Ants Set the Chimney on Fire

Lynsey Kitching

A chimney fire on Peace River Crescent took firefighters about one hour to exstinguish. The cause of the blaze was sawdust in the chimney created by Carpenter ants.


On Tues. Nov. 20, 2012 at around 6 p.m. the fire department was called out to a chimney fire on Peace River Crescent. By the time firefighters arrived the blaze had spread from the chimney into the living room wall and up into the attic. It was a home occupant who called in the fire.
Matt Treit, Fire Chief for Tumbler Ridge says there was a fire in the fireplace at the time the blaze started, however, the cause of the fire itself was rather unusual.
There were carpenter ants in the wall and they had been chewing up the wood into fine saw dusk. This saw dusk accumulated on top of the firebox up the fireplace. When the homeowners lit the fireplace for the first time in a long time, the sawdust caught fire and ignited.
Treit says, “When I first saw the wood I thought termites, but I called an exterminator and he said there are no termites up here, but carpenter ants are common.”
It took firefighters about an hour to put out the fire because they had to crawl around in the attic to make sure it was extinguished and to take out the chimney chase. The chimney chase is a decorative surrounding that covers the metal flue inside the chimney.