Wednesday, March 4, 2009

We're back and fire

We got power back about 30 minutes ago. I learned a lot about where we need alternatives during this. It was 45 degrees in the house last night! Hubby is opposed to using the fireplace for a few reasons, he is really sensitive to smoke, even when we go to visit people burning wood it bothers him. And he has known a few people whose houses burned down because of chimney fires.

He was convinced to light the fire last night if we didn't have power back, but yesterday afternoon, our neighbor's house caught on fire! From a chimney fire. The whole living room and master bedroom burned and the fire got into the attic and spread through the whole top of the house. He's going to need a new roof and is going to have to gut the inside of the house and rebuild. He just finished building the house 2 weeks ago and moved in 1 week ago. Now they are going to be out for a few months while they rebuild. Turns out another neighbor's house burned down 15 years ago from a chimney fire. So out of 6 houses on our road, 2 have burned due to chimney fires. I'll never convince him to use the fireplace now. A pellet stove may be an option, or we're talking kerosene heaters as a back up.

Our well is 600 feet deep, so a hand pump won't work. We may get a generator so that we have water when we lose power. We do have lots of water stored now.

It was really scary yesterday. Logan and I were out and were on our way home. We were behind a few fire trucks and didn't think much about it until they turned onto our road. Knowing there are only 6 houses on our road we were scared. My first thought was the older neighbor had a heart attack, but the trucks went past the 3 houses at the top of the road and headed back to the 3 at the end, one of which is ours. As we went over the hill, I saw smoke coming from the right side of the road. There are only 2 houses on the right, ours and the new one our neighbor just built. My heart stopped! We got a little further up the road and I could finally see our house and it was fine. Then I looked past our house and saw the neighbors house on fire and 6 fire trucks at it. With the power out they couldn't use his well, so they had tanker trucks to put it out. It took about an hour, but they got it totally out. He's in shock as you can imagine.

The house is a wreck since I couldn't do dishes and I had to shower at the Y today. But we are fine and things should be back to normal soon. I believe we will be getting the goats this evening. I need to call the woman, her road was totally undrivable yesterday and I didn't want to get them if we didn't have power. Maybe tonight! I'll post pictures of the snow soon.


Jennifer said...

I am so sorry about your neighbors house. I would have been scared to death it was my house too following those fire trucks like that! I hope your power is back on soon!

Deb said...

I'm glad your power is back and things will be getting back to normal for you all.
House fires are horrifying. I lost my house to a fire when my oldest son was in 3rd grade. Our dog woke me up in the middle of the night - he saved our lives! We have two wood stoves, but we installed metal bestos chimneys -more money but no worries about chimney fires. You can use those even with pellet stoves. You might want to look into them. They are easier to install than block chimneys as well.

Good luck - can't wait to see your goat photos.

MeadowLark said...

Glad you're safe, sad to hear about the neighbors.

I worry about chimney fires and argue with Husband every year about the need to pay for a professional cleaning.

Glenda said...

Oh, that's so sad about your neighbor's house :(.

Color me clueless, but how does a chimney fire start in a brand-spanking new chimney? I always thought those happened in chimneys that had not been cleaned and had build-up in them. (We're in Texas and have never used the chimney in our house.)

Claire said...

How awful for your neighbor - I'm so sad to hear it. I think he might have a potential lawsuit to file if he had a builder. Someone I work with had the same thing happen and they hadn't built her chimney with proper clearance (to code). There really is no reason that a brand new chimney should catch on fire. The chimney work should be covered by the builder unless he did it all himself. There is a reason for the code clearances required, and sometimes builders try to cut corners and do it cheaper. Terrible thing to do when people's lives are involved.

Gail said...

How scary to see emergency vehicles and not know where they are going.

Do these people clean their chimneys every year? Keosote builds up and starts chimney fires. That is why we clean every year before we build a fire.

Also if you have the a professional check the whole chimney and make sure the mortar is good.

But again if your honey is allergic to smoke, it may do better to avoid it all together.

Glad you are up and running.

gail said...

Just so glad you are all okay and hope things get back to normal soon.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Gosh Christy! What a nightmare! I'm glad your house was ok, albet freezing cold last night. Brr!

