DELARANEWS

Craig

Craig Miller, W8CR

Count Your Blessings

It always happens to somebody else but you don’t think much about it. That fender-bender you pass along the road “Poor saps” you think to yourself, “glad it wasn’t me”. Or the medical emergency squad passing through the intersection with siren blaring and lights flashing, “Somebody’s having a bad day, glad it isn’t me”. Or hearing about someone falling victim to identity fraud, having their bank account cleaned out “Wow, glad that wasn’t me!”. You go through life relatively unscathed, counting your blessings, feeling lucky, but some days your luck runs out but there are still blessings that can be found. Twelve years ago, we found our dream house. A cute cedar-sided Cape Cod tucked back in the trees, well off the road, pond in front, ravine and creek in back, plenty of room for antennas. In the center of the house is a beautiful stone fireplace and chimney stretching up through the vaulted ceiling. The best part, there is a flue opening in the basement designed for a woodstove. Years earlier, I invested in a Woodstock soapstone wood stove that is capable of heating a whole house. It burns 24/7 during the heating season, knocking hundreds of dollars off the yearly heating bill. Plus, it’s great exercise: cutting, splitting and stacking wood all year long. Sure beats going to a gym and wearing a stupid mask. (Manufacturer photo) After moving in, I constructed the radio shack and office mere feet away from the stove making for a cozy warm environment to hunker down during the long winter nights. This also allowed me to keep a close eye on the stove, keeping it stoked and in working order. Last week, about 4:00 in the afternoon, I heard a few pops coming from the stove area, something I’ve never heard before. The rushing sound of air being sucked through stove inlet – this is a sign of a chimney fire. I shut down the stove, rushed outside to view the chimney top and sure enough a dark grey plume was belching from the south flue. Yup, we have a burner. Not quite time to panic but a major concern nonetheless. Coming back in the house, I notice smoke was emitting from the floor of the loft where the chimney passed through – not good! I then looked up in the attic which was also filling with smoke – double not good! The smoke was a sure sign of a flame breech into the wood structure of the house. My heart beating fast, I punch up 911 on the phone, the number you hope to never, ever have to dial. I considered cutting into the ceiling drywall to investigate why smoke was pouring out where the ceiling met the chimney, but thought better for fear of admitting fresh air into the space allowing any flame to be energized. I rolled up rugs and pitched them outside where the firemen would have to pass and opened up windows to let the smoke out and pulled down the smoke detectors that were squawking away. Grabbed my laptops and headed out the door. Delaware EMS was just pulling in the drive and I could hear sirens of the rest of the cavalry approaching. The EMS crew quized me about any pets or other people inside (“No” and “no”). Concord township responded first, with Scioto soon behind. Chimney fires are from creosote buildup but I clean the chimneys regularly and monitor for clues, like poor draft and clogging of the flue cap screen. Possibly something was missed but the hotspot was at a bend in the flue halfway up. The fire crew busted a hole into the chimney to access the flame. My theory there was missing mortar or a crack at the bend with years of creosote building up behind the clay flue against the cinder block that finally caught. The blessings: -Flame never breeched the masonry, just smoke through fine cracks. -We have excellent fire fighting crews in the area who know their stuff and went the extra mile to minimize loss by doing simple things like removing artwork from the walls and moving furniture avoiding damage. -Nobody got hurt. -We still have a place to live. -If the event occurred two days later, snow would be on the roof, hindering topside efforts. -Two hours later, it would have been dark. -1/2 hour later, I may have been at Costco, and not heard the popping or seen the smoke. And the biggest blessing of all: The insurance was paid in full! If this is the worse event that happens in 2021 or our life, for that matter, I consider ourselves very blessed. A big THANK YOU to those that reached out to us after learning of the fire offering assistance and kind words, that’s a big blessing!
DELARANews

Craig

Craig Miller, W8CR

Count Your Blessings

It always happens to somebody else but you don’t think much about it. That fender-bender you pass along the road “Poor saps” you think to yourself, “glad it wasn’t me”. Or the medical emergency squad passing through the intersection with siren blaring and lights flashing, “Somebody’s having a bad day, glad it isn’t me”. Or hearing about someone falling victim to identity fraud, having their bank account cleaned out “Wow, glad that wasn’t me!”. You go through life relatively unscathed, counting your blessings, feeling lucky, but some days your luck runs out but there are still blessings that can be found. Twelve years ago, we found our dream house. A cute cedar-sided Cape Cod tucked back in the trees, well off the road, pond in front, ravine and creek in back, plenty of room for antennas. In the center of the house is a beautiful stone fireplace and chimney stretching up through the vaulted ceiling. The best part, there is a flue opening in the basement designed for a woodstove. Years earlier, I invested in a Woodstock soapstone wood stove that is capable of heating a whole house. It burns 24/7 during the heating season, knocking hundreds of dollars off the yearly heating bill. Plus, it’s great exercise: cutting, splitting and stacking wood all year long. Sure beats going to a gym and wearing a stupid mask. (Manufacturer photo) After moving in, I constructed the radio shack and office mere feet away from the stove making for a cozy warm environment to hunker down during the long winter nights. This also allowed me to keep a close eye on the stove, keeping it stoked and in working order. Last week, about 4:00 in the afternoon, I heard a few pops coming from the stove area, something I’ve never heard before. The rushing sound of air being sucked through stove inlet – this is a sign of a chimney fire. I shut down the stove, rushed outside to view the chimney top and sure enough a dark grey plume was belching from the south flue. Yup, we have a burner. Not quite time to panic but a major concern nonetheless. Coming back in the house, I notice smoke was emitting from the floor of the loft where the chimney passed through – not good! I then looked up in the attic which was also filling with smoke – double not good! The smoke was a sure sign of a flame breech into the wood structure of the house. My heart beating fast, I punch up 911 on the phone, the number you hope to never, ever have to dial. I considered cutting into the ceiling drywall to investigate why smoke was pouring out where the ceiling met the chimney, but thought better for fear of admitting fresh air into the space allowing any flame to be energized. I rolled up rugs and pitched them outside where the firemen would have to pass and opened up windows to let the smoke out and pulled down the smoke detectors that were squawking away. Grabbed my laptops and headed out the door. Delaware EMS was just pulling in the drive and I could hear sirens of the rest of the cavalry approaching. The EMS crew quized me about any pets or other people inside (“No” and “no”). Concord township responded first, with Scioto soon behind. Chimney fires are from creosote buildup but I clean the chimneys regularly and monitor for clues, like poor draft and clogging of the flue cap screen. Possibly something was missed but the hotspot was at a bend in the flue halfway up. The fire crew busted a hole into the chimney to access the flame. My theory there was missing mortar or a crack at the bend with years of creosote building up behind the clay flue against the cinder block that finally caught. The blessings: -Flame never breeched the masonry, just smoke through fine cracks. -We have excellent fire fighting crews in the area who know their stuff and went the extra mile to minimize loss by doing simple things like removing artwork from the walls and moving furniture avoiding damage. -Nobody got hurt. -We still have a place to live. -If the event occurred two days later, snow would be on the roof, hindering topside efforts. -Two hours later, it would have been dark. -1/2 hour later, I may have been at Costco, and not heard the popping or seen the smoke. And the biggest blessing of all: The insurance was paid in full! If this is the worse event that happens in 2021 or our life, for that matter, I consider ourselves very blessed. A big THANK YOU to those that reached out to us after learning of the fire offering assistance and kind words, that’s a big blessing!