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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.

Smiling Woman Preparing Smoothies.

Real stories of Paul Davis to the Rescue

Customers describe exactly how Paul Davis saved them from disasters, cheerfully solved restoration challenges, and brought welcome human warmth to very tough times.


Extraordinary care


“It was my first home, my dream home, and will one day be my retirement home,” said a grateful customer from Greenville/Spartanburg, Virginia, whose house sustained serious tree damage. “When I received the call from a neighbor about the tree, my heart broke, the sense of loss was almost too much to bear. Funny thing, it was the most stressful situation (when it happened), but turned into one of the most pleasant. Gary, the Paul Davis project manager, not only lived up to my standards and expectations, but he blew the lid off of them. My hat’s off to Gary and all the amazing folks I met through working with Paul Davis.”


Under-promising and over-delivering


“Because the replacement of our front sidewalk, steps and stoop was unexpected and unplanned, we are especially grateful to you and your team,” said Nancy C. and Diane K. of Madison, Wisconsin. “While you set the stage, Steve Manser of Paul Davis took care of our concerns on site as the work took place. He understood the issues involved with an older house and he consistently reassured us that his goal was to see that we were happy with the end result. The work was excellent in all aspects. You under-promised and over-delivered, which made us comfortable throughout the timeline. Steve told us that he would come back in the spring to inspect the work. We will be happy to see him again.”


Highest levels of service


“Not only is it important for me to tell you and your team this, and to commend the specific people who executed the work, provided estimates, managed the projects, etc., but to also deliver this information to our agent,” said a Chubb policyholder in Lake County, Illinois. “Megan, if and when you have other clients, our mutual friends, or even you (hopefully not!) who need repair/restoration work done, use Paul Davis. With the level of professionalism, skill, responsiveness, flexibility, knowledge, empathy for our loss, and ability to execute towards our desired goal that Paul Davis displayed, nobody has even come close to replicating that level of service.”


Volunteering for charity


After an allegedly fraudulent contractor accepted $90,000 and failed to complete any renovation for an older woman’s home, the Montreal police force and local Paul Davis franchises did the entire job free of charge. Working with donated tools and supplies, volunteers completed the extensive damage repairs and rebuilding in just two days while the homeowner was away. Grateful recipient and native French-speaker Colette M. returned to a beautiful home and enthusiastically told reporters how the team applied the Paul Davis vision of providing extraordinary care while serving people in their time of need.


Watch the heartwarming video!


Delighting customers with thoughtful extras


One customer in Virginia sustained property damage at a particularly difficult time: when their new baby was due. Paul Davis celebrated with the new parents by completing water-damage restoration ahead of the child’s birth and contributing a few joyful extras: gifts from the registry for the new arrival.


“Thank you so much for baby gifts for little Calvin. It was unexpected and very much appreciated. Thanks as well for being so accommodating with schedules during these last few weeks. Glad to know that the house will be mold-free for this little guy, thanks to your efforts.”


Paul Davis and Local Longueuil (Montreal) Police Brotherhood Repair a Home and a Heart in One Weekend

When disaster strikes, it’s never easy on the homeowner. Unfortunately, disaster can strike your home in many different ways, including fire, flooding, and even mold damage. But no matter what your disaster is, Paul Davis is here to help get everything in your home restored back to normal, making it feel like home again. In fact, that’s our entire business.

That being said, there are a lot of scammers out there. Many vulnerable homeowners are taken advantage of after big disasters like storms or flooding by people out to make a quick buck. So we always encourage homeowners to do thorough research on a company before hiring them—especially if it’s someone who knocked on your door following a disaster. Of course, despite the best efforts of homeowners, they can still sometimes fall into the hands of a dishonest contractor — and that’s something we hate to see. Which is why on September 30, 2017, 69-year-old Colette Martel, who lives near Montreal, was surprised to find that the Longueuil Police Brotherhood and Paul Davis franchises, along with an army of volunteer workers, stormed her house for the weekend to carry out renovations that had not been made by an alleged fraudster.

When disaster struck, Colette reached an agreement with a contractor she thought was legitimate. Unfortunately, the contractor ended up stealing over $90,000 and left her with a house in complete disarray. This was upsetting on a number of levels. After all, who likes living in what feels like a construction zone? Imagine that feeling—and realizing that you have no real way out of it. You’ve spent all of your money on a contractor you expected to get a job done—but they left you high and dry. Now you have no money, no materials, and no way to complete the work. What do you do?

In Colette’s case, the co-owner of Paul Davis Saint-Hyacinthe, Véronique St-Pierre, spearheaded Colette’s project with the lead detective in her case. Véronique rallied other Paul Davis franchisees, and soon the Montreal and Sud-Ouest offices joined the ranks of helpers. These franchisees donated money, supplied tools and provided a whole lot of manpower, managing to complete the impossible in just two days.

This is an excellent example of how Paul Davis works to apply our vision to our work.  We aim to provide extraordinary care while serving people in their time of need. To see a time lapse video of Colette’s project, visit Facebook. And remember, when disaster strikes, call the experts at Paul Davis. This is No Time For Second Best®.

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


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.