Boone County Fire responds to flue fire Tuesday night

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 | 6:11 p.m. CDT; updated 11:00 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, March 16, 2011

COLUMBIA — The Boone County Fire Protection District responded to a flue fire at a Columbia home twice Tuesday night. 

The first call, from the residence at 4750 Akeman Bridge Road, was received at around 9:30 p.m, Boone County Fire Assistant Chief Doug Westhoff said. Boone County Fire responded to the call, and the fire was contained to the flue. Minimal damage was sustained. 

A flue is a type of pipe or stove insert used in the fireplace to circulate heat throughout a home. When smoke comes up from the fire, it travels up the flue, cools down, and leaves carbon particles that become sticky and can become attached to the walls of the flue, Westhoff said.

Due to the restricted air flow and the possibility of embers, a fire can sometimes occur in the flue pipe.  Typically, those who have experienced a flue fire will describe hearing a "roaring" noise, like air rushing through the pipe, prior to the fire, Westhoff said.

Another warning is the color of the pipe, which will often turn "cherry red," Westhoff said.

The residents of the home called a second time later that evening, at about 11:51 p.m., when they noticed a little bit of smoke, Westhoff said

"It was a unique situation," Westhoff said. 

Although Westhoff said it is unusual to receive two calls from the same residence in one night, he said the fire district always advises people to call again if they are suspicious a fire might not be completely controlled.

Although there are a number of factors that contribute to the possibility of a flue fire, Westhoff recommended, as a general rule, residents have their chimney and flue inspected by a professional before burning wood, as part of annual maintenance.

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