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frenchyd
frenchyd PowerDork
1/14/20 3:56 p.m.

In reply to pinchvalve :

I was taught fire fighting in the Navy. They'd shut us in a big room, pour  fuel in the walls and set them ablaze. 
I'm average size5'9" back then 152 pounds and I had a hold of a student who probably outweighed me by at least twice my size and could have been a foot taller. It was my job to convince him to stand there and fight the fire rather than run.  
It's fun if you know what you're doing and don't panic. 
( but then I liked landing on aircraft carriers in a storm). 

Woody
Woody MegaDork
1/15/20 12:33 p.m.

In reply to dculberson :

You have mail.

84FSP
84FSP SuperDork
1/15/20 3:09 p.m.

I never worried about it that much, just kept fire extinguishers and didn't store bad stuff in high quantities.  Getting our Foster license forced us to have an escape plan posted as well as a Fire Marshall inspection.  It was a surprise to me how much thoughtful input the Marshall shared.  It wasn't hard or expensive to have a much better plan.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
1/16/20 1:31 p.m.

The inspector has given us a report on what happened. There was some older, cloth-covered wiring inside the floor where the fire started. It was run through a hole in the floor joist and apparently was rubbing or dry-rotting until it made contact. Took 48 years, but on Monday it somehow made contact. It was a 3-way light, so one wire was always hot even with the lights off. The hot, exposed wire surrounded by wood apparently started the fire. 

The saving grace was that there was a copper water pipe next to it. The solder melted and popped the pipe. The spray of water was enough to slow the fire somewhat and created a lot of smoke. The smoke is what a passing motorist saw and called 911. A quick response from the fire department saved the house from complete ruin.

Had they been home (and I am glad they weren't) they may have heard the smoke detectors, and if they had an extinguisher, perhaps they could have done something That's a lot of ifs, but I am upping my extinguisher game for sure.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
1/16/20 1:34 p.m.

Looking up into the ceiling beneath the kitchn.

The kitchen.

Hard to see on the cellphone, so dark in there.

Woody
Woody MegaDork
1/16/20 2:41 p.m.

Interesting.

That's some heavy char...that was burning for a while, but it probably didn't have a good supply of fresh air.

hobiercr
hobiercr SuperDork
1/16/20 3:36 p.m.

Very timely thread. I came home last night to find the house all open and smelling like a taco fish stand. Wife was cooking fish in cast iron pan on the stove, went to add more oil when the pan was already too hot and caused a TON of smoke. She used olive oil and in hindsight knows not to do that again. There was no fire, just a TON of smoke and I can guarantee you she was not that far away from a fire. Neither smoke detector in the house went off. 

I've got a small extinguisher under the sink and another regular-sized one right on the wall outside the kitchen in the garage. Would that have been enough if the pan had gone up and she wasn't able to cover it easily? Who knows?

Detectors are getting sorted tonight and I think I'll add a 10lb bottle in the garage close by. I've got 3 in my shop but that's 40 steps and a locked door away.

llysgennad
llysgennad Reader
1/16/20 4:10 p.m.

We had a fire similar to Margie's stove, but it was the electric water heater control box. Had a 3-inch flame when I found the source of the "crispy" smell. Replaced the box under warranty, and it did the same thing within 2 years. I check it for excessive heat every time I'm in there, and flip off the breaker when we leave town.

Glad it wasn't worse, pinchvalve.

We may be having a fire drill at home this weekend.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
4/3/20 9:12 a.m.

Update:



In case you are wondering, after a pretty bad fire in the kitchen, this is what happens to the rest of the house. It is a total gut, every wall and ceiling out from every room, save the garage. The last photo was a finished basement, but the water damage means it all comes out. Even the furnace came out. The roof will come off, and they will be removing some floor joists as well before starting construction. With Covid, no idea how long this will take. Ugh.

Floating Doc
Floating Doc UltraDork
4/3/20 9:34 a.m.

In reply to pinchvalve :

Wow, I hadn't realized that amount of rebuilding would be necessary. Thanks for the update.

This may be one of the more important threads on the forum for it's potential to make us all more aware of fire prevention.

rustybugkiller
rustybugkiller HalfDork
4/3/20 9:38 a.m.

I'd be interested to know what causes the most home fires. Human error ( badly placed space heaters etc.), electrical wiring, appliance issues etc.

secretariata (Forum Supporter)
secretariata (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
4/3/20 9:49 a.m.

In reply to rustybugkiller :

A coworker whose brother is a Fire Marshall & retired fire fighter told me his brother claims toasters are #1 & bathrooms fans are a close second.

He also informed me that you should replace your smoke detectors every 10 years as they go bad. If you take one down & see a dark smudge on the wall where it was it is no longer doing it's job.

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/3/20 10:31 a.m.
secretariata (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to rustybugkiller :

A coworker whose brother is a Fire Marshall & retired fire fighter told me his brother claims toasters are #1 & bathrooms fans are a close second.

i had a recent incident with a bathroom fan, fortunately i was right there as it happened and i was paying attention.  I heard a sizzle not unlike using the MIG, and then the fan quit spinning but the sizzle continued. wall switch off, cover off, internal plug unplugged, motor plate yanked down, all in about 15 seconds (step stool was nearby).  no damage.  pretty sketchy way to start the morning though.

mtn
mtn MegaDork
4/3/20 11:17 a.m.

Why are bathroom fans such a high rate? I need to put a timer on ours apparently, my wife will think nothing of leaving it on then leaving the house.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
4/3/20 11:41 a.m.

