Last night was one of the scariest nights of my life. Actually it was the early hours of the morning. We could have died. Let me start from the beginning.
We have a wood burning fireplace in the livingroom. It has vents above it and our mantle is above the vents. The blower also blows through various vents on the main floor to heat the house. We have central heating which we also use but the fireplace heats better and is more economical.
There is a wall thermostat for the blowers. If it gets to the temp you set it on, the blowers turn off. When the blowers turn off, and the fireplace is blazing hot, too much heat escapes the lone vent under the mantle. I turned the thermostat down last night because I was too hot and what I should have done was close the vents. I didn't realize that it got so damn hot. My husband didn't notice my ignorance and we went to bed.
I took some Tylenol Sinus before bed and woke up at 3 or so to take another plus an Advil pm.
At some point I remember smelling smoke and was so groggy I assumed it was a dream and went back to sleep. Last week our fireplace had been smoking badly because of a load of wood that was too sappy; we just had the chimney sweep out to clean it.
This fact occured to me and I sat bolt upright and woke Mr. Funny mere seconds before the upstairs smoke alarm went crazy.
My throat and eyes started burning and he ran downstairs while I opened a window in our room.
My dog Molly was sneezing like crazy and the other 2 were freaking out so I took them down to let them out.
My husband told me to come in the livingroom.
No, the fireplace wasn't smoking.
The mantle was. It was smoldering and was thisclose to catching fire. From the heat off of the vents.
And the flatscreen Plasma tv above the mantle was melting. Melting.
We pulled the tv down, ripped off the mantle and threw it out in the snow and opened all the windows and doors to clear the smoke while I ran upstairs to wake Little One. His door stays closed at night and his room stays cool because he doesn't like all that heat in his room at night. His room was clear and cool and he had no idea that the smoke alarm (which was STILL screaming) was going off right outside his room.
He went down to the basement (smoke rises, mom) with the dogs until we got the house aired out.
It could have been worse.
I don't know how long it takes to die from smoke inhalation but our house was filled with smoke and my eyes, nose, throat and lungs were burning.
My stupidity could have cost us our lives.
We finally went to bed around 6am and I cried for at least 2 hours.
I woke up at 10am and took some picts of the mess.
We are fine. Dogs are fine. I love the mantle so I am hoping to have it fixed. The tv is dead.
Mr. Funny said "I wanted the bigger tv anyway, so now I can get it"
I think I will let him have any tv he wants.
Because I could have killed him, and all.
Here is the fireplace vent, minus the mantle and tv. You can see the posts where the mantle once sat.
The bottom of the mantle.
The part that sits against the brick.
The tv. RIP