Chimney Fire: Wood Stove & Fireplace Safety

chimney fire

Have you ever seen a Chimney Fire or Flue Fire?

Guest article, by ‘NRP’

I watched as my neighbor in CA burned his home down, the Flue Pipe glowing bright red above the roof line, the flames shooting out the pipe like a Blow Torch and the home in ashes within 20 minutes. Thankfully nobody was hurt, but a total loss.

PS; The Fire Department did show up, they stood there and watched with the rest of us.

Chimney Fire Statistics

Here are a few fire statistics:

In 2016, there were 1,342,000 fires reported in the United States.

These fires caused 3,390 civilian deaths, 14,650 civilian injuries, and $10.6 billion in property damage.

475,500 were structure fires, causing 2,950 civilian deaths, 12,775 civilian injuries, and $7.9 billion in property damage.

One home structure fire was reported every 90 seconds.

One civilian fire injury was reported every 34 minutes.

One civilian fire death occurred every 2 hours and 35 minutes.

Of these ‘Structure’ fires, according to the latest statistics available, there are over 25,000 Chimney Fires per year in the US

What causes a chimney fire?

Creosote build-up is the main cause of chimney fires.

The creosote comes from particles/wood that were not fully burned during the fire (aka Smoke) and when the temperatures in the chimney lowered, they attached to the chimney walls forming the creosote.

The Best Ways to Prevent a Chimney Fire

Only burn seasoned or dried out wood.

Wood that is completely dry will sound hollow when hit against another piece of wood. It will be dark in color and may have cracks in the ends. It takes about 6 months for wood to season and be ready to burn.

Clean or have someone clean-clean-clean the Flue often, Inspect the Flue for cracks and airtightness. Have this professionally done, it’s cheap insurance.

What to do if you have a Chimney Fire

Get everyone out of the house because fire can flash right through the house with incredible speed.

Then call the fire department from a safe distance.

My advice, do NOT try to put out the fire and do not hesitate leave immediately.

Afterwards, if your house is still standing, call the Insurance Company, and call a chimney service professional to clean and inspect the chimney as well as assess the damage. Do NOT start another fire.

Things to remember:

The ignition temperature of creosote is generally considered to be 451 degrees, the same ignition point as paper.

As little as 1/8″ to 1/4″ is needed to cause a significant creosote chimney fire.

When ignited, creosote can burn at temperatures easily exceeding 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Steel often melts at around 1370 degrees C (2500°F). The minimum temperature needed to ignite wood is 180 degrees C (356°F), so a Flue at 2000 degree can ignite wood within a very close proximity, hence instant House Fire.

Again do not die trying to save Stuff.
If you ignore the sensible/smart thing to do, read up on the net and “try” to put a Chimney Fire Out, but remember the Stats above.

Me? I’ll shut the Dampeners, the Air Intake, grab Blue, and get the heck out of the house.
Let-er Burn-Baby-Burn and live to see another day.

Chimney Brush (4″) | (6″) | (8″) | (10″)

Chimney Brush Rod Kit

Creosote Remover Chimney Treatment

[ Read: Chimney Sweeping – Clean Your Own Chimney ]

[ Read: Why You Should Only Burn Seasoned Firewood ]