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  1. #1
    Forum Member fftrainer's Avatar
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    Default Chimney/Flue Fires

    Since we have a couple threads actually discussing basic tactics not a once every 10 years call, I have another one.

    With fuel costs as they are and as they are predicted to be for the winter, I see more people using wood burning heat sources such as fireplaces and woodstoves. Potentially these people haven't used them in a couple of years or perhaps have never used them if they are new to the home, etc.

    I see a good potential for increased chimney/flue fire runs this winter so I wanted you guys to spill your tricks, your sop's, etc as a refresher for the upcoming cold weather season.

    How do you handle:

    Access??
    Suppression??
    Safety??
    Property conservation issues?? (ie. tarps and hall runners)
    Resident education??


  2. #2
    Cpt. Common Sents nbfcfireman's Avatar
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    Default

    access= screw ground ladders to risky even with a roof ladder to risk slipping off. go with the stic it will be easier
    Suppression = 30 ft chain with atleast 1in wide links, give a twirl and it knowcks al the embers down or go professional, get a chimney sweeper attachment from a home depot or something, but put it on a chain and not a pole
    Safety = always have collapse zone. new chimneys with brick maynot of cured all the way and more susseptable to spalling and cracks.
    Property = tarp at fireplace base, no water down chimney, just extra mess to clean up
    Resident edu = they need to burn hot fires no smoldering fires, chimney logs every once in a while 2x a season here

  3. #3
    Forum Member fftrainer's Avatar
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    Default

    I realize I asked a slew of questions but never gave my info.

    Access - We're fortunate enough to have an aerial to get up to it without having to be on a snowy, frosty roof.

    Suppression - we have a 'chimney pan' which is basically a large stainless steel pan(like 2 x 2) with handles. We empty the contents of the firebox into the pan and remove from the home. We then proceed to remove the cap(if there is one) and lower chains down from the top. We use a straight chain of about 1.5" links with an old set of tire chains attached to the end for knocking the buildup off the flue and into the fire box to be removed at the end.

    Safety - if you don't have an aerial, a roof ladder is a must esp. if the roof has a coating of frost. Collapse HAS to be observed as a possibility. We have so many chimneys that are crappy framed out things with metal flues with a brick facade around them so they 'look expensive' but aren't. Safety of the resident has to come in with regards to potential CO levels as well. House should be tested prior to turning the home over to the resident.

    Property conservation - we put a tarp in front of the firebox and we try to use a hall runner tarp out to the door so we don't track stuff in or we try to use a closer door such as a sliding door that may be in the same family room as the fireplace. Check for extension with the TIC so se don't have to come back or do unneccessary damage.

    Resident Education - We advise on good fireplace principles. Burn seasoned wood only. No cardboard, etc. We also advise them to not use the unit until it is cleaned and inspected by a certified chimney professional.

  4. #4
    Forum Member MEck51's Avatar
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    Our tactics are pretty much in line with what has been stated above. Great point about checking CO prior to letting reentry by residents. Has any one used the tactic of a fan at the firebox (of course it would be emptied of burning contents first) and blowing up dry chem powder. I have read about it but the chief won't let me try it.
    also: For most of our single story homes we use ground ladders depending on pitch.

  5. #5
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    Smile

    Our tactics match everthing here, but we have added another item to the mix. We purchase ABC powder from a local fire extinguisher company by the five gallon bucket. We then put it in sandwich size plastic bags and carry it on the rigs. Right before we start to use the chain we release one of the bags down the chimney to know down the flames or fire.

  6. #6
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    Our tactics are pretty similar to those stated.

    Access = We have an aerial but it does not get called unless it is a working house fire or is in the part of the district covered by that particular station.

    Suppression = We have a chimney pail that has a lid and handle. Inside we carry a small trowel, some flare looking things that you put in fires and it "snuffs" it out. Also included are ziploc baggies of baking soda/powder that we drop from up on the roof into the fire and the heat causes the bags to burst dropping the powder. Works pretty good.

    Safety = We typically try to ladder the house and get on top to look down from above as soon as we get the damper closed. We ALWAYS use a roof ladder to work off of and if it is snowing, we NEVER get off it.

    Property Conservation = We use floor runners where we walk and place a tarp where we pull the stuff out of the flu or the fire box.
    Firefighter/EMT-B
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  7. #7
    Forum Member VinnieB's Avatar
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    Default Good one...!

    Access?? Tower Ladder, most chiminies in my vollie area can be reached.

    Suppression??1 line stretched to the front door....members check attic space, and a water can to the fireplace, also 2 steel pails, and a med shovel.
    The roof men will drop ABC dry Chem...(power right from the pale, not pressurized), and a 30' flail is sent down knocking the obstruction out. Once fire is extingished from above....members removed the debris via the pales...to the driveway.....

    Safety?? The basic procedures are followed....I have lashed ladders to the house....on those icy nights.....ALSO...members on the roof use welders gloves (gauntlet) in leu of thier FF'g ones. The Chain usually gets too hot and the heat gases coming out of the stack are rather hot.....

    Property conservation issues?? (ie. tarps and hall runners) We place a tarp down (heavy canvas, salvage tarp) in the area of the fireplace, and the walkway out.....also....we have disasmbled stove pipes, b/c they were way to hot to keep in the house.....

    Resident education??We give them material on what they should do after the fire. But during fire prevention week.....we hold a chimney saftey class.

  8. #8
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    Hi all,

    We get to the roof via our Scope if accessible or use ground ladders. Remove the cap if installed.

    Remove all material from fireplace using a small, metal garbage can with a handle. We place a fire resistant blanket on the floor in front of the fireplace prior to starting.

