Where There's Smoke, There's Ire!. Our Story. OUR STORY. In 2000, we bought a home to enjoy our retirement in. It was perfect for us! Everything on one floor, a surrounding deck, and a large expanse of lawn. Little did we know that, in 2002, our lives would be changed dramatically!
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In 2000, we bought a home to enjoy our retirement in. It was perfect for us! Everything on one floor, a surrounding deck, and a large expanse of lawn.
Little did we know that, in 2002, our lives would be changed dramatically!
Beginning in 2002, our home became surrounded and infiltrated by wood smoke from our neighbour.
We were told that it was an issue to be dealt with at the municipal level.
Approaching the municipality and asking for help gave us more sympathy but no action. The people we talked with said it was a ‘civil matter’.
We called the Building Inspector repeatedly about the height of the chimney and were told it met code. What do you think? Did it?
They then said they would not stop burning , would burn what they want and to sue them if we didn’t like it… which we finally ended up doing.
We obtained a temporary court injunction in May of 2005.
Trial is pending.
The next photo shows a diverter added to the chimney that directed the smoke at our house.
The chimney was raised, but the problem continued as the burning increased and the smoke billowed out day and night.
There was no escaping the smoke and the stench. Many nights I would sleep with my head under the sheets hoping to escape the irritants of the smoke.
I had burning eyes, a continual sore throat and nasal irritation that led to many sinus headaches and infections.
He added, what I like to call, a ‘plastic room’ around it and attached it to the side of the house.
The plastic room was made of materials, he told the press, that he obtained from a greenhouse that was being rebuilt.
The roof, also, is made of some type of corrugated plastic.
The plastic room remains to this day.
He then decided to add a wood stove instead and had it built in the far corner of the plastic room.
This chimney pipe was too short and the council, once again, dealt with him and he raised it by about 5 feet. They had him replace the chimney cap, hoping it would deflect the smoke away. It didn’t.
Perhaps he was upset about this as he removed the cap the next day and burned up a storm.
The cap was later put back on.
Most were partially covered but some piles were just thrown together.
These piles contained treated wood, plywood, red barn wood, plastics, and scraps.
The smoke was nauseating and the colour of the smoke varied by what was being burned.
I knew then that we would have to do something!
I can tell you first-hand what it is like when one is forced to deal with a smoke issue, as I have lived through it.
I can tell you that the stench permeates your entire home, your clothing, your hair, and you can even taste it.
Exposure to the smoke was extremely uncomfortable and caused burning eyes, dry throat, irritation of the nasal passages and headaches. When the smoke stopped, so did the symptoms.
There was no relief by opening windows because the acrid smells were like a fog covering our house. Buying expensive air cleaners did nothing to remove the odours.
There was no enjoying the deck and yard as long as the wood burning stove was in operation.
In order to get the smell of the wood smoke out of the house, we removed and replaced the carpeting, ductwork, the furnace and air conditioning unit, and cleaned all surfaces including the walls. Mattresses and pillows were discarded as they smelled of wood smoke. It was an expensive project.
I can tell you the fatigue my husband felt after working all day and then going to our house until near midnight day after day to work on the renovations. Myself, I had all the clothing and every knick-knack and assorted other household objects to wash before bringing them back to the house.
I came to notice that there were absolutely no cobwebs in a house that had been vacated for so long. I can only assume that something in the smoke killed the spiders because, now that we have the Injunction and there is no burning, I again have cobwebs.
Many municipalities have a ‘no outdoor burning’ bylaw, yet the smoke from indoor burning is released into the air and permeates throughout neighbourhoods and gets into neighbours homes. There is no escaping it, inside or out. Where is the help for the victims? The victims of smoke are a majority. The burners are not. Why is it so difficult to ban wood burning in residential areas?
There is no smoking in public places now, yet the smoke from wood burning is far more dangerous and travels for miles, exposing everyone to its dangerous toxins. Does this make sense to anyone?
Those municipalities that feel that a bylaw telling people what they can burn in their fireplaces and wood stoves is a good one are dead wrong. As you can see in my photos, you cannot control what people are burning in their homes.
Shirley Brandie [email protected]
Web site: http://WoodBurnerSmoke.net