Over the last few weeks the West Bradford Fire Co has been dispatched to two separate incidents for a Carbon Monoxide Alarm activation, on arrival at the incident we have spoken to the homeowner/occupant and they have advised their CO alarm has activated and they evacuated from the residence. Upon WBFC personnel entering the dwelling with our gas meters we have experienced very high levels of Carbon Monoxide gas on our meters and upon further investigation found that the occupant had a fire burning within their woodstove or fireplace and has allowed the fire to burn out. After they believe the fire has been out for some time they have closed the damper on the wood burning appliance. As we have discovered that the coals or embers will remain hot and still generate different by-products of incomplete combustion. This process of incomplete combustion will generate Carbon Monoxide which will fill the home with this deadly gas. We would recommend leaving your damper open until you have the time to clean out the fire box of ash/coals, making sure they are completely cooled off. Do not put your ash/coals in plastic containers, paper bags or cardboard boxes. We recommend placing them in a metal container such as a galvanized bucket and placing it outside away from your house and other combustible materials. Do not place you ash/coals in the trash can or trash-toter as it may still be hot and cause a fire or even when it is dumped into the refuse truck it could cause a fire there.
As always we recommend Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors throughout your home, and even in your place of business. Luckily the two incidents we responded to had working CO and smoke alarms.