Friday, February 24, 2012

Chimney fire doused in Hailey

Creosote buildup deemed probable culprit


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

The Hailey Fire Department responded with two trucks to a chimney fire early Wednesday morning at 2831 Butterfly Drive in Woodside subdivision. The fire was only smoldering by the time fire crews arrived, but it could have become much worse had they not been called to the scene.

"Within an hour or two, if no one had been home and no one had called us, it could have been a full-on structure fire," said Hailey Fire Chief Mike Chapman.

Wood River Fire & Rescue also responded with one truck. A Bellevue Fire Department truck was mobilized on standby.

Chapman said chimney fires usually begin when creosote buildup in the wall of the chimney catches fire, sending flames up to 10 feet out of an uncapped chimney.

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"It can sound like a jet engine in the house. And the fire in the fireplace gets really big," Chapman said.

Chapman said using well-seasoned wood (one year for hardwoods, and two years for softwoods like pine) will reduce the risk of a chimney fire.

Chapman said homeowners should inspect chimneys for creosote buildup after each cord of wood is burned in the fireplace or wood stove.

The Hailey Fire Department has loaner chimney brushes for homeowners who are interested in cleaning their own chimney.

"We loan them out for free, but only to people who are qualified to perform the job," Chapman said.

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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