Chimney fire calls crews to quick action

A chimney fire threatened a Rossland household last week, but was contained to the attic by local fire crews.

A chimney fire threatened a Rossland household last week, but thanks to the quick response of local firefighters, it was stopped at the attic.

The emergency call was received at 10:43 p.m. and the fire crews were there within 10 minutes.

Members of the Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue had to be scrambled from Rossland, Warfield and Trail.

By 12:29 a.m. the fire was under control.

Regional fire chief Terry Martin said the fire began in the chimney and extended into the attic space, where it was then contained.

“The homeowners had their wood stove stoked up for the night and around 10:30, the wife noticed or heard some crackling noise,” Martin said. “When they went to investigate, the fire was coming through the ceiling to the exterior roof.”

Martin said it was a small fire so the homeowners tried to extinguish it with a dry chemical fire extinguisher, but were unsuccessful. At the same time they called 911 for help.

The fire department arrived — eight members from Rossland, seven from Warfield and three from Trail — and were able to contain the fire to the area right around the chimney where it exits the roof, with little smoke or water damage to the rest of the house.

“There is enough damage on the house itself that they’re going to have substantial repairs, because it’s on the roof,” Martin said. “We had to cut a few holes because the fire was extending through the roof portion itself. It was contained to that area and the folks are being looked after by their insurance company.”

The fire crew had to get on the roof by ladder and that’s where they cut the holes around the chimney. They then accessed the roof from inside, because there was a space of about eight to ten inches between the exterior roof and the ceiling on the inside that the fire was travelling along.

“So we had to get to and make sure it wasn’t moving any further,” he said.

Martin said the fire was accidental and was likely caused by sparks dripping down the roof.

“It was a cedar shake roof which started the fire,” he added. “So it was probably burning for some time before the folks noticed it, because the wife heard the crackling and then they investigated it and saw the little bit of flame coming through the ceiling into the interior of the house.”