Thread: Chimney fire tactics...
11-17-2000, 02:11 PM #1KniselyFirehouse.com Guest
Chimney fire tactics...
Curious to see how many departments still use a chain/weight during a chimney fire?
Is this an outdated tactic that can cause additional damage ?
Could this damage to the lining be considered secondary to the fire and be grounds for a lawsuit ?
11-17-2000, 05:13 PM #2Dalmatian90Firehouse.com Guest
I see lots of lawsuits for breaking out a window during a structure fire...NOT. And there that's a deliberate action, not an unfortunate side-effect.
If someone does mention "lawsuit" can you say, "Homeowner failed to exercise due regard to properly maintain the chimney by regulary and correctly cleaning it."?
Dropping chains to clean out the chimney is commonly accepted practice, and it absolutely ensures any burning material has been removed from the chimney.
While the surface fire may be knocked down by Chimfex flares, Dry Chemical, or (acckkkk) Water...what's burning underneath? Dropping chains is an overhaul process to make sure nothing remains burning in the chimney to reignite, or worse yet extend through an already cracked liner.
With the masnory construction of most chimneys, or the insulation in metal chimneys, holding the heat in even a Thermal Imager probably isn't gonna give an accurate indication that the fire is out or is burning underneath the top layer of creosote still. There really isn't any good way to overhaul other than drop the chains to clean it.
11-17-2000, 06:52 PM #3Mike DeVuonoFirehouse.com Guest
You know, about 2 months ago there was an article in PA Fireman regarding chimney fores, and they also led the reader to believe that chains were an outdated tactic. I don't really recall the jist of the article though. We still use the chains.
"There are few atheists inside a burning building."
These are my opinions and not those of my department.
11-17-2000, 09:14 PM #4KniselyFirehouse.com Guest
Thanks for your comment Mike, I saw that article too. Maybe Dalmatian would like to argue with IFSTA who authored that article. It is a shame that people cannot answer with their opinion and have to add wise *** comments. But, from the looks of his history on FHcom he has nothing else to do.
11-17-2000, 11:07 PM #5fireseekerFirehouse.com Guest
I remember doing away with the chains about 10 years ago for fear of doing unncessary damage to the liner. Which may in turn cause other problems later like possible extension because a damaged section went unnoticed at the time. We have been using the dry chem method down the chimney with good results. This year we are going to try PPV with dry chem at the base to try and reduce the possibility of injuries resulting from being on the roof. We will still do our exposure checks as we always have. I hope this helps in some way. Take care
11-18-2000, 12:25 AM #6Dalmatian90Firehouse.com Guest
I may try to inject humor into my postings, but very seldom do I slam another poster, Tim. Ideas, maybe. Parts of their ideas, definitely. Them? Almost never.
Indeed the only individual I remember slamming has been Larry Stevens, and that more for how he answered questions from other poster than his content. Sarcastic, well I've been on the sarcastic side lately on most of my internet postings and that's would be fair criticism. Wise *** isn't.
I do question things a lot, and I do phrase a lot of the questions rhetorically. Questioning is part of the learning process.
I don't mind challenging IFSTA -- they're good, but they're not gospel. Their manuals are written by committees to reach a reasonable agreement among members from across broad geographic areas.
Doesn't mean they're the best practice for your particular area or situation.
Some practices in their manuals need to be questioned -- such as teaching both Fly-Out and Fly-In laddering, but I can only assume that was a compromise with a department somewhere that does Fly-In, despite the fact it's inherently weaker on almost all if not all ground ladder designs.
Doesn't mean their manuals are any better or worse than ones written by a single author -- which tend to have a more consistent philosphy about tools, tactics, and techniques at the trade off of a narrower world view.
Where learning takes place is by sharing ideas, looking at what is good in them, what will work for you, what you could improve, what you should discard. I've read of the PPV--Dry Chem. I've added it to my toolbox to possibly use on a well involved fire -- but I will still follow it up with a proper overhaul.
Is there anything wrong with questioning IFSTA, Larry Stevens, Larry Davis, NFPA, or anyone else? No -- because by throwing out ideas and seeing how they interact we move forward. God help us all if all we ever did was believe one way of doing something we read in one book.
Yep, I post quite a bit here (not the leading poster though, I don't believe ), I'm a good writer and enjoy the forums. Nothing to apologize for there.
Fire Officer I; Fire Service Instructor I; Firefighter II; EMT; and bunch of other alphabet soups stuff.
11-20-2000, 10:12 PM #7town/deptFirehouse.com Guest
Have you ever been on the roof dropping the chain and the creosote has blocked the chimney? You can't break through and it's still on fire below the blockage. Smoke is starting to back up in the house. well, we have a piece of Iron 3 feet long we call the PERSUADER.
It doesn't come out very often, but it has done the job when it came time. You do have to use chains. At least where we are.
11-21-2000, 11:02 AM #8chief4102Firehouse.com Guest
We use something like town/dept's "persuader". Our's is an ice fishing spud with threaded connector on the handle and additional pipe with connectors to add up to 20 feet of handle as needed to reach a blockage. A cable is attached to allow retrieval if it slips and goes through the block to the bottom of the chimney. Like town/dept said, it isn't used too often. We usually use ABC dry chemical if chimney isn't blocked. We use the ramrod when we have to.
11-21-2000, 02:40 PM #9AdzeFirehouse.com Guest
As far as my FD goes, at our typical chimney fire we use the chains and dry chem.
So far the only damage we have ever done has been knocking the chimney off the roof (only happed once or twice in recent history).
