What Is Stuck In Your Chimney?
Is Something Strange Stuck in Your Chimney?
The holiday season is just around the corner, and children everywhere will soon be writing letters to Santa Claus. Their thoughts will naturally go to the wonder of Santa sliding down chimneys to deliver presents. Part of the magic of Christmas is that neither Santa nor his elves ever get stuck. But it’s a good idea to check the chimney before St. Nick’s arrival because lots of unexpected things have been found jammed in chimneys.
Many burglars looking for ways to get inside the homes of the wealthy have tried getting in Santa-style and ended up getting stuck. What people often don’t realize is that chimneys are very narrow and only a small child can typically fit. A teenager from Atlanta, Georgia, learned this lesson the hard way. He tried sneaking into a house through the chimney and got wedged in. He was stuck for 10 hours before his screams were finally heard. The police were called to investigate, and before long the police officers were helping the teen get out of the chimney. They wasted no time escorting him to jail.
A Stash of Cash
In Bradford of the United Kingdom, police found the largest seizure of criminal cash in the city’s history on December 23, 2008; and it was hidden in a chimney. Ill-gotten gains amounting to the U.S. equivalent of $1.5 million were stashed in a conman’s chimney. The money had been acquired through fraud, and the man went to prison for his crimes.
A Stuck Duck
It’s possible for birds to get stuck in your chimney, and that is what happened recently in Santa Fe, Texas. A homeowner could hear that a duck was in his chimney, and he lit a fire, thinking the fowl would exit through the chimney top. But the plan backfired because the house filled with smoke. Police officers and firefighters checked the chimney and saw that a wing was hanging out of the opened chimney damper. A firefighter reached up the chimney, grabbed the duck, and pulled it out through the fireplace. The fowl was taken outside, and it flew away.
A Dead Body
Earlier this year in Derby, Britain, staff members of a solicitors firm noticed a bad odor and a fly infestation in an unused part of the building. It was assumed that a pigeon had probably died in the chimney, and pest control workers were contacted. When the exterminators arrived, they quickly discovered that a dead body was wedged in the chimney. After some police work, it was determined that the deceased was a serial burglar who had gotten stuck and died in his attempt to enter the building.
A Dead Cat
Throughout Australia, it was a custom of early settlers to hide a dead cat or a shoe in their chimneys in order to ward off evil spirits. Many believe the odd custom originated in Rome and was eventually practiced in Britain before catching on down under. There has fortunately been no evidence that the superstition was held by citizens of the U.S.
A Letter to Santa
On a much lighter note, an authentic 100-year-old letter to Santa was discovered in a chimney in Dublin, Ireland. The letter suffered some burn damage but was otherwise in remarkably good condition. The letter from two children included a list of toys and treats and even some illustrations. The children closed Santa’s letter by extending wishes for good luck.
Have you had your chimney inspected this year? The National Fire Protection Association recommends annual inspections as a safety measure and also because sometimes you just can’t tell what you’ll find in there. Contact our professional chimney sweeps today to schedule a chimney cleaning.
Chimney Solutions, Inc. 1155 McFarland 400 Drive, Alpharetta GA 30004 Office 770-255-1300 / Toll Free 877-697-9337