Posted by: yelvertonfirestation | October 10, 2011

Fire Call, 7th of October, Chimney Fire, Buckland Monochorum.

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At 20:50 on the 7th of October, Yelverton appliance was called to a chimney fire at Buckland Monochorum. On arrival the crew found a neighbour had doused the fire in the grate and the fire in the chimney was either out or nearly out. The crew used the chimney rods and stirrup pump to confirm the fire was actually out and the thermal imaging camera to check for hot spots. Two things of note occurred at the incident, one, we noticed one of the smoke alarms had been disabled and two, the chimney hadn’t been swept this year. I suspect the smoke alarm had been disabled because of the wood burner “smeaching” smoke back into the room when the wind was from a particular direction. This is simply remedied by fitting a heat alarm instead of a smoke alarm.

The occupier assured me the chimney was usually swept every year, they just hadn’t got around to it yet, I’m sure it will be swept shortly. If you have a wood burner you are probably getting ready to use it regularly if you aren’t already. Having the chimney swept is a good way to prevent chimney fires, along with burning well seasoned, low sap wood. If you have a chimney fire call the fire service. You can slow the fire down by sprinkling water on the fire in the grate which creates steam and damps the fire in the chimney. Be careful, water expands by 1000 fold when it turns to steam. If you put too much water on you could seriously scald yourself, a light sprinkling is sufficient. I use a “dustpan and brush” brush, soaked in water and then shake the water from the brush onto the fire in the grate and that’s plenty.

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