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Chimney chase & top shroud fire case report: this article provides photos and description of a Moorpark CA chimney fire whose origin was an unsafe chimney top shroud. Remarkably the shroud bore a counterfeit UL listing label. A history of building fires traced to improper construction and installation of non-listed decorative chimney top shrouds has led to expert recommendations to improve building safety and reduce fire risks discussed further at CHIMNEY SHROUDS.
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Watch out: according to both Steve Werner  and to Dale Feb , some fireplace top shrouds or surrounds installed on some chimney chase tops may unsafe due to heat trapping at the chimney top. Such shrouds usually violate local and national building codes as well. The house fire illustrated by these photographs (provided by Mr. Werner) occurred in Moorpark CA [date, fire district, details needed] and was attributed to an un-listed and unsafe chimney top decorative shroud atop a wood framed fireplace chase.
[Click to enlarge any image]
Common causes of factory-built fireplace and chimney and chimney chase fires are the combination of a metal or factory-built fireplace or fire-box and chimney combined with a decorative chimney top cap or shroud that was installed over the manufacturer's spark arrestor and cap assembly. At below left you can see the remains of the un-listed chimney top, now on the ground after the building fire.
At CHIMNEY SHROUDS we noted reports of chimney & house fires traced to unsafe decorative shrouds installed atop wood chimney chases and factory-built metal chimneys. Baird (1991) reported on a number of chimney & house fires occurring in California from 1989 through the early 1990's and explained that all of the fires investigated occurred in chimney chases that had been equipped with decorative sheet metal "shrouds".
At below left you will note the very extensive roof and ceiling fire damage to the home where this fireplace shroud was installed. At below right the worker is using red paint to mark an unsafe chimney top termination [details needed].
Baird also reported on the reasons that un-listed chimney top shrouds were the cause of serious building fires and recommended a variety of steps to reduce the risk of future fires including using only listed chimney top shrouds and the inspection of both existing and new factory-built fireplace and chimney installations.
Baird concluded that "Failure to fabricate a chase flashing according to the manufacturer's instructions constitutes a violation of the Uniform Mechanical Code" and concluded that "... future installations must not include unlisted attachments to a listed [fireplace or chimney] assembly."
Building Code Citations for Decorative Chimney Top Shrouds
Fake or "counterfeit" UL listing label compared with a valid UL label for chimney top decorative shrouds
Below is an example of a valid chimney top shroud UL Listing Label from Chimney King
More examples of listed chimney top shrouds and proper valid UL listing labels for these products can be seen at CHIMNEY SHROUDS.
- Chimney fire & UL label photographs were provided by Stephen Werner General Manager Chimney King, LLC P.O. Box 8 Gurnee, IL 60031 Corporate (847) 244-8860 Fax (847) 244-8694 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about chimney fires traced to wood chimney chase construction errors, unsafe or un-listed chimney top shroud, & related fire hazards
Questions & answers or comments about Decorative Chimney Caps, Tops, Shrouds: installation, listing, building code approvals, inspection, fire safety hazards.
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