No one was injured tonight when a chimney fire occurred at 74 Laurel Hill Road in Branford according to Branford Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief Ron Mullen.
Crews from Branford – North Branford provided back-up – responded to the approximate 2,000-sqaure-foot newer colonial on Laurel Hill Road just after 6 p.m. on Monday night when the homeowner reported the fire.
Branford’s 105-foot ladder truck, Rescue 1, Engine 2 and Engine 9 responded to the scene. North Branford’s tanker truck carrying 3,000 gallons of water was also called in, reported Mullen because the home was set far back from the road. North Branford’s water supply, however, was not needed.
When Branford arrived, firefighters discovered a fire burning within the wood frame of the home’s chimney. Crews were able to extinguish the fire using about 80 feet of the ladder to reach the roof and from the inside top floor of the home, said Mullen. And just in the nick of time, he added. “Another minute or two it would have been in the attic.”
Mullen said he believes the chimney’s rain cap may have recently blown off or have been knocked off becoming a catalyst for the fire. A chimney pipe, which serves the home’s fireplace, slid down inside the wooden box, said Mullen, and embers or sparks ignited the wood structure shortly after the resident lit a fire this evening. This type of wood-enclosed chimney, said Mullen, is an alternative to common masonry chimneys. These chimneys have a higher fire risk, he added.
The homeowner discovered the fire when he heard loud crackling and went outside to investigate, said Mullen. He found smoke coming from the body of the chimney, not through the proper vent. The homeowner tried to extinguish the fire himself unsuccessfully before crews arrived.
No one was injured reported Mullen and though the chimney will need to be fixed and the piping replaced, the homeowners will be able to stay in the house this evening, said Mullen.
Chimney fires are not uncommon this time of year, said Mullen.
“Obviously when you get the first cold snap you see and increase with calls for heating equipment,” he said.
Residents who use their fireplaces should get them inspected before every winter, said Mullen.