Bird’s nest sparks St. Charles chimney fire

Missouri

ST. CHARLES, Mo. – A bird’s nest in the chimney of a St. Charles caused a house fire over the weekend, resulting in tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage.

Fire crews were sent to the home of Misty Wallace on Sunday after she reported seeing smoke coming from her attic.

Wallace said she was enjoying a fire inside her home on a cold Sunday afternoon. She went outside to grab more firewood and noticed something wasn’t right.

“When I went out there I noticed there was some low-hanging smoke in my backyard,” she said. “So then I went out the front door and looked at my chimney. I saw a few flames, not from the chimney, but actually in the rafters.”

Firefighters responded just after 3:30 p.m. and were able to put the flames out.

Once the flames were extinguished, investigators determined that a bird’s nest located in the flue chase had caught fire and extended into the attic space.

“It was surreal. There was so many fire trucks,” she said.

There was major damage to Wallace’s home. She’ll be staying in a hotel for at least the next month.

“Each year, several homes in the City of St. Charles are severely damaged due to birds or squirrels building nests near or in chimney flues,” said St. Charles City Fire Chief George Sheetst.

The fire resulted in a combined $80,000 in damage to the structure and its contents, according to the fire investigators.

The St. Charles City Fire Department recommends that you have your fireplace or wood stove flue checked for damage or obstructions each year.

Wallace had her chimney cleaned last spring. Deputy Fire Chief Steve Brown said she did everything right; it’s just one of those things that happened.

“If she hadn’t gone outside to get more wood, the fire could have been a lot worse,” Brown said.

Fortunately, no injuries were reported and Wallace escaped with her pet cat. She has strong praise for the St. Charles Fire Department.

“They were extremely nice. Very helpful,” she said. “And I really do appreciate it and I have to give a shout out to them. They were amazing.”

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