Hot Water Baseboard Heaters Cause Fires
In the summertime, it’s not uncommon to see a family sitting around a campfire or enjoying some time outdoors. But what happens when they’re done? They leave their home and head off into the woods to enjoy nature. And then they forget about their homes forever.
When they return home, they often find that their houses have been destroyed by fire. If they live in a rural area, they may never even hear about the fire because it doesn’t travel far before burning itself out.
This is what happened in Kennebunk, Maine in the fall of 1949. Several families left their homes for the weekend, forgetting that they had lit fires in their homes to combat the Fall chill. They would find their homes burnt down to the foundations.
The most famous case is that of the Thomas family. They were vacationing in Cape Cod when they learned that their house had burnt down, taking all their valuables with it. There was some suspicion that the blaze was no accident, and the fire department even launched an investigation, but no evidence could be found to prove foul play.
The cause of the fire? The family’s wood-burning stove, which they had lit to take the chill off the house before going on their vacation. A fallen log from the fire had smouldered in the stove while the family was away, finally going up in flames and engulfing not just the house, but a dozen others in Kennebunk.
The fire claimed the lives of six people – two children, their grandmother, a cousin, a family friend, and the family dog – making it one of the worst tragedies in Kennebunk’s history. It also led to a movement to outlaw the use of wood-burning stoves, which most families had relied on before central heating and other modern technology had been developed.
There are still a few families living amongst the ruins of old Kennebunk, but they tend to be more reclusive and less social than others in the area. The tragedy of the fire and its causes still live on in the local folklore.
The Kennebunk Fire Department recommends that all families keep a fire extinguisher on hand in case of an accident, as well as ensuring that it’s ABC-class, or phosphorus-free.
As well, the use of open flames in homes should be avoided as much as possible.
This is Robyn Banks reporting for CKNB, Kennebunk, Maine.
How To Arrange Furniture Around A Woodstove
If you live in a colder climate, chances are you’ve considered getting a wood-burning stove to warm your home. If you have, there are a few things to keep in mind as to where you place the stove and where you place furniture in relation to the stove.
The stove should never be located anywhere that could cause a fire hazard. This means placing it at least six feet from drapes, carpets or anything else that could possibly ignite. If you have wooden flooring, at least a foot should be between the stove and the floor.
Some people, especially those with families, like to place the stove in the center of the room. This is not recommended for safety reasons. The seat of a wood stove gets extremely hot.
Placing the stove in the center of the room forces people to walk around it, which means they’ll have to often walk close to the stove and risk getting burned.
Also, it is quite easy for a small child to try and climb up the front of the stove and fall inside it. Placing the stove in a corner of the room eliminates these hazards.
Finally, it is safest to choose a place for your stove that has a hard floor, like wood or concrete. If you place the stove on a thick rug or a grass mat, the floor the stove is sitting on can easily catch fire.
You should also arrange your furniture around the stove so that no one has to walk through another person’s shadow to avoid the heat of the stove. It is important to maintain an open space around the stove so that people don’t get too hot and have to move away.
It is also important not to block air flow to the stove. Never place cabinets, furniture or anything else that could block the flow of air around or above the stove. A single sheet of newspaper placed infront of the stove can increase the air flow by up to 15%.
If you have any valuables, such as antiques, it is best to keep them as far away from the stove as you can. The high heat from the stove can damage these items.
If you would like to place your furniture in specific arrangements around the stove, you may want to draw a floor plan and ask for help from friends or family members.
I hope some of this information is useful to you.
Thank you for using Hardwick Heating and Plumbing.
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