The Darwin Awards

1999 At-Risk Survivor

At-Risk Survivors have misadventures that stop short of the ultimate sacrifice. Nevertheless we salute the spirit of their colossal blunders with an Honorable Mention. Better luck next time!

Chimney Safety
1999 At-Risk Survivor
Confirmed True by Darwin

(1999) A married couple wanted to keep their home fires burning, and decided to install a wood stove in their Granite Falls home. They figured it didn't take a rocket scientist to install this basic bit of heating hardware, so instead of hiring a professional, they brought the stove home and installed it themselves.

Jeremy Stocker has the inside story! "You faithfully represent the facts given in the Everett Herald, but I was a firefighter on both calls, and I can tell you the second call was definitely ARSON. It did not rekindle.

They even remembered to cut a hole through the ceiling for the chimney vent. Unfortunately they neglected to extend the chimney through the attic to the roof. Pleased with a job well done, they settled down to a cozy evening in front of the fire. The inevitable happened. The heat and sparks built up in the attic and set their home ablaze, providing an unexpected source of warmth from above.

Snohomish County firefighters extinguished the fire, and the couple returned to their home to console each other over their $8000 loss. But the fire was not quite out. Firefighters had failed to fully extinguish the fire, which started up again the next morning, burning the house to the ground. The husband and wife survived. © 1994 - 2020
Submitted by: John Stokes
Reference: The Daily Herald Co., Everett, Washington © 1994 - 2004

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