We’ve now been to 2 chimney fires in under a month. Fortunately no one was hurt and no property was damaged. There was a common theme to both of our calls that is worth mentioning. That theme is a wood stove connected to a chimney with a horizontal pipe.
Any horizontal surface will collect stuff, whether it’s knick-knacks on a kitchen shelf or creosote in a chimney. It seems that in both cases the fire started near to the joint where the horizontal component of the stovepipe connected to the main chimney. The good news is that usually this stovepipe is relatively easy to clean. The bad news is that it is often forgotten when the rest of the chimney is cleaned.
If you have one of these setups, make sure that the elbows out of the wood stove get taken apart and thoroughly cleaned as part of your regular cleaning schedule. Also, if you have this type of setup, you will want to clean out the stove pipe more often than those with a strictly vertical chimney system.
If you should discover a chimney fire, throw 1 cup of water into the firebox, close the door and the damper on the stove. Then call 911, and leave the house. One cup of water will expand to 1500 cups of steam which can go a long way to cooling the fire without damaging the flue.