A chimney fire puts an 84-year-old man temporarily on the street.

A chimney fire puts an 84-year-old man temporarily on the street.

Chimney fire a shock for blind senior

A blind 84-year-old Abbotsford man didn't know his chimney was on fire until a passerby warned him.

A chimney fire was quickly contained Tuesday afternoon after a passerby alerted the senior resident of smoke coming from the house.

Ray Silver, a blind 84-year-old man, was home alone on the couch when a stranger burst into his house, yelling of smoke coming from the roof. Silver had smelled smoke, but he thought it was the normal smell of a fire. Silver’s first reaction was shock at a stranger in his home; then he quickly went outside.

“By the time I got out, they (firefighters) were already here,” he said. “I can’t believe how quickly they got here. I’m just glad my house didn’t burn down.”

Four fire engines were on scene at the house on Sumas Mountain Road.

Family and neighbours said the incident scared them.

“I was scared because he’s my dad,” said Ray’s daughter, Kathy Silver. “He was just sitting there. He didn’t even know…He is blind. He knows his way around by memory.”

Assistant fire chief Jeff Adams said chimney fires are common, as residue left over in wood-burning chimneys builds up over time, leading to a fire hazard. It is especially a hazard at this time of year. Not only do people light more fires, but also gift-wrapping paper creates a particularly large flame.

Adams recommends that people have their chimneys cleaned of buildup annually.

While the fire was being extinguished with water, Ray wandered the front lawn, anxious to know that his house was alright.

“He asked if the Christmas presents are O.K. Because he has presents and a tree in there,” said his daughter.

According to Adams, the presents, tree and the rest of the house sustained no damage.

Chimney fire