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Chimney Fires

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Chimney Fires Chimney Fires Construction, Challenges Fire Control Best Practices Objectives Review different types of chimney construction Identifying lines vs ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Chimney Fires


1
Chimney Fires
Chimney Fires
  • Construction, Challenges
  • Fire Control Best Practices

2
Objectives
  • Review different types of chimney construction
  • Identifying lines vs. unlined flues
  • Understand fire spread characteristics of most
    common chimney types
  • Effective fire control practices

3
Chimney Construction
  • The chimney method of smoke removal has been
    around for centuries
  • Early man discovered the benefits of vertical
    draft methods in removing smoke from caves, huts,
    etc.

4
Chimney Construction (cont.)
  • Various means to construct vertical drafts
    (chimneys) used
  • Stone
  • Mud/sticks
  • Hollow logs
  • Bricks
  • Metal (modern)

5
Attachment Methods
  • Interlock wall stones with chimney stone
  • Free-standing
  • Wall logs interlocked in stone or brick
  • Metal ties to wall framing (20th century)
  • Metal bracing within wood framework (modern
    zero-clearance chimney piping)

6
Lined Flue
  • Inside of chimney construction contains flue
    pipe or lining that minimizes openings,
    joints, or crevices along vertical path of heat,
    smoke, embers

7
Metal Chimney Liner
8
Tile Chimney Liner
9
Liner Characteristics
  • Each type of liner has its benefits and
    drawbacks
  • Metal is expensive, but crack resistant and often
    installed in one piece top-to-bottom.
  • Most common sizes are 6- and 8- inch
  • Easy connection to wood/coal stoves
  • Can be routed through some twists and turns
  • Can retrofit old, unlined flues

10
Liner Characteristics (cont.)
  • Tile, or terra cotta, offer wider passages than
    metal and are less expensive than metal
  • Not used in retrofits or relining of existing
    flues
  • Susceptible to temperature extremes and settling
    of foundations, causing cracking
  • May consist of several joints

11
Zero-Clearance or Prefabricated Metal Chimney
Flues
  • Developed nearly 25 years ago to service the
    growing alternative heating market
  • Consist of multiple layers of stainless steel
    separated by fire-retardant insulation

12
Unlined Flues
  • Found in many homes built prior to 1930
  • May be of stone or brick construction

13
Unlined Flues (cont.)
14
Fire Spread Characteristics
15
Tile/Terra Cotta Liners
  • Cracks appearing over time and temperature
    extremes provide openings for hot ash/embers to
    exit the flue and contact adjacent combustible
    framing members
  • May also provide path into void spaces, carrying
    sparks into area containing combustibles (attic,
    behind knee wall)

16
Terra Cotta/Tile Liner (cont.)
  • Subject to degradation from rain, ice, snow
  • Mechanical damage from improper cleaning,
    previous fires
  • Damage introduced from exterior forces (wind,
    trees)

17
Metal Chimney Liners
  • May warp from extremes in temperature (burning
    stove too hot)
  • Improper attachment of flue sections

18
Metal Flues (cont.)
  • Joints may be open, allowing sparks and embers to
    escape into void and combustible spaces adjacent
    to chimney, permitting fire spread and slow
    detection of same.
  • Stainless steel tubular liners are used in older
    unlined retrofitting, often resulting in turns
    and twists permitting build up of creosote and
    animal nests.

19
Creosote Buildup
  • Creosote is a byproduct of INCOMPLETE combustion.
  • Adheres to tile, unlined, flexible metal, and
    joints in flue liners

20
Creosote (cont.)
  • Relatively cool temperatures in upper portion of
    flue condense products of combustion into
    potential time bombs on liners.
  • Can be minimized by burning proper fuels
    (seasoned wood) at proper temperature recommended
    by stove/fireplace manufacturer

21
Animal Nest in Chimney Flue
22
Retrofitting Unlined Flues
  • It is common to find older, unlined chimneys
    outfitted with new style flexible, stainless
    steel tubular liners
  • Often connect to wood stove or insert
  • May be placed in unlined flue surrounded by
    fire-resistant material such as a
    vermiculite/gypsum mix

23
Prefabricated Metal Chimneys
  • Have Class A fire rating and may be used inside
    of wooden box framing according to building codes
    and Underwriters Laboratories test results
  • Lock together in a twisting motion
  • Are NOT fire PROOF!!!

24
Identifying Fire Presence and Control Options
25
Caller Complaints
  • Hear persistent roaring sound from upper flue
    area
  • Smoke from chimney when no active fire in
    fireplace/ stove
  • Haze/smoke odor in upper floors of house and/or
    attic
  • Walls adjacent to chimney hot to touch

26
Fire Control Tactics
  • Thermal Imager A MUST!!!!
  • Get personnel ABOVE and BELOW fireplace/stove-chec
    k walls, floor space adjacent to flue--attic
  • Check flue clean out (if present)
  • Roof crew to check openings at top

27
Tactics (cont.)
  • Remove active fire from firebox
  • Closely monitor flue for active flames
  • Consider use of dry chemical extinguisher or
    chimney bombs (dry chem in plastic baggies
    dropped from top of chimney)
  • Pressurized water extinguisher and/or preconnect
    should be LAST RESORT

28
  • Once fire controlled, occupant must be directed
    to have licensed chimney sweep clean and inspect
    chimney PRIOR to ANY additional usage.
  • Officer should document this on NFIRS report.

29
Points to Consider
  • Successful control of chimney fires requires time
    and patience
  • Continual monitoring of all adjacent combustible
    areas required during operations
  • Older, unlined flues often contain structural
    framing members tying chimney to house

30
Other Important Considerations
  • EARLY laddering of roof
  • Use of chimney chains to clear flaming creosote
    (if available on scene)
  • Aggressive investigation of adjacent void spaces
  • Identification of lined vs. unlined flue

31
Summary
  • Firefighters should be familiar with the various
    chimney types
  • Understand particular hazards of each type of
    flue
  • Recognize signs of active fire situations in flue
    and execute proper control methods

32
Summary (cont.)
  • Make every attempt to control fire while
    minimizing damage to chimney/flue structure
  • Ensure safe operations when working in poor
    lighting and on wet/icy or steep roof pitches

33
  • Have a safe, happy, injury- and fire-safe holiday
    season!!!!!
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