Sunday, December 20, 2015

Near Calamity of epic proportions!


Heat lamp fire in chicken coop.
The chicken coop caught on fire!!  I went outside just at first light to let the sheep out of the barn when I started to smell smoke. I looked over at the chicken coop  and saw smoke pouring out of it. I ran over to the coop in my tennis shoes, dress slacks and leather coat. I did check the door to see if it was hot before opening it. If it had been hot I would have had to just call 911.  It was cool so I opened the door. My heat lamp had been knocked down and was hanging three inches above the wood pellets. A two foot area was blackened and hot.  I immediately unplugged the heat lamp.  Surprisingly, the chickens looked alive.  They were clucking and throwing a fit but the outer chicken door had not opened up yet as it was still too dark.  I left the door and ran for a bucket of water, I had not gone ten feet when I realized I had left the door open and was now feeding the fire much needed oxygen.  I went back to shut the door and there were now flames shooting out of the floor of the coop.  I shut the door and ran for the old house to retrieve a five gallon bucket, along the way I found an old metal watering can I filled also.  I used the old metal watering can to put out the fire.  I then raked all the hot coals and wood pellets outside the coop onto the ground.  Once I had those cleaned out I went and got my sawzall and cut all the burned wood out of the coop.  I then took a small axe and whacked on the wood floor to get all the hot charred wood out of the floor.  Once all that was done I soaked the area in water again.  Once I was certain it was all out I went inside and told the family of our near miss.  Sarah wanted to know why I did not get a picture of the coop with smoke coming out the door.  I told her that there is a time for photography and a time for fire fighting and they don't always coincide.  Priorities in life are a necessity. 
I had been wanting to update my baby area but it was working for me so I didn't really see a need.  This is a good reason to make some improvements.  The first one is going to be lining the area with concrete board.  No more fire hazards after that, and I will be screwing my heat lamp in place so it cannot be knocked down.  Funny thing is I unscrewed it two years ago, I used to have it permanently mounted on the wall so it could not fall.  I guess I should have left it that way.  I will also use some hardware cloth on inside so the little birds cannot get in and eat any of the food. 
Amazingly, no chickens were killed in the fire or from smoke inhalation.  They have started laying better!  I am getting way more eggs than I was prefire. 
Sawzall all burned material out of coop even though it was still hot.

floor of coop burned.

Outer wall of baby area.