    We will set up our electric PPV in the closest exterior doorway, close off all interior doors and run the fan on a slow speed to "lightly” pressurize the interior of the house. This will force all the "stuff" that flakes off the interior of the chimney to be blown up the chimney.

    We drop a chain down from the top.

    If the "fire" is still burning, we will use an "ABC" extinguisher by dis-charging it into the "throat" of the fireplace. With the PPV fan running, the powder flows up the chimney, coats the interior of the chimney and extinguishes the fire. No mess in the house.

    Advise the homeowner not to use the fireplace until the chimney is properly cleaned and/or repaired.

    Hope this helps.

    Be safe,

    Captain Lou
    "GOTFOAM?"

  9. #9
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    We get to the roof via our Scope if accessible or use ground ladders. Remove the cap if installed.
    I thought you just had DJ scale the chimney?????

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber SeavilleFire's Avatar
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    Question Extinguishment using PPV

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptLou
    We will set up our electric PPV in the closest exterior doorway, close off all interior doors and run the fan on a slow speed to "lightly” pressurize the interior of the house. This will force all the "stuff" that flakes off the interior of the chimney to be blown up the chimney.
    Does your department stretch a line to standby with when you use positive pressure? I know you use a dry chem extinguisher to put the chimney fire out but have you ever had any problems with fire extension into the walls or attic space through cracks when the chimney is "charged"?

  11. #11
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    Try and get a hold of Steve Dude or any of the other Brits. I was visiting a station in England and they had a simple hose and hand pump from WWII that they sent down the chimney - simple and effective. Given the number of chimmneys I think those guys would be the best to ask!
    -I have learned people will forget what you said,
    -People will forget what you did,
    -But people will never forget how you made them feel!

  12. #12
    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    not tryring to sass you ............but also do a search ..........
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
    RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

  13. #13
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    SeavilleFire,

    We do not automatically stretch a line for a chimney fire unless a fire is found or apparent. We use our TIC to check all floors, including the attic and basement in the area of the chimney for possible fire. The crew that is checking for fire does have a water extinguisher with them. If a fire is suspected or located in a wall or ceiling, the PPV is not started and then a line is stretched.

    Hope this helps,

    Capt Lou
    "GOT FOAM?"

  14. #14
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    A couple of other tricks we use here in the Northeast:

    Snowballs: make a couple when the white stuff is around and drop them in. They melt when they get to the hot spots.

    Cast Iron pan. Many people who utilize wood stoves put a pan of water on top to add moisture to the air. When they'll fit (not aluminum) we empty the stove contents and put a pan full on top of a bed of coals. Close up the stove and let the steam go to work. Not only does the fire go out, but the creosote falls off the inside of the flue.

  15. #15
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    We only use our own ladders, a lot of home owners have their own here but we do not use them.

    If it's still burning when we get there we drop baggies of dry chem followed by the chain. that's usally it, however we have had some where the TIC comes out for a look, we have had chimneys seal them selves off with fire still burning under, then we shoot the dry chem up from the bottom. We also have a 2 to 3 foot piece of cutting edge from a snow plow attached to a chain. We have used it to break through the seal.
    Yes it's crude, but a last resort, When she's going good with smoke under pressure coming out through the bricks and starting to back up in the house,
    we drop it.

  16. #16
    Forum Member backsteprescue123's Avatar
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    Another question, for chimney/fireplace fires, are you not supposed to use water on the fire. I heard somewhere that it could cause the bricks to practically explode out at you.

    Any answers?
    ------------------------------------
    These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations I am affiliated with.
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  17. #17
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    We actually just went over chimney fires today. We are told a can is comming to the roof. If you put alot of water in the chimney quickly ( even slowly) that can cause serious trouble. A can used the right way wont cause much of a problem ( what ive been told i havent seen it yet)

    Quote Originally Posted by RFRDxplorer
    Another question, for chimney/fireplace fires, are you not supposed to use water on the fire. I heard somewhere that it could cause the bricks to practically explode out at you.

    Any answers?
    Last edited by thegeek187; 10-25-2005 at 12:31 AM.

  18. #18
    Forum Member fftrainer's Avatar
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    One thing I forgot...

    For the roof guy, make sure you have some basic handtools with you for removing the chimney cap if there is one.

    Oh and I did search for "Chimney Fires" and found 537 matches with about 475 of them being WOF Daily Reports and several discussions of tools and apparatus. I did find one good match however since the season is starting up here I wanted the discussion back on the table and I wanted it to focus on tactics which it has to date.

    Thanks for the contributions from those who posted. Its high time we cover some of these basic things vs. the 1 time in 10 years conflageration that MIGHT happen once in your career and your probably not going to be prepared for it anyway.

  19. #19
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    access: one primary 24' extension ladder on the side of the house the wind is blowing on. one back up 24' ladder on the other side or next to the other extension ladder. 16' roof ladder next to the chimney. if the chimney is too tall then we use the aerial.

    supression: 40' of chain with a ring on the end and 1/2" chains on the end. curled up into a bucket and a roller stand to roll the chains on to make the job easier. 2 men on the roof, one pulling the chains one feeding the chains back into the bucket. interior crew with a bucket and shovel to shovel in the embers into the bucket to be brought outside and put out.

    safety: one man locked off on the primary extension ladder with a charged matydale incase sparks end up in the gutter. extra high head gloves over your structural gloves to take the glowing red chains. ALWAYS scba, we treat them like structure fires. and the more ladders the better.

    property conservation: slavage covers in the basements or base of the chimney and over other things that could get dirty. few people as possible moving in and out of the interior to avoid tracking crap in. a thermal camera to check for extension in the walls and cracks in the chimney.

    home owner edu: if you dont get your chimney professionally cleaned you may start another fire. we arent in the business of chimney cleaning. get it cleaned, before you use it. get it cleaned on a regular basis.

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