Good Morning! I just wanted to post some articles on fire safety. Fall is coming on fast so I just wanted to make sure you are getting those fireplaces, dryer vents and flues inspected. We have some great specials going on right now so just click on SPECIALS and fill out the contact info. and we will get you taken care of. Hope everyone has a great Thursday! Thanks! Malissa
, Kansas City Alternative Energy Examiner
August 24, 2009 –
Most chimney fires in flues serving wood-burning stoves, fireplace inserts, fireplaces and furnaces occur because of a lack of regular cleaning to remove creosote, which is the residue left behind by unburned fuel. The National Fire Protection Association recommends annual inspection and cleaning as necessary by a professionalchimney sweep. All wood produces creosote, even dry hardwoods.
If a chimney fire occurs, close the damper and doors (if possible, get out of the house, and call the fire department. DO NOT use the chimney until it has been inspected by a Certified Chimney Sweep. Note: Firemen are not trained in evaluating chimney damages. You can tell if a chimney fire is occurring if you hear a loud roaring or freight-train like sound or see flames or sparks coming from the exterior of the chimney at the top or sides, if chimney pipe turns red, or if the appliance suddenly stops drafting. However, most chimney fires occur without the homeowner’s knowledge while they are out of the room. Fire damage such as cracked flue liners and blown out mortar joints is usually found during a routine annual inspection by a professional chimney sweep, and these issues make the chimney a potential hazard.
Creosote comes in four forms: Stage 1 is a light dusty coating that comes off easily with brushes, State 2 is a harder and comes in larger pieces but still comes off with heavy brushing, Stage 3 is also known as glazed, baked -on or tar glaze creosote, which is the most flammable type and does not come off with brushes. Glazed creosote bakes on the flue walls and can only be removed by power cleaning with chains or wire brushes on a drill. Removal of this type of creosote is a difficult, time-consuming, and dangerous process, so the best thing to do is avoid the accumulation of Glazed creosote altogether by using proper woodburning habits and having the right chimney or flue for the appliance. The fourth type of creosote is burnt glazed creosote, which occurs when glazed creosote catches fiire and expands to ten times its original size. It has a honeycomb appearance and is very lightweight. Sometimes burnt creosote expands inside the flue, completely or partially choking off draft. This is why sudden smoking of an appliance is an idication of a chimney fire.
Always make sure the correct size flue liner or chimney is being used for the appliance. Open fireplace require large flues, woodburning inserts require very small stainless steel flue liners, and freestanding stoves need small stainless steel chimneys, or if connected to a masonry chimney, a small steel flue liner. The manufacturer of the stove will have information about the best flue size to use. NEVER install a woodburning stove insert into a fireplace with out a stainless steel flue liner. This is the most dangerous type of installation and should be avoided.
Here are some tips for safe wood-burning:
…most chimney fires occur without the homeowner’s knowledge while they are out of the room. Fire damage such as cracked flue liners and blown out mortar joints is usually found during a routine annual inspection by a professional chimney sweep.
Have the chimney checked annually (every 2 months during the heating season if used for the primary source of heat) and cleaned as necessary by a professional CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep (www.csia.org). The sweep will remove flammable creosote, bird nests, and dead animals, and look for holes and gaps between the flue liner sections, cracked flue tiles, unparged or damaged smoke chamber, correct construction of the chimney, clearances to combustibles, negative house pressure, stack effect, and more that most homeowners do not have the training to identify.
Follow operating instructions by the manufacturer (if applicable) to assure safe and efficient heating.
Keep combustible materials (including furniture) at least 3’ away from the front of the appliance.
A screen should be placed in front of open fireplaces to keep embers and sparks from popping out. This is required by code.
Place a child guard screen around stoves to keep children from getting burned.
Never use flammable liquids to start a fire—the fumes can ignite and explode. Use an approved gel, fatwood, or firestarter.
Remove flammable materials such as stockings from the mantel before starting a fire.
Use a metal container to transport ashes to the exterior of the home. Ashes can smolder for days and cause nearby combustibles to ignite.
Do not build large fires or long-burning fires in open fireplaces. Fireplaces are designed for small, ambient fires only, and are not heating devices. They are listed as “Decorative Appliances.” If you want to make your masonry fireplace energy efficient and a heating source, have a wood or gas fireplace insert installed by a professional.
Have a heavy duty stainless steel chimney cover installed to keep damaging rain, animals, and debris out of the chimney. Beware of cheap black steel covers that rust badly.
If you suddenly notice that draft stops while burning a stove, a chimney fire may have occurred which makes creosote expand to many times its size and chokes off the flue.
Fire Department confirms that a house fire that killed a dog in Greenwood last Saturday was caused by a build-up of lint in the dryer vent.
From SFD’s Fire Line:
The quick actions of Seattle firefighters prevented a house fire from spreading to nearby homes. On Saturday, June 25 at 6:30pm, a neighbor reported seeing smoke coming from the roof of a home located on the 200 block of North 90th Street. Engine 21 arrived within four minutes and began battling the fire in the one story wood framed home. With Engine 35 supplying water, the crew gained control of the fire in less than 10 minutes. The crews contained the flames to a back corner of the approximately 750 square-foot house. Firefighters from Engines’ 16, 24 and Ladder Trucks 5 and 8, assisted in knocking the entire fire down in less than half-an hour.
Investigators determined that lint built up in the vent system of the dryer started the fire. Damage to the home is estimated at 25-thousand dollars.
