Remains of the day

The Smithsonian and The Daily Mail (UK) recently reported on yet another good reason to have your chimney swept/inspected annually. In November 2012, David Wilkes, of the Daily Mail (UK), reported on a carrier pigeon who had died en route to England. This dutiful creature was found 70 years after his death, still carrying a secret spy message, that even now remains undeliverable. (read why here)

“He had survived the perilous flight back from Nazi-occupied territory hundreds of miles away. Exhausted, the British ‘spy’ pigeon swooped down on a chimney in Surrey for a rest. And there, sadly, he fell off his perch. Perhaps overcome by fumes from the fire below, he died – with a vital coded message in a tiny capsule still strapped to his leg.”

A Surrey, England homeowner was recently doing home renovations that involved the restoration of a chimney, when he discovered the pigeon’s remains and the capsule used to carry critical, time-sensitive messages. The chimney had been sealed up some time during the 70 years that have passed since World War II.  The homeowners noted that they were surprised to find such a large amount of debris still inside the chimney.

Whenever you decide to seal up a chimney, be sure to have a certified Chimney Technician inspect and properly prepare the flue. If not properly cleaned and sealed, the chimney can continue to deteriorate from weather intrusion and any caustic/corrosive residue left behind, leaving you with greater problems in the future then the ones you hoped would be solved by sealing it up to begin with.

Also note that if a chimney cap with an animal guard had been installed on this fateful chimney, this important messenger would very likely not have succumbed to those noxious flue gases.

So don’t forget! Get those flues inspected annually or whenever you plan to make changes to the heating systems in your home. And make sure you have a proper animal guard installed to prevent animals from meeting an untimely (and inconvenient) demise inside the walls of your home.


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