the fire in the chimney out. That is what our fire department told us to do when we had our first chimney fire. We had one that was also in the middle of winter right as hubby was leaving the house and was so bad that he had to call the fire department. It was very scary. I wasn't home but it was scary to even hear about after the fact and we had to put in a whole new chimney. $1100.00 later we never burn anything that has not seasoned for at least a year


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