This happened last December, but a house exploded in Aurora, Colorado from a “back draft” in the attic. The house fire originally started, they think, from a flue defect or plug. Three firefighters were in the attic trying to choke the fire out when the backdraft occurred.
A backdraft is explosive. It happens when an oxygen deprived situation has a rapid re-introduction of oxygen which causes the gases to combust—a really big explosion. The force of this attic backdraft caused the walls of the house to bulge out and the roof to lift. The firefighters were injured and taken to a local hospital, but thank goodness no one was killed.
But, it’s a real life example of the dangers of an indoor wood fireplace. I know getting your chimney cleaned is a hassle and a lot of $$$, but not as much as rebuilding your house after an explosion. Make sure your flue and chimney are free of debris and build up before you start a fire in your fireplace.
Another option is to get an electric or fuel fireplace which provides heating to your home (though, granted, not the full heat you can get from burning logs), but then you don’t have to worry about a clear chimney or house fire. They’re pretty cheap and simple to use, if you’re looking for an alternative.
For further details about this incident, click here.
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