The quick actions of an off-duty public works employee saved a Colwood home from further damage after a chimney fire broke out yesterday evening near the intersection of Pickford and Kelly Roads.
The Colwood fire department received the call around 7 p.m. Acting Fire Chief John Cassidy said by the time he arrived on the scene, flames were shooting three feet out the top of the chimney. The occupants of the single-family home had already vacated the building, he added.
Fire crews extinguished what they could from inside the house, then applied water down the chimney to put it out completely, Cassidy said. “Overall it was a routine chimney fire.”
The fire was discovered by a public works employee who was walking by and noticed flames leaping out of the home’s chimney. He quickly informed the residents, who got out shortly afterward.
The chimney in the home is attached to an airtight stove, which made it difficult for the occupants to realize a fire was present.
“With an open fireplace you would hear the intake of air and the rush of air that would signal a chimney fire, but you don’t usually get that with an airtight stove,” Cassidy noted.
Without the bystander’s actions, he added, the minimal damage to the chimney could have been far worse or spread to the roof. “He probably made the difference.”
Cassidy reminded residents that chimney fires are common at this time of year. Chimneys should be cleaned at least once a year, he said, more frequently if used regularly. As well, he cautioned against putting too many pieces of wood at a time on a fire, or using wood that hasn’t been properly dried.