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Thread: Chimney Bombs

  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber Firefighter430's Avatar
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    Question Chimney Bombs

    Chimney Bombs

    I have heard several departments talking about making “Chimney Bombs” out of fire extinguisher media and zip lock bags for use on chimney fires. Anybody out there had any experience with them? What size bags do you use? I’m going to make some this week and was wondering if several smaller bombs or one large one works best. Any input would be great.

    Thanks
    "Illegitimis non carborundum."

    - Gen. Joseph Stilwell
    (Lat., "Don't let the *~#%&S grind you down.")


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    Default Chimney Fire

    We take a partially used dry chemical extinguishers and spray them imto a 5 gallon bucket. Then take the powder and put it into garbage bags. About 2 lbs. Cut the bag down to you get something you can hold in your hand. Tie it off with a twist tie, and place it inside another bag(sandwich). When we get to the scene you can take the garbage bag out and drop it into the chimney and it is suppose to go out. It has worked for us on several occasions. Give it a try and hope you have good luck with it.

    If you need anymore questions you can email me.
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    Thumbs up we make em

    They are sandwich bags, not heavy zip lock. We keep a bucket with around 12 - 15 in it. It depends on how good it's going as to how many you through in. usally 2 to 5 will do it, then we drop the chains and open the cleanout at the bottom and clean it out.

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    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Default

    We carry about 10 bags between two trucks..... a medium zip loc bag about half full of Purple K fire retardant. We use them as a first line response to chimney fires, unless there is more than just the chimney involved (aka structure fires).

    We usually drop two bags (bag and all) down the hole, with the fireplace/stove closed up, to prevent making a big mess. Then we would normally follow this up with a careful amount of water/foam to cool everything.
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    Thumbs up

    Like GPM said, use sandwich bag size, and the lighter weight, the better. Because they drop through so quickly, it takes more heat than you'd think to melt them, especially if the fire is only burning in one spot or a small area. More than once I've seen them dropped down, only to find them completely intact at the bottom. But once you get them right combo, they are VERY effective.
    TW
    Essex Junction Fire Dept.
    Vermont

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    Talking

    One comment on the "Bombs" If the fireplace is of the open type, then be sure to use a tarp or something to cover the fireplace opening (having first removed the hot ashes), if you dont, then the room will be full of soot!!!, hell of a mess to clear up.

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    Default

    We have a small arsenal of tactics to use on a chimney fire.

    We have the "aluminum bullet" water mist device
    We also make our own chimney bomb's as described above (using some very thin sandwich bags).
    To make the chimney bombs, we simply bought a 3 to 5 gallon pail of the dry chem agent. we also keep this pail and a small scoop on the truck and have been known to simply toss a few scoops of agent into the chimney.
    We have also been trying the PPV style of attack from the firebox itself by discharging an extinguisher up the chimney & letting the natural draft & PPV pressure take the agent up the chimney. There's an excellent training drill on this at that MFRI web site.

    Please note - anytime a dry chem. agent is being used you should always Be sure to block the fireplace / stove to reduce the chimney draft as much as possible (except for the PPV attack). And all personnel in the "action area(s)" should be wearing eye & respiratory protection.
    Other general Chimney Fire Tips.
    Removal of the fireplace / stove contents is almost always a must.
    Be very pro active in your damage control.
    Always use roof ladders for roof ops.
    Be sure of your footing always - be extra sure in darkness & bad weather conditions.

    I personally see a chimney fire as one of the more dangerous types of calls we run simply because of the many ways we can get hurt and the fact that these calls are so "routine" that we get complacent and sometimes overlook safety issues.


    Well - that's probably 10 times more of a response than you wanted but I hope it was still informative.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
    Instructor

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    MembersZone Subscriber Firefighter430's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks for all the response to the post. On all chimney fire calls we treat them like any structure fire call as far as trucks and mutual aid called. In the past we have used salt on chimney fires and it seems to smother the fire. It has been used for decades in the county. I have heard that heated salt help release creosote but I have never read that anywhere. The other day we had a especially hard to extinguish chimney fire and that got me to thinking about the chimney bombs. It was an older house that had a 10 x 20 chimney at the top and probably a 36 x 36 base. It was filled with blocks of creosote so large we had to break it up before we could shovel it from the eye in the house. It had been burning for hours, in fact the home owner had let the fire in the heater burn out and the heater was only slightly warm at our arrival. The chimney was blazing. Most new homes have 8 x 8 liners in place and they just don’t have the space to build up that much fuel but this one was tough. When we went to the attic we found heavy smoke. We deploy a line to the attic just in case and sent in a crew. After investigating we found cracks in the chimney in the attic space that had vented smoke and heat into the attic space and smutted up the areas around the cracks. If the cracks would have been near wood it would have been all over. The owner was lucky. We condemned the chimney and told the owner he would have to have it fixed before he could use it again.

    As for training info from this call I have this to add. You never know what you will find and on this call the crew found grayish white, flaky pipe insulation in the attic near the chimney so they got a decon wash outside after they exited the house. Older homes have all kinds of surprises like asbestos laying around.
    "Illegitimis non carborundum."

    - Gen. Joseph Stilwell
    (Lat., "Don't let the *~#%&S grind you down.")

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber AC1503's Avatar
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    Default

    Go with twist ties. The powder gets into the zipper of a zip lock bag and is makes it very hard to it keep closed.

  10. #10
    Forum Member martinj's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Chimney Bombs

    We follow all the same basic procedures as mentioned earlier. We have always used the ziplock bags without any problems. We also store all the baggies in an old ammo can that has been painted red and labeled. This can keeps the materials dry and free from moisture seepage over time.

    Just my two cents.
    Jonathan Martin
    martinj@wpi.edu
    WPI Mechanical Engineering
    "Be safe, use smoke detectors...be safer, sleep with a firefighter..."

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