Wood stove blow back causes? claims two lives

   / Wood stove blow back causes? claims two lives #1  


Super Member
May 12, 2013
Last Monday, next town over from me, two lives lost, yesterday at the funeral, the wife stated in tears, while she was upstairs, her husband went down cellar to get the wood stove going, she heard a bang, ran down cellar, her husband was hollering for her to get water...... end result was not good. The wife said that when her husband opened the wood stove door, it blew back with a bang and hot coals blew out on some paper.....fire marshal says, must of use an accelerant, the wife claims he didn't, so if no accelerant, what would cause such a blow back that bad? Ive open my stove door in time's past and got a little puff and that was it.

I knew the family, so it was quite a shock, so hopefully some lessons will be learned.........Deut 30:19

Father, son killed, mother injured after fire destroys Washington home | WGME
   / Wood stove blow back causes? claims two lives #2  
Wow! Never heard of this.

I've had backdraft when the chimney cools down. Never a back blast like this.
   / Wood stove blow back causes? claims two lives #3  
Wood gas ( Hydrogen ), during the fuel shortage during WWII people were installing wood gas generators on their trucks and tractors.

When this fellow opened the door on the stove a sudden inrush of oxygen set off the fatal event the hot coals triggered the explosion, the stove and chimney would have been filled with explosive gas.

Hydrogen is lighter than air so not only would have the firebox filled with gas but also the chimney. As an after thought it would have been prudent to have first opened the draft for a couple of minuted to draw the explosive hydrogen gas out and up the stack.

The first video is 1 of 7

Wood Gas Crash Course 1 of 7 (Gasification 201) woodgasifierplans.com - YouTube

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   / Wood stove blow back causes? claims two lives #4  
Based on your description and the news report we can extrapolate a few things. No one was killed by an explosion. The door was opened and either some type of accelerant or by another freak event paper near the stove caught fire. The 53yo was alert and oriented which is why he was asking for water to put the paper fire out. The son, who was upstairs, fell through the floor and died.

The unfortunate truth is a lot of people die trying to extinguish a fire or running back into a fire to get a possession. From the limited information it sounds like the 53yo was overcome trying to fight the fire in the basement and the son had some type of physical limitation that would prevent him from leaving the house or he was also overcome by the smoke and fire trying to reenter or stay in the structure.

Given how fast two adult men were overcome and ultimately perished in structure I understand why a FM may consider accelerants. They may have used the basement for storage of some other highly flammable products and or had a large volume of combustibles.
   / Wood stove blow back causes? claims two lives #5  
The boy had Autism. Sad story.
I wonder what "getting the wood stove going" actually meant? Was it dead cold, re kindling, or adding wood? Sound's like a flashback on a smoldering fire when the door was opened.
   / Wood stove blow back causes? claims two lives #6  
I'd agree that accelerant was used. Not that rather or not it was changes the end result.
   / Wood stove blow back causes? claims two lives #8  
I suppose it's always possible that there was a natural gas accumulation in the basement, either from a small gas leak or some sort of sewer gas back up. A flashback from the stove, enhanced by a gas accumulation could have been quite energetic. I have seen old kerosene stoves flash back, and my Mother lost some of her eyelashes. My Smoker will flashback occasionally and I have to wear long gloves.
   / Wood stove blow back causes? claims two lives #9  
But it wasn't the blast that caused the critical injuries, but the ensuing fire, right? I guess, keeping one of those old water fire extinguishers handy might not be a bad idea.

I've mentioned before the story about some elderly friends of mine. He threw the contents of a waste basket in the fireplace, containing a purse size (empty) hairspray bottle. Blew the fireplace doors off showing their immaculate living room and furniture with coals. No injuries, only damage.
   / Wood stove blow back causes? claims two lives #10  
I have a stove in my basement and occasionally when the wind is blowing it drafts so hard it puffs smoke out the front when doing a startup. I can usually close the damper a bit and fix it or just close the air intake on the front of the stove for a few minutes.

I always assumed it drafted so good because of being down in the basement and having 30+ ft of pipe. Maybe this was similar.