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Is My Chimney Is On Fire, What Should I Do?
Your chimney serves a very important purpose in your home…to carry out toxic smoke and flue gases safely out of your home, keeping the air safe, clean and breathable. But an unmaintained chimney is as dangerous as the toxins that it is supposed to transport…it is an extreme fire hazard. Part of what makes it such a hazard is that you may not even know you’re having a chimney fire.
Recent statistical reports indicate there are over 25,000 chimney fires a year that have cost over 125 million dollars worth of damage.
Two kinds of chimney fires…
- Free burning chimney fires can be explosive and dramatic; dark, dense smoke and/or shooting flames can be seen from the outside of the home. People inside the home have reported:
- smelling an intense hot smell
- experiencing thick, dense smoke – your smoke detector should be going off
- sounds coming from the flue that are like loud cracking or popping noises, you could also hear sounds of rattling pipes or noises that sound like a freight train is heading straight at your home
- some people have reported hearing what sounds like rain coming down the chimney, which is the creosote buildup as it breaks free
- Slow burning chimney fires that often go undetected. They are quieter and not as dramatic looking, but every bit as dangerous. Although they burn slowly, they burn at very high temperatures, and can cause a lot of structural damage to your chimney and can travel to other flammable areas of your home as well. Some of the signs that you have had a slow burning fire that went undetected are:
- you may find flakes of creosote on your roof or on the ground
- metal objects, such as the damper, rain caps, chimney flashings that appear warped or damaged
- cracks on the outside of the chimney
- inside the chimney the creosote will appear white and puffy
- Definitely get your chimney inspected if these signs appear, if it burned once it will probably burn again, and this time could be much worse.
What should you do in the event of a chimney fire?
If you are aware that you’re having a chimney fire, first and foremost…DON’T PANIC! The important thing to do is evacuate everyone in the home to safety and call 911.
- If it is safe to go into the house, you can try to cut off the air supply to the fire, by closing the flue damper (don’t touch it with your bare hands), and if you have glass doors, close them. Then leave immediately and leave the rest to the fire department.
- Once outside, if possible, you could spray water from a garden hose onto your roof on your roof to help prevent the fire from spreading.
One of the main causes of a free burning chimney fire spreading is a roof that has not been cleaned from debris, so along with having your chimney cleaned, be sure to clean your roof as well.
MasterCraft Roofing Services is the Seattle Area’s Best Roofing Company.
During the Project: We employ OSHA standards for safety, we use the highest quality tools and materials because there is more than just shingles. Along with a quality roof, we intend to leave your property in better shape than when we found it. We police our nails and debris with military discipline.
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