I don't blame hubby for feeling the way he does, especially after what has happened. I'm sensitive to wood smoke, too. As you may remember I became very sick in November when at someone's house for several hours. Their fireplace emitted such an intense smoky smell and feel in the air that I got a migraine and was nauseus and sick and even ended up in the hospital from complications.

I personally don't like wood burning fireplaces either, but they aren't the only thing that can cause fires in a home.

When we lived in SC, our across-the-street neighbor's house burned down when their hot water heater shorted out. They lost everything.

The biggest reasons for chimney fires, though is lack of maintenance or improper installation.
Whatever you decide to use for alternative heating just be sure to have it inspected before use and to maintain it every year.

Be safe my friend. I'm glad you got your power back and that your goaties will be coming home soon.


Anonymous said...

Wow, you have had quite a week. I hope you have a peaceful weekend and that things get back to normal for you.

linda m said...

Glad to hear you are okay. Hope things get back to normal soon. I agree with Glenda - how does a fire start in a brand new chimney? Who didn't do what correctly? Anxious to see pictures of the snow and the new goats.

Anonymous said...

Wow girl, there's been alot going on with you hasn't there? Glad to hear your neighbor is safe, and so sorry to hear about his house.

Anonymous said...

It is awful about your neighbor's house and fire.

When we lived in the Athens area years ago, we had a 6 inch snow. That was about 20 years ago, so it doesn't happen very often.
It is bad to be with power. That doesn't happen often either, here.
Thank goodness.
I am glad you all got through it and hope your neighbor gets rebuilt soon.

Wendy said...

Wowee! You've been having lots of adventures! All that snow must have been quite a shock for you.

Glad to hear you guys are okay, though, and that no one was hurt in your neighbor's fire. That sucks, though.

I get concerned about chimney fires, too, especially since we've started using the woodstove as our primary heat source (and just for the record, I probably wouldn't be as eager to light a fireplace as I am to use the woodstove. With the woodstove, the fire is contained in that little box with a locking handle and the intensity of the fire can be controlled with the little lever underneath ;). I do have someone come and clean the chimney every year or two. I had someone come and clean the furnace every couple of years and pump the septic tank, too.

CeeCee said...

Oh my goodness! Your poor neighbor. I wonder what caught on fire in his chimney? Usually it is older homes that have never had their chimney cleaned when that happened.
I would have been terrified coming around your corner, just as you were. Glad your place was safe.

Kelly said...

Wow that had to be very scary driving down the road and even though I dont wish ill on the neighbor, certainly glad it wasnt your house! I would say you will never convince him to light that fire for sure now... pellet stove it is. Get some good goat pics! :) Hugs, Kelly

SwingCat123 said...

So scary! I'm glad that you guys are ok and that your neighbors we not hurt.
I love wood burning fireplaces but my grandfather had a pelet stove put in his new house because of health concerns and easier upkeep (no lugging wood at 80)and he loved it. It put out a similar penetrating heat that felt right on a cold night but was a lot less work.

warren said...

We had a neighbor's house burn from a chimney fire when I was a kid...very scary! Gotta take care of the chimney!

Pamela said...

So very sorry for your neighbor's fire.

One thing I was wondering....with so many chimney fires in that area, is it at possible that people are burning pine in their fireplaces? It's a big no-no. The way the pine tars build up in the chimney it can catch fire very easily.

If they aren't knowingly burning pine, could it be that they are buying wood from the same source and perhaps the source is not being diligent enough about not selling pine?

To me, this seems to be a major reason for chimney fires in new construction.

Again, so sorry for your neighbors.

Killi said...

45 degrees? That's what my house is & has been for months! Glad you've got your power back on We keep getting snow, then Spring comes, then it snows again!

Killi said...

Russian Dachi have the best chimney designs ~ not straight up, but snaking along & back a wall with removable bricks for cleaning

Anonymous said...

if smoke bothers your hubby thogh I don't think kerosene heaters are the answer as they are super stinky.

Trebs said...

Hi Christy!
Sounds crazy. Glad you guys are doing well. We crotched and vaccinated the sheep week before last & I thought of you and Logan. We have 30 girls lambing this year. My personal advice is don't sdd too many animals and things at once. Basically we add a thing or two a year now, this year it was the calves, last year turkies and a bigger gartden, one year it was bees and the orchard, and so forth. Each thing builds more confidence and if you aren't overwhelmed, you can decide what you like and eat/ditch the rest.