This article in the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat got me to thinking about something again. The article is about a kid in Napa that had a chimney fall on him during their earthquake of a few days ago. It nearly killed him. I had to wonder if his parents are going to rebuild that chimney?
Many people do. I’ve seen it here in Eureka many times. When an earthquake damaged our chimney back in the early ’90s, I tore it down. The part sticking above the roof, anyway. But I can think of two very large chimneys almost within sight of my house that were damaged and repaired. Now they have the potential to be damaged again or even collapse.
Make that three or more chimneys if you count the Arkley’s. Theirs were damaged back in the 2010(?) quake and they seemed to go to some effort and expense to rebuild them. I had to ask Cherie Arkley why they went through all that effort when they could have simply replaced the damaged sections above the roof with stovepipe. She just shook her head and almost glared at me. Some folks just like brick chimneys.
With that in mind, why are we still using traditional bricks for chimneys? I would think it wouldn’t be too difficult to come up with a simulated brick made out of something akin to what they used for space shuttle tiles: super light, fireproof but durable. Make bricks out of something like that and I would think the hazards of earthquake vs. brick chimneys would pretty much be eliminated, yet you’d still have the brick appearance some insist upon.
I’m wouldn’t expect people to rush out and replace their brick chimneys with the phony ones, but on new construction and repairing earthquake damaged ones, seems a lightweight alternative would make perfect sense.
All right, entrepreneurs, let’s develop those artificial bricks.
Addendum: A fellow replying to my comment in the Press- Democrat advises me such artificial bricks are already being used, although I’m not sure they’re exactly what I was proposing.