News

Chimney fire displaces Suquamish family

NKF&R Assistant Chief Wayne Kier explains how a fire spread from a fireplace chimney to char about 30 SF of a Suquamish rental home’s wall and roof on Saturday morning. - Michele Laboda / North Kitsap Fire & Rescue
NKF&R Assistant Chief Wayne Kier explains how a fire spread from a fireplace chimney to char about 30 SF of a Suquamish rental home’s wall and roof on Saturday morning.
— image credit: Michele Laboda / North Kitsap Fire & Rescue

SUQUAMISH – A family of four is temporarily displaced from their rental home here after a fire apparently extended outside the fireplace’s chimney to char parts of the structure, according to a North Kitsap Fire & Rescue news release.

NKF&R crews were originally called to the address for a chimney fire shortly after 9 a.m. on Jan. 21 after a neighbor found smoke coming from the home’s roof, called 911 and alerted the sleeping occupants of the house. While units were still enroute, additional information compelled dispatchers to upgrade the incident to a possible house fire and additional units from Poulsbo Fire Department as well as Bainbridge Island Fire Department were called to the scene.

Firefighters from NKF&R’s Suquamish station were on scene in just over four minutes, and found light smoke coming from the roof with fire inside the attic space. Accessing the fire required crews to cut into the attic space and to pull the ceiling down from around the fireplace. Damage was limited to those areas and no impacts from water or smoke.

A fire investigator from NKF&R examined the scene and determined that the fire likely resulted from heat escaping over time from the home’s very old chimney to slowly lower the ignition temperature of surrounding wooden structural materials. Officials believe that the fire had been smoldering, hidden in the walls and attic, for some time.

It’s recommended that all woodstove and fireplace chimneys be professionally cleaned and inspected annually. Certified chimney sweeps are skilled at detecting the kinds of problems that could lead to an incident such as this morning’s. It could have been much worse had it continued to burn undetected with the sleeping family inside, and firefighters credit the neighbor for getting them out while also ensuring crews were on their way.

While the two adults and two children do not have renters insurance, none of their possessions were damaged in the incident and the American Red Cross responded to the scene to provide them with emergency accommodations while repairs are made.  The homeowner is insured.

There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians.

 

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