A rural Grand Forks man may have saved his house and home by dousing a chimney fire on Wednesday, Jan. 20.
Dep. Fire Chief Stephane Dionne said Grand Forks Fire/Rescue was called out to the fire on Gibbs Creek Road shortly after 10 a.m. The fire was out by the time crews arrived 10 minutes later, largely to the homeowner’s quick thinking.
Noticing a build up of smoke coming from his chimney, the man dumped a litre of water into the fireplace, unleashing a blast of steam that extinguished the flames. Dionne said the fire was likely caused by a build up of creosote inside the chimney’s flue, which he likened to a heart attack brought on by hardening arteries.
“A chimney is like an artery. If there’s build up, it gets clogged.”
Creosote is a flammable viscous residue that can accumulate through the burning softwood, he said.
Dionne is advising homeowners to clean their chimneys twice a year, especially in the fall. As an added precaution, Dionne said it’s always best to keep a one-litre bottle of water near a stove or fire place. Dousing a fireplace beneath a chimney fire will rapidly bring down the temperature inside a burning flue, he said.