Blaze!

Internet Stock Photo

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Recently, I met a woman who said that last month her house had completely burned down, becoming a total loss. She and her husband lived in LaPine, a community south of Bend and in higher elevation with colder winters and more snow. A few weeks ago, over three-days a massive snow fell on Central Oregon. The frigid weather caused a strange sequence of events that set the couple’s carport on fire, plus a delay in the Fire Department’s response let a relatively-small blaze spread quickly. It destroyed the carport, adjoining garage, and the home.

In their very clean, tidy carport were parked two vehicles, and a set of tires was stacked between them. One vehicle was their new Jeep and the other her husband’s diesel pickup. In winter weather, he attached to the truck a line that heats diesel to start the truck. That line wasn’t activated, but a bit of it drooped and slightly touched on the stacked tires. Fire Department personnel estimated the blaze as a one-in-a-million occurrence. They figured that freezing high winds blew snow into the carport, and some landed where the diesel line met tire rubber, causing a spontaneous blaze.

The couple were home, saw smoke through a window, went outside, found the blaze and called the Fire Department. The fire fighters could not respond before they had finished fighting a blaze elsewhere. When finally a fire truck arrived at this couple’s home, the fire had demolished all.

Their destroyed vehicles were new and quickly were replaced by insurance. Their home recently had been remodeled with expensive interior components, such as countertops, woodwork, rearranged space, etc. The insurance company estimated the home’s replacement value at $17K, in contrast to the couple’s replacement estimate of nearly $50K. While the husband argued for hours by phone with insurance representatives, the wife managed to find before-and-after photos of their recent remodel and some receipts for work performed–all in all, enough evidence to force the insurance company to re-estimate. This time the valuation came in higher and near their own estimate of $50K.

They’re staying with relatives while their home is rebuilt. The woman added that, aside from all else, the fire destroyed many items of personal and real value that she considers irreplaceable.

This totally unexpected and weird fire-start forces us to think beyond typical fire prevention activities like tree trimming and ground clearing. If we had to face destruction from a fire, we’d have to negotiate with insurance adjusters. This story is a reminder to have photographs and other documentation of household items and their values. It also reminds that a good plan is storing such information safely, with a friend living elsewhere or in a safe deposit box.

Dear Friends, I’ll put my camera to this job and will keep receipts safer. Diana


2 thoughts on “Blaze!

  1. Good reminder.

    On Tue, Apr 23, 2019 at 7:29 AM Diana’s Morning Blog wrote:

    > trailriderincentraloregon posted: ” Internet Stock Photo Tuesday, April > 23, 2019 Recently, I met a woman who said that last month her house had > completely burned down, becoming a total loss. She and her husband lived in > LaPine, a community south of Bend and in higher elevation with ” >

    Like

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