Firefighters save most of Bentley log home (photo gallery)

A fire that started in a chimney in a Bentley-area home brought fire departments from Bentley, Rimbey and Sylvan Lake on Saturday night.

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A fire that started in a chimney in a Bentley-area home brought fire departments from Bentley, Rimbey and Sylvan Lake on Saturday night.

Bentley firefighters received the call just before 6 p.m. on Saturday night. The fire was at a large log home, along Range Road 1-2, around two km north of Bentley.

Homeowner Jan Drost said his wife called him and told him there were sparks coming from the chimney and he told her not to worry, but then she phoned back a couple minutes later and told him to come.

By the time he arrived, they could see some flames and they immediately called firefighters.

“It originally started in a chimney and it has spread up into the roof,” said Bentley Fire Chief Craig Colgrave.

“It’s a timber-frame style roof. We managed to stop it at the burning of the ridge line only.”

In a log-frame house, the ridge line is the biggest log is at the top and where the roof rests on it at the top.

Colgrave said there was water and smoke damage in other areas of the house, but the fire was contained to the chimney chase, which is the big stone box that covers the actual steel flues of the chimneys and heaters, and the ridge line.

“There was good response from the fire department,” Drost said. “The crew were really good.”

Fire crews were at the blaze from shortly before 6 p.m. until 9 p.m., with three engines and three tenders, as well as around 30 firefighters.

Drost said he believed the flames had likely smouldered for quite a bit before they began to shoot out of the chimney.

Colgrave said the cause has not been determined but the fire originated in either the fire place, the flues or the chimney chase.

He said the cause will require investigation.

Colgrave wasn’t able to speak to the cost of the damage.

He said it will depend on whether the log members are structurally sound.

He said with 90 per cent of chimney fires, firefighters can take a carbon dioxide extinguisher up the flue and put it out, but when the fires escape the flue they can be a nightmare to deal with.

He said the family easily could have lost the house or the roof of the home.

Drost and his family moved into the custom-built log home in 1999. He lives there with his wife and two of his five children.

“At least there were no lives lost and nobody got hurt,” Drost said.

“Most of the house is still there. It’s not as bad as we thought it was, but the living room is damaged pretty heavily,” Drost said. “I think we caught it on time.”

He hopes to know more about the cause and when they can fix the damage later in the week.

The family is able to stay in the home.

sobrien@bprda.wpengine.com