The chimney is no place to get stuck; man lucky to be rescued after falling into flue

A photo of the chimney that rescuers had to access to free a stuck man.  Photo by @ydrcom
A photo of the chimney that rescuers had to access to free a stuck man. Photo by @ydrcom

We’ve said it before.  It seems to happen every season. Someone assumes that the chimney is easily accessible – a shortcut, if you will, from the exterior to the interior of a home. They learn the hard way. Lacking the mystical powers of Santa, they get stuck.

It happens more than you think.

In this latest situation, members of the York County (Pennsylvania) Sheriff’s Office were attempting to serve warrants on June 12, 2015, when a man took off running along the building’s roof, according to reports from the York Daily Record. The man either jumped in or fell “deep down the chimney.”

Here’s how it was reported:

It took firefighters more than an hour to rescue the unidentified man, who was stuck about 20 to 25 feet from the top. He was finally freed when rescuers went into the home, knocked out a wall, and — accessing a tenant’s closet — dismantled the chimney brick-by-brick.

“It was literally about a 12-inch by 12-inch hole, so it was very tedious in the fact that if we punctured through the mortar and the brick, we risked penetrating trauma to him,” Deputy Fire Chief Chad Deardorff told media.

We’ve written about this issue earlier this year. See ‘Chimney boy’ illustrates unknowns of the flue and note that a similar rescue of a woman stuck in a chimney occurred in California in May.

stuckinchimney

Keep in mind that the chimney flue’s job is to convey what’s being burned in the fireplace or wood stove. It’s one component of a complex system. The idea is that the customer gets cozy warmth, while the smoke and whatever else goes up and out.

Birds and squirrels (even snakes) are small enough to access the flue if the chimney lacks a cap. [See our story, “Animal in my chimney.”]

A CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep is qualified to talk to you about your chimney, and ways to keep everything out – from creatures to ‘climbers’. You can find a sweep by zip code in your community.


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