After the construction and curing of a stove I take the time to sit down with the clients in front of a large fire, and talk them through the process from start to finish. During this time I explain the various do's and dont's regarding efficiency and safety. An important warning is: Not to stack wood against the stove, particularly over access doors, and not to pre-load the fire box hours before lighting a fire. The reasons for this are obvious. However many operators take no heed of this warning.
Last night a client who has lived with his stove for five years called to relate a disturbing event. He had pre loaded his stove about 2 hours after the last fire, and left the house for work. When he came home his house door had been removed and the house was full of smoke and fire men. The wood load had ignited, and as the damper was closed, smoke spilled throughout the whole house. The fire men could not understand why it was smoking so much, but that there was no smoke coming out of the chimney. They removed the wood load and shot extinguishing powder into the fire box, ash box door, all the access doors and down the chimney.
The house did not set on fire, but it apparently smells bad, and the ceilings are black.
I reminded the client that he had been warned not to do this: His reply was "We do it all the time and its never a problem".