12-02-2000, 12:53 AM #10Detroit FireFirehouse.com Guest
Depending on the chimney try a pike pole we have had good success in loonsing the soot.(only if it is a strait up and down.watch for a sudden dumping of soot and fire out the bottom)
12-06-2000, 01:27 PM #11GFD34K3Firehouse.com Guest
My Dept also uses the Chain/weight with the
dry Chem bombs. We have had no damage to date. We also carry a set of threaded rods in case of a severe plug which needs extra effort.
12-07-2000, 08:05 PM #12SubukFirehouse.com Guest
In the UK we use a hand pump attached to a length (approx. 30') of small bore hose, connected at the other end to a small dome topped circular nozzle. This nozzle has a number of holes drilled around the periphery. The hose and nozzle are pushed up the chimney using cane rods. They are similar to drain rods. The chimney rods have brass screw thread connectors with a spring clip that prevents them accidently unscrewing.
The pump stands in a 2 gallon bucket of water. One firefighter operates the pump while another (usually the probationer) pushes the assembly up the chimney and connects rods as required. When the nozzle is at the fire, indicated by the hiss of steam, the pump operator gives it a good drenching. When cold water flows down the hose/rods we then go higher until no more hot/warm water comes down. We always make allowance for the excess water coming down and contain it in the fireplace.
I suppose I should explain that we sheet up the hearth and floor area around the fireplace first, splash the fire with water and then remove the hot fuel from the fireplace prior to rodding.
In most cases this works OK and only uses two buckets of water to extinguish the fire. On rare occasions we have to go onto the roof and direct a hosereel branch down the chimney, but only as a last resort.
PPV is used to keep the room we're working in clear of smoke, if necessary.
I'm looking forward to hear of other methods used by departments around the world.
12-07-2000, 10:55 PM #13Dalmatian90Firehouse.com Guest
That was neat, Max, hearing about the english method.
Question: Do people burn mostly wood or coal over there? I'd think coal wouldn't create as much creosote on the chimney liner, could be wrong though.
12-07-2000, 11:09 PM #14Lieut706Firehouse.com Guest
We use chains on most of our chimney fires. The trick we use to get the chains to break up the stubborn clogs is the two window sash weights on the end. A couple of beatings with those babies and most anything will breakup. As long as the flu is straight no problem with breaking the flu tile. Small fires with just the glaze burning we use a dry powder baggie. Have used a dry chem shot up from below with some success. Am looking forward to adding PPV, but our fan is gas powered, and have you ever used your gas meter in the room you are "ventilating" with the fan? Says we should have our masks on. Funny, I didnt smell a thing. Jaffery out of New Hampshire? sells a device that is like a plum bob that weighs a few pounds and puts out 2-3 qts/min at 60 psi that we might try this winter. Sounds sort of like what the fellow from England uses.
12-08-2000, 08:07 PM #15SubukFirehouse.com Guest
I would say more coal than wood.
If anyone has further info on the device available in New Hampshire, I would be grateful to hear it.
12-10-2000, 04:18 AM #16eyecueFirehouse.com Guest
IF you advised the occupant of the structure that they are to have the chimney cleaned and inspected before it is put to use again and this is documented, I cant see liability for this.
12-13-2000, 10:00 AM #17Lieut706Firehouse.com Guest
For information on the snuffer from Jaffrey fire protection company try their web site at www.jfpc.com, or they list a ph# of 888-888-5712. The web site has a picture of the device but not much else. They do have a email catalogue reqest form to fill out. I seem to recall that the item is about $500.
12-13-2000, 03:51 PM #18FF/EMTSPANBAUERFirehouse.com Guest
Stong-age method?? That is a good one. I must admit, that in the fire service today we sometimes scrutinize ourselves over the tasks we complete and how we complete them. Chimney Fires are like x-girlfriends, doesn't matter where you go to try and hide from them, there is always going to be at least one that pops up.
We have to look back at our essentials class on this one. Attempt to recall the 3 main goals of the fire service.
1.) Life Safety
2.) Incident Stabilization
3.) Property Conservation
Bottom line is we have a fire in a residential structure. A fire, that if it is not overhauled correctly and efficiently, could possibly cause greater damage to that stucture. A chimney chain is a great tool. It can reach into those places, from a downward direction, that others tools can not. What good will dry chem, or flu bombs do, if they can not reach the source of the fire.
So with that said, I believe that there are a great many tactics in the fire service that have become known as stone-age, however they still get the job done and they get it done right!!
--Stay Safe, and Remember our Fallen Brothers and Sisters; John
12-14-2000, 06:39 PM #19SubukFirehouse.com Guest
Thanks for the info and web address.
12-17-2000, 12:17 AM #20LHVFDFirehouse.com Guest
I'm not sure what you are calling a chimney bomb but I think it's simular to what we use. We have the local fire ext sevice business save his old powder out of recharged ext's. We put this into small trash can liners (about enough to equal a softball size) they are tied off and stored on the truck. When needed they are droped down the chimney. The heat of chimney melts the plastic bag and dumps the powder. We check for fire extension then advise the property owner to have the chimney cleaned by a sweep
12-29-2000, 05:01 PM #21FireloverFirehouse.com Guest
I know that we still use the classic chain method, but we also have a more advanced way of bombing the chimney. It's a ziploc bag filled with (I forget the type) yellow dry chemical. The bag melts on the way down and extiguishes the fire. We usually only use the chain and block to clean after it's been extinguished.
If you sent us to HELL, WE'D PUT IT OUT!!
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