Chimney fire destroys structure


From left, Gavin Brockway and Ralph Sanguez help make sure the fire is out in all directions at a mobile home fire in West Channel on Jan. 30.
— Angele Cano/NNSL photo

A building in West Channel was completely destroyed by a chimney fire last week.Firefighters were called to the fire around 12:15 p.m. on Jan. 30. By the time they reached the property at 139 Alaska Rd. at 12:30 p.m., the building was completely engulfed in fire.

There were no injuries, but firefighters had to work to keep the flames from spreading to trees and a fuel cache that lay close to the structure.

Fire Chief Ross Potter pinned the conflagration’s cause to a chimney fire.

It was a total write-off,” said Potter. “Upon our arrival, the building was totally involved from one end to the other, so there was no saving it.  We were only protecting exposures to the trees and a few drums of fuel and oil tanks. It could have been bad.”

The structure was a pre-1970s trailer with several additions built onto it.

A man, who was living in the trailer temporarily, managed to get most of his personal belongings outside before the building became fully engulfed. There was no insurance on the building, but there was no value attached to the structure.

Potter said chimney fires are of particular concern this time of year, noting there have been a few calls to respond to chimney fires already this season.

For that reason, he highly recommends people ensure their wood stoves and chimneys are properly serviced.

Because this trailer was mostly used for storage, the wood stove was not properly installed or maintained and that is what probably caused the fire,” said Potter. “Whether the fire was from an overheated pipe or chimney fire in the chimney that managed to catch the rafters, we can’t tell because there was too much damage.”

The temporary resident was in the trailer when the fire started, Potter said, noting the man luckily woke up when he smelled smoke and discovered exhaust billowing from the chimney area.

The fire was completely extinguished by 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 30.

There were 14 firefighters working in difficult -40 C conditions.

Potter said department members need to be diligent in the cold so they don’t suffer frostbite and pumps don’t freeze up.

— Angele Cano