I’ve been stalking following your blog for just over a year thanks to making an offer on a short sale home in September of 2009. It was our dream and forever home. We spent the first two months washing, priming, and painting every single wall and ceiling. We replaced every hinge, door knob, light fixture, window treatment, and put in beautiful hardwood floors on both main levels and the stairs. You name it, we most likely did it.
Sadly, on Thursday January 6th, just before 6am I woke to the sound of two second story windows shattering followed by bright lights. I peeked into our guest bedroom and flames had just begun to enter, the smoke detectors went off seconds later. My husband, our 2.5 year old son, and I escaped safely with just the clothes on our backs. We had no shoes, socks, coats, or hats in subfreezing temps. Just each other and the love of our neighbors, friends, and families. It was quickly determined to be accidental, but we lost it all including my car. Our 2.5 story 2,000+ square foot home, plus in-law suite burned to the ground very quickly (one estimate was 30-60 minutes). Within hours we also learned of the love from acquaintances and strangers in our community and beyond.
We are very lucky to have each other and our lives- but our home, and all of the hard work and DIY projects we had done were gone so very quickly. We’ve already spent five hours documenting the structure of the house, and now begins the grueling task of itemizing each and every personal belonging. We’ve learned some of the “what would we do differently” as a result of this fire, that I’m hoping you consider for yourselves and might share with your readers:
- Subscribe to an online data backup service (my external back up drive sat right next to my laptop in my office)
- Keep passports in a safe deposit box
- Take pictures of each room initially and update them as improvements are made (storing them somewhere offsite – like Flickr)
- Take pictures and keep hyperlinks of all expensive purchases, including jewelry
- Hire an architect (my dad in our case) or use floorplanner.com to document each floor layout along with precise wall/ceiling measurements, each outlet, light switch, crown molding, other trim, type of flooring, any unique items to structure of property
- Put phones in a consistent place each night
- Get fire ladders for any second floor bedrooms
- Scan each photo and receipt, again keeping them offsite, or on an online data backup service
- Do not be frugal with homeowner’s insurance. Spend the extra $50 per year for the most coverage
Below is actual video of Melanie’s house. We can’t even imagine what she has been through:
Actual video of the fire below.
News story about it -> http://www.myfoxboston.com/dpp/news/local/firefighters-battle-weymouth-blaze-20110106
Source links -> http://consumerist.com/2011/01/things-we-wished-we-did-before-our-house-burned-down.html