Unusual Nelson house fire a reminder to keep chimneys clean

The fire that took hold of a house in Washington Valley is thought to have started when embers were blown underneath the ...
MARION VAN DIJK/STUFF

The fire that took hold of a house in Washington Valley is thought to have started when embers were blown underneath the roof tiles.

An "unusual" Nelson house fire that possibly started after hot chimney debris blew under roof tiles is a reminder to keep chimneys clean, the Fire Service says. 

The Nelson Fire Service was called to a small fire in a ceiling about 7.30pm on Monday in Washington Valley. 

Senior station officer Steve Shackleton said the couple in the house were alerted to the fire in their office by a smoke alarm before they saw smoke seeping into the room from the ceiling. 

"When we got there, there was a little bit of flame ... burning above the ceiling between that and the roof."

Firefighters put out the fire with a garden hose and vented the house by opening doors and windows.

The fire left a hole in the ceiling and left the firefighters scratching their heads as to how it started. 

Shackleton said there was nothing obvious in the roof space that pointed to the cause, so they had concluded it started from outside. 

"What we're picking is something from the chimney landed on the roof tiles and had blown under the roof tiles."

He said it was "really unusual" and one of the first times he had seen that happen "in all my time in the fire service". Shackleton has been a firefighter for 42 years. 

It sent an important reminder for people to keep their chimneys clean, he said. 

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"It really is a message not to let too much soot and stuff accumulate in the flue.""

 

 - Stuff

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