Just like the old expression “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Chimney fires can happen without anyone noticing them but that doesn’t mean they didn’t happen. And since they are very dangerous, I thought that it would be a good idea to dedicate this week’s blog to the subject. When we light a fire in our fireplace or wood stove, smoke vents from the chimney. But when you notice that something more than wood in the fireplace has ignited, there’s a good chance that you’re having a chimney fire.
Here are some of the other signs that you had a chimney fire; cracked flue tiles, some with chunks missing, your chimney cap has changed color, cracks in the masonry as well as smoke coming through the cracks etc… You’re also likely to hear loud cracking sounds from the chimney fire pulling oxygen into the chimney. You’ll also smell a strong burning odor or “hot” smell.
The danger of a chimney fire is that it destabilizes the chimney’s structure exposing the roof and the house to heat and flames. It’s common sense that the first call you’ll make is to the fire department. But your next call should be to a qualified chimney sweep such as a CSIA Chimney Sweep. A CSIA Chimney Sweep is qualified to inspect and repair a chimney that has been damaged by a chimney fire, need to conduct a Level 2 Inspection, at a minimum, following a chimney fire in order to protect your home from further fire damage.