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House next my parents had a chimney fire....

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by wg_bent, Jan 8, 2006.

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  1. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Well, folks, I have to dig into this one. About 3 days ago my father called me to tell me there were 3 fire companies out front (house is in a tight neighborhood with mostly ranches and raised ranches) trying to put out the fire at the neighbors house. Yesterday I stopped by to look and the eves of the house next to the chimney are all gone. I also noticed a direct vent sticking out next to the chimney (a pellet stove perhaps?) but the owner told Dad that the chimney had a hole in it...what ever that means. I'll dig more to see what happened....for educational purposes.

    The good news...They all got out and watched the fire company put the fire out. It's hard to see a house that you've known for 40+ years get burned... but the important thing was that no one was hurt.

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  2. DavidV

    DavidV New Member

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    When was the last time they had it cleaned?
  3. richg

    richg Minister of Fire

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    Chimney fires are dangerous as all heck, and it's great to hear that everyone is ok. thye can take on many forms, not just a roaring house-eater. Several years ago, a house next to me had a chimney fire that dang near killed the whole family. It was a very old house, circa 1750, and they used the fireplace a lot. They had been smelling smoke for a while, even when there was no fire in the fireplace. They were also complaining of headaches and sleepiness. Finally, the guy calls the fire dept to check it out. Turns out that a chimney fire had occurred and gotten through the old fireclay into the house. It was slowly smoldering its way around the house inside the walls. A guy I work with was a member of the fire dept. He hacked open a wall with his axe, and the wife goes crazy......until they find a large patch of smoldering timbers. The house had to be torn down. I never asked the neighbor about whether he had the chimney inspected and cleaned regularly, but would bet my right thumb that even if he knew it was a smart thing do do, he would not have done it because he was so cheap. He was a multimillionaire, but would take towels from hotels.
  4. zogboy

    zogboy New Member

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    Did you ever find the cause?
  5. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Nothing satisfying yet. My Father said the neighbor simply said there was a hole in the chimney. I did notice what looks like a Pellet vent sticking out of the house below where the eve has been hacked out of the house. No clue if it's even related though. The house has two fireplaces. One upstairs and one downstairs. All clay tiles and brick chimney. House is around 40 years old, same as my parents and same builder. I'll keep digging.


    The owner has lived there only about 2 years, and is not a USA native. His English isn't very good, so it may be a little harder to get the description right.
  6. zogboy

    zogboy New Member

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    I wonder if the pellet vent burned out or the exhaust was hot enough to set a
    fire on the asphalt shingles on that overhang. Sounds like it from the description of the vent just belw the eve.
    Dustin92 likes this.
  7. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    No, I guess I gave the wrong impression. The Pellet vent comes out well below the eve, actually through the cinderblock foundation next to the houses original chimney. Probably 15' between vent and eve. BUT, that's not saying that the stove didn't do damage on the inside. I REALLY don't want to jump to a conclusion that the problem was a Pellet stove. I have absolutely NO evidence that was the problem.
  8. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Finally got an update on this. It seems that none of the previous owners in something like 40 years used the living room fire place much. They used the downstairs family room fire place. This newer owner began using the upstairs fireplace and the fire was caused by a hole in the flue tiles. The chimney had never been properly built in the first place. I guess the lesson is to have a chimney inspected before lighting a fire in a house if you don't know the history.
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