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House Painter’s Oily Rags Smolder to Ignite Substantial New-Home Fire


Nearing the end of construction on a new and quite expensive suburban home, painters were adding beautiful faux-painted walls in select rooms. The house was still vacant while many finishing touches were being completed. Oily rags used to complete the faux painting were left after a day’s work, and it is believed by fire investigators that either a workman’s discarded cigarette or a switch on a working light sparked to ignite the fumes from the oily rags. The ensuing fire and flames smoldered for quite some time, since the house was airtight. Smoke accumulated throughout the house until being noticed by a neighbor, who saw windows looking black and smoke seeping out.

Fire and smoke damage was extensive and the claim for insurance reimbursement was $96,745. As with many new-home situations, insurance responsibility was muddled. There was lots of subrogation between the builder’s policy, the homeowner’s policy and the painter’s policy. However, the full loss was covered for demolition, whole house deodorization and cleaning, repair of smoke and fire damage to all interior finishes, as well as replacement of insulation, new electrical wiring and fixtures, and structural building materials.

Supervising home construction work and the many opportunities for forgetfulness and carelessness is not a simple task. The lesson here, however, rests on following three principles: properly disposing of flammable items at the end of each workday, cleaning up all jobsites after each day’s work, and making certain that all subs are properly licensed and paid up to date on their insurance and fully insured for property liabilities and workman’s comprehensive coverage.

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Indoor Basketball Sports Hall

Correcting Mitigation Errors After Inexperienced Missteps


It’s a bad day when the local YMCA suffers a destructive roof leak that soaks beautiful hardwood gym floors and several adjacent studio spaces. But to compound the damage, the mitigation company hired to dry out the affected spaces made matters far worse. The company chose an improper drying method ill-suited to the facility situation — one that dried the affected ceilings and walls but isolated the damaged floors so they didn’t properly dry. As a result, significant mold growth quickly grew out of hand. In all, approximately 3,000 square feet of hardwood flooring became so contaminated with mold that it had to be removed and replaced entirely. Proper drying done initially would have enabled a far less expensive remediation and a quick return of the gym and studios to use. Instead, the total tab grew to $60,000 for microbial remediation, tear-out expense to remove damaged hardwood, and new flooring installation. In order to minimize member disruption, all work was performed after hours.

Lessons learned by the Y management team? Periodic roof inspections are part and parcel of sound damage prevention and a good maintenance program. Also, the reputation, qualifications and experience of remediation and restoration companies should never be overlooked.

bride and groom figurine

Fast Work by Paul Davis Saves Wedding Days


The date was set. The deposits paid. The guests invited. But telling the bride and groom to postpone their wedding ceremony is a call this privately owned event center didn’t want to make. Their fire suppression system had piping in some poorly insulated areas, and a cold snap froze a section of the water line and burst the piping. Even worse, the incident occurred on a Monday and weddings were scheduled every Saturday and Sunday for weeks ahead. The ballroom dance floor was flooded. So was the kitchen and food prep area, the liquor closet, utility room and 20% of the large dining room. The loss was estimated at $30,000 in restoration and reconstruction.

Quick response started with draining. Paul Davis scheduled round-the-clock restoration crews to dry out the structure. Numerous fans were set in place. Damaged drywall, flooring and baseboard trim was ripped out. New flooring was put in place, drywall and trim installed and painted, and odors were magically erased — all in just a few days. Every wedding took place as scheduled. Every bride was smiling and guests never saw a hint of earlier destruction.

A fire suppression system is a construction and safety mandate that silently waits for the worst to occur. Out of sight for the most part, these suppression systems should never be ignored. Regular inspections can identify potential shortcomings as the systems age. Paul Davis can conduct these inspections to avoid losses like this one and protect against system failures. Inspections can be scheduled easily and typically take four hours or less. For more information, visit https://pauldavis.com

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Dangerous Fire Ignited by Sunshine, Summer Heat and Dog Waste


Approximately 75 million dogs live with their owners throughout the U.S. So it’s a wonder that this fire hazard hasn’t grown more widespread, especially during periods of high summer heat and intense mid-day sunlight. Who among us would think twice about tossing collected dog waste in a cardboard carton? This homeowner recently moved into their new home and had collected simple yard waste – dried grass clippings, tree branches and sticks picked up from their yard – plus left over fertilizer. Easy storage was at hand in a leftover moving box sitting by a garage exterior wall. As days went by before trash day, daily dog waste was added to the box as well. The carton, sitting in direct, strong summer sunshine, enabled spontaneous combustion, igniting the carton’s contents. At first the contents smoldered, then it sparked to a flame, and within a short time flared to catch the carton and the home’s siding on fire.

The homeowner and family, including their dog, were not injured. The house suffered $9,200 in damages. Both exterior and interior fire and smoke damage was covered by the homeowner’s Nationwide Insurance coverage. Paul Davis was hired to mediate the damage and repair siding and interior areas.

When storing and disposing of yard waste, leftover gardening and lawn fertilizers, pet waste or other flammable materials, always use a container suitable for the purpose. Using metal rather than polypropylene trashcans, corrugated boxes, or plastic or craft bags will likely avoid this type of spontaneous combustion. In this instance, the white siding on the home reflected directly to the carton and it is believed that this increased temperature within the carton.

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House Painter’s Oily Rags Smolder to Ignite Substantial New-Home Fire


Nearing the end of construction on a new and quite expensive suburban home, painters were adding beautiful faux-painted walls in select rooms. The house was still vacant while many finishing touches were being completed. Oily rags used to complete the faux painting were left after a day’s work, and it is believed by fire investigators that either a workman’s discarded cigarette or a switch on a working light sparked to ignite the fumes from the oily rags. The ensuing fire and flames smoldered for quite some time, since the house was airtight. Smoke accumulated throughout the house until being noticed by a neighbor, who saw windows looking black and smoke seeping out.

Fire and smoke damage was extensive and the claim for insurance reimbursement was $96,745. As with many new-home situations, insurance responsibility was muddled. There was lots of subrogation between the builder’s policy, the homeowner’s policy and the painter’s policy. However, the full loss was covered for demolition, whole house deodorization and cleaning, repair of smoke and fire damage to all interior finishes, as well as replacement of insulation, new electrical wiring and fixtures, and structural building materials.

Supervising home construction work and the many opportunities for forgetfulness and carelessness is not a simple task. The lesson here, however, rests on following three principles: properly disposing of flammable items at the end of each workday, cleaning up all jobsites after each day’s work, and making certain that all subs are properly licensed and paid up to date on their insurance and fully insured for property liabilities and workman’s comprehensive coverage.