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NVFD Handles First Fire of 2020, Residents and Home Rescued Successfully

Over twenty fire fighters went out in -20° temperatures to tackle a blaze in the Icy View subdivision, Monday morning. Chief of the Nome Volunteer Fire Department (NVFD), Jim West, Jr. says that marked their first fire response for 2020.

No injuries were reported, and the residence is still standing. West thinks the fire was likely caused by an improperly installed wood stove at the home on Teakettle Drive. He says the metalbestos pipe didn’t have enough clearance to the ceiling because there was no ceiling support jack installed to offer proper insulation.

“What happens is [all of the hot gases] go up through the chimney, and the surrounding things up in the ceiling: insulation. And after time, it got so hot it caught on fire and started to smolder.”

The crew responded to 702 Teakettle Drive at approximately 5:13 A.M Monday morning. and worked for about three hours, using four trucks to extinguish the flames. At approximately 22° below zero, West says they had to work fast but did not have the extra challenge of frozen equipment.

A fire engine from the Nome Volunteer Fire Department is parked on the snow-covered Division. Nome volunteer fire responded to a truck fire in the parking lot of Old St. Joe's.
One of four fire engines that responded to a fire in Icy View Monday. Photo: Zoe Grueskin/KNOM (2018)

With such cold temperatures though, West warns people to take pre-cautions, especially with fireplaces and woodstoves, when warming up their homes.

“I’m expecting more and more chimney fires. Creosote does build up in the chimney stack and that shuts off everything and the air flow and gas flow so it presents a problem. But if you maintain your stove stack it will last a long time and provide a good heat source.”

In order to keep yourself safe during the cold winter, the NVFD fire chief recommends maintaining your heating equipment.

Image at top: Nome Volunteer Fire Department responds to a fire at 702 Teakettle Drive. Photo from Davis Hovey, KNOM (2020).