1. #1
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    fftrainer's Avatar
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    Default Live Christmas Tree Disposal

    As part of my disbelief in today's 50 degree New Years Day in the northeast I was on weather.com and found a poll.

    The poll was something like "If you have real evergreen Christmas tree, how do you plan on disposing of it?"

    At the time I read it, the second most popular answer was:

    "Cut it up, then use the needles as mulch, trunk as firewood, etc"

    I don't know the number of responses, but the percentage was like 21.8% for that option.

    Why do we go to chimney fires again???

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    Once went to a structure fire where the after the fire was extinguished we found the remains of a xmas tree about 10' tall sticking out of the fireplace. The owner thought it was ok to burn it a little at a time.....

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    Guess he thought it worked sort of like a chipper???

  4. #4
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    This reminded me of something I read from Nick Brunacini some time back. I laughed so hard I thought I was gonna pass out, the first time I read it.
    Oh, Christmas Tree
    A burning Yuletide bush delivers the gift of experience
    By Nick Brunacini

    My first fire was exciting and tense. It was also a matter of life and deathómy life and my brotherís hung in the balance. I was a senior in high school, and my brother was a freshman. The whole family was starting the day out together, and Dad was getting ready to go off to his fire chief job. Before he left, he gave my brother and me explicit instructions to get rid of the 12' Christmas tree that occupied the living room. My brother and I had put this chore off for quite some time; Valentineís Day was only a week away.

    Dear old Dad was rapidly losing his sense of humor about our lax approach to Christmas clean-up, so my brother and I figured we would remove the bomb that occupied the corner of our living room when we got home from school. Mom and Dad both left for work, and my sister boarded the bus that would deliver her to the elementary school down the street. Then my brother and I decided that our chore was too important to put off. For safetyís sake, we stayed home from school to remove the menace from our home.

    The first order of business was to eat. One needs energy when taking on arduous and life-threatening tasks. The two of us drove to the local Dennyís and discussed our tree-removal strategy over a couple of Grand Slam breakfast specials. Our father had instilled the importance of proper planning and management to us at an early age. By the time we finished breakfast, we were ready to take on the tree.

    When we got home, we started on our chore. The first step was to remove the ornaments and lights. We carefully and lovingly removed Mr. Snowman, Santa Claus and the Three Wise Men (which had been skillfully handcrafted out of yarn in the Philippines), wrapping them in protective tissue and putting them back into their boxes. Next off were the lights and garland. We had strung popcorn on kite string. (My mother had used the leftover popcorn to make red and green popcorn balls. I still had some of this Yuletide confection wedged in my molars.)

    After we had the tree stripped down to its natural, albeit dead, state, we stuffed it into the fireplace. This was the core of the plan we developed over breakfast. We did not want to hassle with taking the tree to the dump and were too civic minded to just dump it on the side of the road. The crux of our plan was the soundness of the fireplace and flue.

    Six years earlier, I had helped my father and another psychopath build our family home. My father and his building buddy were advocates of over-engineering. The fireplace flue was a vault. Large 1 1⁄2" thick clay flue tiles lined a chimney made of grouted 8 x 4 x 16" cinder block. The space between the flue tiles and the chimney was then filled with enough concrete to make an average family-size swimming pool. My brother and I reasoned that since the structure could serve as a launch tube for a Saturn rocket, a Christmas tree should be a walk in the park. We stuffed the tree up the fireplace, big end first. We had to do it this way because the bottom of the tree was at least 6' in diameter. This took about an hour, and it was not as easy as youíd think. We were both impaled with splinters, bleeding and ****ed off by the time we got the tree into its final resting place. I recall my brother and I took a 5-minute break in the middle of this disaster to have a fistfight. Things were not going well, and they were about to get much worse.

    Iím sure many of you are wondering why Iím not writing a story about my first fire as a fireman. The simple reason is because in all actuality, this was my first fire, and it was much more exciting than the first one I had as a member of the Phoenix Fire Department. I also had a lot more riding on this one.

    After my brother and I packed the ever-expanding tree into the firebox, we lit a single match, tossed it in and closed the heavy brass screen. Within seconds, the heat drove us across the living room. It is the first time I ever witnessed radiant heat and convection currents. Our clothes were hot. My brother had a look of abject fear on his face. Iím sure I wore the same look. We were convinced that we were in the process of burning down the fire chiefís house. I looked at my brother and told him the whole thing was his fault.

    In the span of just a few seconds, we had gone from a single lit match to nuclear fission. As if the heat and blistering flames werenít enough, they were quickly joined by small pinesap detonations. It sounded like mortar shells going off. The heavy fireplace screen kept the incendiary embers from flying out and setting the living room ablaze. The fire was burning so bright that it hurt our eyes to look at it. After a couple of minutes, we fled the interior and went out front to see how the chimney was doing.

    My brother and I stood hypnotized and helpless in our front yard. We had only lived in our home for six years. There couldnít have been that much soot, creosote and unburned fuel stored in such a new chimney flue. But there was 40 feet of fire blowtorching out the top of the chimney. My mother and fatherís anniversary was the following week, and my brother and I were in serious peril of burning down their dream home. We couldnít blame this on my sister. Our parents were too smart.

    The entire event did not last 5 minutes. As my brother and I stood there weak-kneed, the fire quickly died. We ventured back into the house to find no more damage than a light haze and what felt like a 25-degree temperature increase in the living room. The fireplace was devoid of any signs that anything had been burned in it, let alone 1 million BTUs of last yearís holiday tree.

    My first fire left me both invigorated and emotionally drained. That day I learned how important it is to start your day off right with a nutritious breakfast, to over-engineer safety devices and to dispose of flammables properly.
    Steve Gallagher
    IACOJ BOT
    ----------------------------
    "I don't apologize for anything. When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

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