In reply to mtn :

At a guess, because builders put the cheapest fan they can find in there?

IIRC there are some that have humidity sensors now, so they only run while the bathroom is still overly humid and then turn themselves off. I'm thinking about getting one as the one in our master bath doesn't sound like it's got too long of a life left. Either that or it always sounded like it's about to take off and take the roof with it.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
4/3/20 12:41 p.m.

This was an electrical fire. Wiring for a light was run through the floor joist. It was the older style wiring with a cloth wrap. That in itself would not have been an issue, but it was directly below the dishwasher. Years of vibration from the dishwasher caused the wire to rub against the joist, wearing away the wrap. Eventually the live wire was resting on the wood. This was a three-way switch equipped light, so one wire was always hot apparently. Or the light was left on when they were away on vacation. Either way, it caught the joist on fire.

The heat melted solder in a nearby plumbing line, causing water to spray on the fire. This apparently slowed it quite a bit and caused a lot of smoke, which alerted a passing motorist. He reported not seeing any fire at all, but the smoke blocked the street. His call to 911 at 2 AM is what saved the house from total destruction, Although looking at the work to be done, it may have been easier to start from the foundation

Woody
Woody MegaDork
4/3/20 1:06 p.m.
rustybugkiller said:

I'd be interested to know what causes the most home fires. Human error ( badly placed space heaters etc.), electrical wiring, appliance issues etc.

With modern homebuilding codes, most fires seem to be some form of human error at this point. Here are some biggies:

-Cooking fires, especially frying accidents. Hot oil spits out, catches fire and extends to cabinets, etc...

-Pot on the Stove. Person walks away and forgets. Even if it's just water. Water boils away, empty pot keeps collecting heat, which eventually heats something else to the ignition point.

-Candles. They suck. Never use them. And for God's sake, don't put a candle in the window to thank all the health care workers and first responders who are going to work. This is stupid on top of stupid.

-Overloaded powerstrips. Huge problem. Six cords plugged into a powerstrip is a disaster. Especially if you then plug a second power cord into the same outlet.

-Extension cords under rugs: Don't ever do this. And don't use those cheap little brown ones. Always use the shortest heaviest cord that you can.

-Cigarettes on the couch, near the bed, or out on the porch.

 

That's enough preaching for now.

KyAllroad (Jeremy) (Forum Supporter)
KyAllroad (Jeremy) (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
4/3/20 1:19 p.m.

I've known a few people have "minor" house fires and the result is the same for all.  Complete gut and rebuild of the house and replacement of all your stuff (except heirlooms and photos obviously) with all new shiny stuff and a good sized check for the inconvenience and "miscellaneous" lost items.  So while it's scary and inconvenient, it's something akin to winning a small lottery for many people (assuming they have fire insurance).  

mtn
mtn MegaDork
4/3/20 1:35 p.m.
KyAllroad (Jeremy) (Forum Supporter) said:

I've known a few people have "minor" house fires and the result is the same for all.  Complete gut and rebuild of the house and replacement of all your stuff (except heirlooms and photos obviously) with all new shiny stuff and a good sized check for the inconvenience and "miscellaneous" lost items.  So while it's scary and inconvenient, it's something akin to winning a small lottery for many people (assuming they have fire insurance).  

I'm not sure if our insurance would cover the actual cost of a rebuild, or we could just have them write us a check for lost value of the home - I haven't read my policy in about a year and don't remember, but in theory if our house caught fire and burned to the ground we would come out way ahead. The house is worth about $350k to $375k. An empty lot, the same size, right across the street from us just sold for $325k. The house is only insured for $300k, because that is what State Farm (and now Allstate) said it would cost to rebuild the home. 

 

You do the math.

rustybugkiller
rustybugkiller HalfDork
4/3/20 1:54 p.m.

In reply to Woody :

 

Thank You!

 

KyAllroad (Jeremy) (Forum Supporter)
KyAllroad (Jeremy) (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
4/3/20 2:33 p.m.

In reply to mtn :

So lets say for the sake of argument it burns to the ground tomorrow.  Pocket a check from State Farm for $300K and sell the now vacant lot for $300K.  You now have $600K  in your pocket.  Pay off whatever note you still have on the house and pay for most of a new place in cash.  Seems like a win to me, I see why arson is illegal.

rustybugkiller
rustybugkiller HalfDork
4/3/20 4:11 p.m.

In reply to KyAllroad (Jeremy) (Forum Supporter) :

 

 

Does it work that way or does the insurance company own the property now? 

 

Slippery (Forum Supporter)
Slippery (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/3/20 4:35 p.m.

You insure the dwelling. So, the land is yours. 
At least, here in Florida, the contents are insured separately and its a percentage of the home value. 

mtn
mtn MegaDork
4/3/20 9:42 p.m.

I think that they pay the builders, so in reality it wouldn't work.... But my lot would be worth more without the house on it, and there is NOTHING WRONG with this house. 

mtn
mtn MegaDork
4/3/20 9:43 p.m.
KyAllroad (Jeremy) (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to mtn :

So lets say for the sake of argument it burns to the ground tomorrow.  Pocket a check from State Farm for $300K and sell the now vacant lot for $300K.  You now have $600K  in your pocket.  Pay off whatever note you still have on the house and pay for most of a new place in cash.  Seems like a win to me, I see why arson is illegal.

Only 4 years into the note. 

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