Friday night fires both started in flues

by Kate Evans

Area firefighters responded to two separate fires on Friday night that both started in flues.  Crews dealt with icy road conditions as they responded to the fires.

Northwoods Drive fire

The fire call for a structure fire at Northwoods Drive near Hedgesville came in to Morgan County 911 Dispatch Center around 11:49 p.m. on January 7, said Berkeley Springs Volunteer Fire Company Chief James Steiner, who was in command of both fire scenes.  Northwoods Drive is located off Clone Run Road across from Pleasant View Elementary.

When firefighters arrived at the Northwoods Drive fire scene, a 20 by 30 foot outbuilding located at the rear of the home was fully involved with flames showing. The fire was started by a flue fire in the outbuilding’s wood stove, Steiner said.

The house had some heat damage from the flames, but the fire didn’t get into the house.  The fire melted some siding on the side of the house and broke a couple of windows, but there was no damage inside the home, Steiner said.

Steiner said they had the fire under control within 15 minutes. No woods or other structures were endangered. There were no injuries.

Units from Berkeley Springs, Hedgesville, Great Cacapon, Hancock and Bedington Volunteer Fire Companies responded to the fire scene, along with Morgan County Emergency Medical Services.

South Laurel Avenue fire

Another structure fire on took place earlier on Friday evening.  The fire call came into Morgan County 911 Dispatch Center at 10:20 p.m. for South Laurel Avenue, which is between Independence and Williams Streets above Harrison Ave.  Steiner said that it was basically a flue fire that caught the outside of the house on fire.

Steiner said they saw smoke and flames showing on the outside on arrival. It was a small fire and there was minimal damage.  They got the fire under control in five minutes or so.  There were no injuries.

Units from Berkeley Springs, Hancock and Great Cacapon Volunteer Fire Companies responded to the fire along with Morgan County Emergency Medical Services.

Flue, wood stove safety

This is the time of year when there are many flue fires.  Chief Steiner said he wanted to remind everyone to have their flues cleaned and inspected by trained professionals and for everyone to also watch where they dump their wood ashes.

Check your chimney flue for creosote periodically with a mirror and have it cleaned if it’s dirty.

Use a metal bucket with a tight lid for the safe disposal of wood stove ashes. Keep wood ashes in the metal bucket for at least 2-3 days before disposing of them unless putting them directly on snow or ice, Steiner advised.