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Thread: Chimney fires

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
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    Southern New Jersey
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    Post Chimney fires

    I'm looking at writing SOP's/SOG's for chimney fires. I was looking for information on do's/don't, chimney kits set up, and tactics. Any information would be helpful.
    "You can't volunteer to be a doctor on the weekends"


  2. #2
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Mar 2000
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    3,120

    Post

    My ramblings:

    http://www.mortlakefire.org/Mortlake/Tools/chimneyfires.htm

    Not a specific SOP, as a description of our normal practices.

    Is it just me, or has there been a steady drop off in chimney fires? When I first joined 15 years ago, we ran about 12 "working" chimney fires a year...now maybe one or two and couple more "out on arrival" fires.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
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    Aug 2001
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    Colorado
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    Post

    While we don't have any set-in-stone SOP's, here are some guide lines we follow and some things that surrounding departments have had luck with.

    1. Don't go dumping a bunch of water down the chimney. It can cause the chimney to cool too fast and crack the liner. I have had luck with a squirt bottle set to mist. (This is for the air tight wood burning stoves) Open the stove up, quickly apply some water and shut the door. This will allow steam to go up the chimney and cool the fire.(USE EXTREME CAUTION when opening the fire place or stove.) This is not for the chimney fire that is blowing burning chunks out the top. The best thing for the rippers is to air tight the bottom end as much as possible.

    2. Try to gain accss to as much of the chimney as possible and look for cracks and fire extension. (Ie. The attic area, wall area above the mantle)

    3. There is a product out that looks like a flare or fusee called "ChimFex" (the spelling may be a little off). A Chimney Sweep that I know says he has had excellent luck with it. I have seen this stuff at WalMart. When you light the CimFex and throw it in the fireplace/stove, the fumes take out the O2 that is feeding the chimney fire.

    4. With free standing stoves, really investigate the ceiling/wall where the pipe exits the room and the house. If installed properly with triple wall pipe, alot of times the structure is fairly well protected. However, look at every place the pipe travels through the structure to be sure.

    5. If the fire was contained to the chimney, instruct the occupant of the house to have a qualified Cimney Sweep or contractor inspect the whole system prior to placing it back into use.

    6. No matter how it looks on initial size-up, have a handline ready to go.

    These are a few guide lines to go by. Each case of course is unique. The big thing is to look for extension of fire beyond the chimney.

  4. #4
    Forum Member
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    Dec 1998
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    Pea Ridge, Arkansas
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    Post

    We just had one yesterday afternoon that broke into the attic. What we do as a standard is, 2 guys on the roof, at least one in an airpack (I breathed that crap too long). They take tools to remove any screen or cap, a 12 foot piece of chain, and a bag of bombs we made out of old fire extinguisher powder and zip-loc bags. One or two check the attic, while the IC works the stove/ fireplace with a couple of more guys. Shut down the stove with flu dampers, thimbles on the stove, or if it's an open fireplace, shut down the damper. We've removed the burning material from the fireplace before, or if it's safe we get the chimney under control, and leave some burning material in the firebox, (of course by now you've checked for leaks into the attic, over heating of the chimney and made sure the connections are tight to the chimney. We put some water down the chimney for the first time yesterday, but it had leaked into the attic and started structural members to ignite, other than that, we don't put water into the chimney or fireplace. Oh Yeah, the roof crew uses the chain to knock loose heavy creosote that usually starts it in the first place.

    Anyway, thats what we do, it works, and we don't do extra damage unless we have to.

    Good Luck, Frank
    Chief Frank Rizzio
    Pea Ridge Fire Dept.
    Pea Ridge AR. 72751

  5. #5
    Jim LeBlanc
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Here in eastern Canada we get our share of chimney fires. The first thing we do is close the damper to the wood burning appliance to slow the rate of burning until we get things set up. We then check for extension outside of the chimney. My department uses chimney "snuffers", a special nozzle connected to a 1" booster line. In the nozzle there are 8 furnace nozzles which spray a mist. I believe the total flow is around 1-2 gal./min. This small amount of water allows the liner to cool slowly to prevent cracking. Another method that works fairly well if the chimney is not blocked off too bad is to take a baggie full of dry chemical powder and drop it down the chimney from the roof. CO2 extinguishers will cool an overheated stove pipe to reduce the chance of a wall fire and prevent water damage if a hose was used. Once we have the chimney fire extinguished we use a garden sprayer to extinguish the fire in the stove. We have galvanized wash tubs with covers that we place the contents of the stove into and then remove them from the house and place them away from combustibles. Another thing to be aware of is the use of negative pressure ventilation if the house has a fireplace or woodstove in use. The homeowners tend to get a little mad when you pull all of the smoke from the chimney into the house. Just some of the things we do, hope they give you some ideas.

  6. #6
    Forum Member
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    Thumbs up

    The "bomb's" tend to work really good. As some of the other posts have said, just some dry chem in a ziplock bag and drop em down the chimney...Stay Safe
    "WAS THAT BEFORE OR AFTER YOU REALIZED YOU WERE STANDING IN A $#@%*&% PUDDLE OF GASOLINE?"

  7. #7
    Senior Member firecat1524's Avatar
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    SC
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    Dalmation,
    Same here...we used to could count on at least 4 or 5 chimney fires a year to end up being real workers. Now they are few and far between.
    The bombs work great, having used them a time or two myself. We've also used a heavy chain to break the buildup off the walls of the flue before. Just make sure you have at least a booster line on the roof with you to prevent the shingles from lighting off when the sparks start landing.

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