Bartlett Crematory Chimney Catches Fire

August 27, 2010
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A Bartlett funeral home and crematory has reopened one day after the chimney over its crematory caught fire.

The incident took place at 12:28 p.m. Saturday at the Countryside Funeral Home, 950 S. Bartlett Road. The first firefighters reached the scene at 12:30 p.m. and found heavy smoke pouring from the chimney.

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Bartlett Fire Protection District officials say the fire was caused by excessive heat buildup inside the chimney chase, causing wood material from inside the chase to ignite.

No injuries were reported. Damage was estimated at $100,000.

One of the people who reported the fire was an off-duty firefighter, who spotted the fire from a nearby Jewel, said Bartlett Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Dave Misner.

The time of day worked in the funeral home’s favor, since it would have been more difficult to detect the fire at night. The fire was confined to the chimney chase with a minor intrusion into the attic area, according to a fire district news release.

The blaze was extinguished in 37 minutes, but firefighters spent more than three hours on the scene. Thirty-seven firefighters were called to the fire, with four engines, two trucks and three medic units.

The funeral home’s owner, Marcus Jaeger, said there was no funeral in progress when the fire broke out and they were able to reopen Sunday.

“We’re open. We have a visitation going on now,” Jaeger said Sunday afternoon.

Jaeger credited a restoration company that was on the scene with charcoal filters with a rapid cleanup.

“Restoration companies are, like, instantaneous. These guys were here (only) minutes afterward,” Jaeger said. “Everything is set. It is nicer than yesterday at this time.”

The funeral home had just completed preventive maintenance on its equipment and had just rebuilt the stack on the crematory, Jaeger added.

“There was something in the stack,” he said. “We’re not going to cremate for a couple of days. We’re going to put in a couple more safeguards.”

Jaeger praised the firefighters for their efforts.

“We have been here 15 years. That crematory has cremated 5,000 bodies without ever any kind of a problem,” he said. “We have just got to quadruple ensure that nothing happens again.”

Source: Daily Herald

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