The National Fire Protection Administration (NFPA) estimates between 2003 and 2006, one out of every 23 home fires was caused by the dryers or washing machines. In 2006, the NFPA estimates firefighters responded to 17,700 fires caused by the household appliances. The leading cause of these fires according to NFPA is failure to clean the lint from the dryer. The NFPA recommends regular cleaning of the lint vents, making sure the air exhaust vent pipe and outdoor vent flap are not restricted.
Capt. R. Shakoor-Asadi of Fire Station 21 looks at the burned dryer where the fire started on June 25.
Dryer Fire Displaces Home Occupants – The Cincinnati Enquirer (4/5/2009)
CORRYVILLE, OH – Three adults have been displaced by a Saturday evening residential fire during which Cincinnati firefighters rescued a woman stuck on the porch roof of a three-story building. Officials said the fire was brought under control within 30 minutes. A clothes dryer caused the fire, according to investigators. Smoke detectors were present but not in use. Damage is estimated at $40,000 and no injuries were reported.
Clothes-dryer fire causes $100,000 in damage – By Alejandra Molina – The Orange County Register (3/30/2009)
RANCHO SANTA MARGARITE, CA – A clothes dryer caused a fire at a Rancho Santa Margarita apartment complex this morning, authorities said. The fire was reported at 8:15 am. About 20 firefighters responded to the fire in the laundry room area of the complex. The firefighters had it wrapped up by 10:25 a.m., Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Greg McKeown said. The fire caused an estimated $75,000 damage to the structure and $25,000 to the contents of the complex.
Family Survives Fire Thanks to Neighborhood Pit Bull – By Derek Kravitz – The Washington Post (3/29/2009)
ALEXANDRIA, VA – A barking pit bull alerted a family of five to a smoldering fire in the basement of an Alexandria townhouse this weekend, fire officials said. Jasmine, a young pit bull, began barking after a fire broke out shortly before 1 a.m. Saturday in the basement of a brick duplex. Smoke alarms sounded, but the family only heard the barking before emergency responders arrived. Firefighters discovered a fire inside a wall behind a washer and dryer, which had started in the dryer vent. Damage was estimated at $20,000.
Fire Damage – Battle Creek Enquirer (3/26/2009)
BATTLE CREEK, MI – Fire caused about $115,000 damage to the home of Renee Edwards at 95 N. Cedar Ave. in Battle Creek. The fire was reported to Battle Creek firefighters at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. The fire was blamed on a clothes dryer. No one was injured.
House Fire Cause Linked to Dryer – By Kevin Rollason – Winnipeg Free Press (3/21/2009)
BRIDGEWATER, NOVA SCOTIA – The cause of a house fire is linked to a dryer running while no one was home, the province’s Fire Marshal’s Office determined. Lint in a dryer pipe and a plastic vent hose were contributors, suggested Deputy Fire Marshal Derwin Swinemar, who determined the cause as accidental. The single-storey home had flames shooting through its roof when the first responding officer of the Italy Cross-Middlewood fire department arrived. Fire Chief Ron Whynot said the fire was too far advanced to save anything but despite the loss of the structure, firefighters did a credible job to get an intense blaze in hand in quick order.
House Destroyed After Fire – By Kevin Rollason – Winnipeg Free Press (3/21/2009)
WINNIPEG, MANITOBA – Four East St. Paul residents were injured earlier this morning when a fire broke out in the basement of their Henderson Highway home. East St. Paul Fire Chief Ray Riddolls said they suspect the cause of the fire was due to lint catching fire in the dryer or the dryer vent. Riddoll said the four residents were taken to hospital where they were treated and released. He said an adult woman suffered cuts from window glass when she escaped the burning home. The three other adult residents, two males and a female, were treated for smoke inhalation.
Neighbors Help Man Escape House Fire – By Andrea V. Hernandez – Columbus Ledger-Enquirer (3/15/2009)
COLUMBUS, GA – Neighbors helped a man with Down syndrome escape his Columbus home Saturday after it caught on fire. Around 9 a.m., a fire ignited in the Plantation Road home’s laundry room. “The dryer had caught on fire and caught the room on fire,” said Battalion Chief Terry Herring of Columbus Fire and Emergency Medical Services. The young man, who is in his 20s, was in the house at the time. Four fire trucks and one ambulance responded. Firefighters were able to put out the fire in about five minutes and no one was hurt. Herring estimated the house sustained about $10,000 worth of fire and smoke damage.
Extensive Damage Caused by Lint Fire – Santa Maria Times (3/6/2009)
GUADALUPE, CA – Lint that built up in a clothes dryer caused a house fire in Guadalupe on Thursday afternoon, Fire Chief Jack Owen Jr. said. Guadalupe firefighters, led by Capt. Richard Galindo, went to Surfbird Lane where they discovered a single-family home with heavy smoke showing from the garage and front door area, according to Owen. The house, which had about $30,000 in damages to the structure and $70,000 to the contents, is uninhabitable so the residents – two adults and two children – are staying with relatives, Owen said.
Dryer Suspected as Cause of Fire – By Cassie Foss – The Grand Rapids Press (3/3/2009)
TALLMADGE TOWNSHIP, MI – Fire investigators told owners of a spa damaged by a fire this morning that lint in a clothes dryer likely caused the blaze. Amy Glass was at the spa this morning and had been doing laundry. She started the dryer and left to go to her daughter’s home about a mile away. When she returned, the building was in flames. The insured building sustained extensive water and smoke damage. Fire crews were shoveling insulation from the attic this morning. Five departments responded to the fire.