Firefighter's Advice: How to Prevent House-top Fires

July 6, 2015 4:02 pm


Firefighter and Roofer Tony Williams

In the 1991 film Backdraft, Donald Sutherland opines, “The funny thing about firemen is, night and day, they are always firemen.” That’s certainly true for Captain Tony Williams. He’s thinking like a firefighter when he’s at his day job with a local fire department, and he’s thinking like a firefighter when he’s working for Van De Steeg & Associates. But Williams would be the first to tell you that he’s not just thinking like a firefighter – he’s also always thinking like a roofer.

“My roofing job helps me be a better firefighter, and my years as a firefighter help me be a better roofer,” he said.

For Williams, the common thread in both of his jobs is this: understanding the function and structure of a roof means he knows how to fix them, and knows how to identify where problems might start.

“I look at roofs all day, every day. It doesn’t matter which job I’m doing, when I’m looking at a roof that’s been damaged.”

Those two jobs converge when a damaged roof becomes a fire hazard, most often when leaks cause shorts in attic wiring.

Here’s Captain Williams’ top tips on preventing house Top fires:

1. Get a roof inspection from a licensed roofing contractor

Before the onset of winter, and after any major storms, you should have your roof inspected for damage. The contractor will inspect your roof’s pipe flashing, rubber gaskets and vents on your roof for deterioration or cracks.

2. Have your HVAC piping and ductwork inspected

It’s important to make sure you HVAC system isn’t leaking carbon monoxide into your attic spaces or hot water closet.

3. Use only licensed electricians for attic power vents

Meeting electrical code cannot be overstated, especially in your attic, where your wiring may not get regular attention. An electrical short in these spaces can be difficult to identify until after significant damage has been done.

At Van De Steeg, we’re proud of our employees who work to keep the community safe. Capt. Williams – Tony to all of us – is a fine example of the way we keep our customers safe and secure, in both of his jobs.