Fireplace Safety

Want to know what happens when you put wood into a gas log fireplace? See pics below.

This damage was a result of a property management company telling a renter they could add wood to the gas log fire place. This could not be further from the truth! The flue pipe for the gas fire place is designed for the heat from the gas logs only. With the addition of the wood, additional heat load was added. This created an overheating situation that could not be vented out quick enough. The heat build up eventually caused the wood framing and firestop to start smoldering and eventually catch fire. It needs to be said that different fireplace fuels require different types of ventilation. The fire department confirmed this upon questioning.

On a side note, no smoke detectors were working at the time of the fire. The house was full of smoke by the time the renters were aware of the problem. They weren’t aware that a pending disaster was about to happen. Fortunately the husband opened the attic access stairs and smoke started entering the home. The family called 911 and the firefighters arrived shortly and put the fire out before it got out of hand.

Lesson to be learned; never operate a fireplace unless you know EXACTLY what you are doing. The consequences could be disastrous. Remember, burn only quality, seasoned hardwoods in your wood burning fireplace. Let the gas logs do their job as designed. Stay warm this winter and enjoy the ambiance and nostalgia of your fireplace.

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