Really really really should have left for warmer climes by now. Definitely should have left by yesterday. I would have avoided today's chimney fire.
Bright and early, I loaded up the basement woodstove. The piece of white birch I put in had a lot of loose bark, which took off like a torch, setting creosote in the chimney on fire. I knew right off I had a chimney fire. Gave it a blast with my 10 lb dry chemical fire extinguisher. Slowed it down but did not put it out. Emptied the wood and hot coals out of the stove and threw them in the snow outside. Gave the chimney another blast from the fire extinguisher. Still didn't quite put it out.
That's when I called the local volunteer Fire Department. It's embarrassing for a retired Firefighter to have to call the Fire Department. Would have been even more embarrassing to burn the house down.
The boys did a pretty decent job. A snow covered geodesic dome is pretty tricky to put ground ladders up on. I talked them through it. Sent them up the same way I use to clean my chimney. They were able to clean out the chimney and nobody fell off the roof.
Yeah . . . about that chimney cleaning. It really didn't look all that bad last time I checked. Thought that it would be fine until I came back from Florida in the spring. Of course, it wasn't. Our sudden blast of Arctic cold had me cranking up the woodstove to its max and that was part of the problem. I, of all people, should have known better.
The big basement woodstove will be retired for the rest of the winter. I'll really inspect and clean the chimney out good when I get back. Will definitely make a few changes before next heating season. In the mean time, it looks like my backup oil furnace will carry the load.
Really proud of the way my wife handled the whole thing. She's really good in an emergency. She grabbed our two laptop computers and her meds on the way out of the house. She had to sit in the truck out in the cold the whole time. When it was all over, she wasn't even mad. Stuff happens. She's a pearl beyond price. Not a complainer that one.