Friday, December 29, 2017

Wax fireplace log misuse likely cause of apartment complex fire

A chimney fire on December 16, 2016 in Harrisonville, Missouri spread to six buildings and left 27 people homeless.

Firefighters were initially called to building 2205 at Twin Oaks Apartments on the afternoon of the 16th when a tenant had a chimney fire after burning a compressed wax log. The fire department left the scene, and shortly afterwards neighbors noticed smoke coming from the roof, which then erupted in flames. The fire had escaped the chimney and spread to nearby combustible roofing.

The fire spread to five buildings and forced 59 people to flee their homes. It took hours for the fire department to put the fires out. One building was destroyed, and five others were damaged. No statements have been issued regarding the cost of the damages.

The Midwest Chimney Safety Council recommends that all chimneys and fireplaces have regular annual maintenance completed by a professional CSIA Certified chimney sweep. Creosote is highly flammable and when ignited by a spark can create a fire throughout the flue which can spread to the roof or nearby combustible framing.

Directions on compressed logs state that after placing a log on a grate, to light the paper it is enclosed in, and not to poke the log. Poking can cause a flare up or fireball, which can ignite creosote in the flue. The MCSC recommends that people closely follow directions when burning wax logs or an uncontrollable fire can result. The MCSC recommends never burning anything in a fireplace or wood stove other than dry cordwood.

Contact Marge Padgitt, MCSC president at 816-461-3665 for more information.  


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