CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Chicopee firefighters were able to put out a dangerous chimney fire Monday night before it caused extensive damage to a century-old house in Chicopee Falls.
Acting Deputy Chicopee Fire Chief Wayne Lemay told 22News there were flames shooting out of the chimney at 356 Grove Street when his crews arrived at 7:00 p.m. Monday.
Deputy Lemay said the firefighters reached the chimney on a platform extended from a ladder truck. They extinguished the fire by pouring chemicals down the flue. He said water would have damaged the flue.
There was some smoke damage to the house, but the occupants will be able to stay there. Grove Street was closed to traffic for about an hour.
Deputy Lemay told 22News chimney fires develop when creosote builds up in the flue. “People stoke their fires in this very cold weather, and the fire ignites the creosote,” Lemay said. “On a cold night like this, the flue lights up, and Boom! It sounds like a freight train.”
The super-heated flue can transfer the heat or a leaked flame to surrounding wooden framing in the attic. In this scenario, a home could catch fire.
Deputy Lemay advises homeowners to have their chimney’s professionally cleaned twice per year to avoid chimney fires. Lemay said the Grove Street chimney hadn’t been cleaned in a year. The home was built in the late 1800’s, according to the owner. Lemay said older homes have flues made with a brick lining, which are more susceptible to leak flames to surrounding wood framework in a chimney fire. Modern flues are made from ceramic material.
Lemay said the cold weather caused problems retracting that platform ladder.