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Old 04-10-2011, 10:17 PM
Location: Not far from Fairbanks, AK
16,058 posts, read 26,638,101 times
Reputation: 11683


Last week around 5:00 PM as I was almost at my house, I noticed a fire truck stuck in the ditch at the street corner. I see lights and fire trucks everywhere, and thought that all the commotion was related to getting the fire truck out of the ditch. But I got a big surprise when I arrived at the driveway in front of the house, and saw the fire trucks on both of the driveways (front and back), and firefighters all over the place rolling-up their hoses and putting thinks back into their trucks.

I was in a state of shock and could not think straight (even forgot about my little princess, our dog Abbie). It seems that in the morning my wife was trying to help me clean the wood stove, something I usually do in the evening after work, and put just a little bit of warm ashes in a bag on the deck at the back of the house, and left for work.

Well, a neighbor down the street saw smoke coming out the gables of the house, so he called the fire department. They were there a few minutes later, and had enough time to rescue Abbie, cover some furniture, move some valuable stuff out of the way, and then put-out the fire. The fire was limited to the back deck and kitchen wall at that end of the house, but as it usually happens in such cases there was smoke and water damage to the floors (rugs), clothing, drapes, etc.

The insurance company, headed by Tammy Randolph (State Farm) in North Pole, were there not 30 minutes after the fire, and she took care of business from that moment on. The house was boarded-up, but we stayed overnight until we got any valuables and such out of there, and a contractor packed and moved our belongings to another location the following day. A dry-cleaning company is taking care of the clothing and other stuff, and when the house’s repairs have been completed they will bring everything back and put it in place.

Tammy also arranged for lodging and other expenses, so we are living for a month at another house nearby. The insurance is taking care of everything for us.

By the time the house is repaired, it will also be painted, the rugs and floors will be new, and so the roof, gutters, shingles, insulation in the attic and back wall, new bathroom, new kitchen, new lighting, etc. We should be moving back into the house early May.

A little advice for anybody who has a home: always take photos of your belongings, room by room, pictures and things of the walls, etc. It comes real handy should you have to go through something like what we have experienced, because unless you can see some photos of the stuff around the house, you will forget a lot of things.
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Old 04-10-2011, 10:48 PM
Location: Point Hope Alaska
4,321 posts, read 3,413,381 times
Reputation: 1146
Well I for one am very glad that things turned out so well for you and your family; It could have easily turned into a nightmarish hell on earth for many months.

CYA: good job with the photos thing. I had done the same thing in Valdez when I moved out of a trailer. I had photos taken all over the inside with a local pastor in the photos with a current newspaper. Imagine the surprise when the former landlord tried to take us to court over damages for 20,000 for this same trailer. The photos saved my butt big time.

Glad it turned out "OK Ray in AK"
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Old 04-10-2011, 11:01 PM
19,620 posts, read 25,741,002 times
Reputation: 11567
Ray, I'm so sorry to hear this. I take it your still blew up?
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Old 04-10-2011, 11:05 PM
Location: Homer Alaska
1,055 posts, read 1,447,046 times
Reputation: 846
Ray I am so glad to hear that even with the fire you are all well and managing just fine.
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Old 04-10-2011, 11:36 PM
Location: Fairbanks, AK
1,745 posts, read 2,216,600 times
Reputation: 1855
Wow glad you are all ok.
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Old 04-10-2011, 11:41 PM
Location: Seattle, Washington
3,738 posts, read 6,041,824 times
Reputation: 1959
Sorry to hear that Ray, but glad that it wasn't as bad as it could have been!

Never leave bagged ashes on the deck, even if they are days old. I did that once (just threw it there because I didn't feel like walking down to the dumpster at the time) and while it didn't start a fire, it sure got me chewed out by the landlord when he stopped by later that day to pick up the rent! (The landlord is also a firefighter). He wasn't exactly mean about it, but he did make it quite clear how dangerous it is, and that he's been to many a house fire that started just because of it.

Anyway good to know that you are all okay and that your house will be good as new and ready for you to move back in in such a short time!
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Old 04-11-2011, 01:28 AM
Location: Palmer
2,518 posts, read 5,770,107 times
Reputation: 1360
Wow...glad you are OK.

An almost identical thing happened down this way last week. A guy took the ashes out in a metal bucket and left them for a day. He dumped them in his trash the next day and went to work. The trash was next to his house...it caught fire and severely burned the house.

I guess its a good lesson for all of us.
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Old 04-11-2011, 02:25 AM
178 posts, read 195,366 times
Reputation: 218
Glad everyone (puppy included) is safe and sound

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Old 04-11-2011, 04:00 AM
Location: Wisconsin
1,786 posts, read 2,261,261 times
Reputation: 888
Ray... so happy you and yours are ok... sounds like great service from your insurance company... I know the company I work for trys to get people relocated and taken care of things immediately... after all that is what we all pay insurance for right?.... A video is good for all belongings... also keep receipts of major purchases or appraisals in a fire proof box or off site location...
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Old 04-11-2011, 02:15 PM
Location: On the move to AK
199 posts, read 634,174 times
Reputation: 74
I am glad to hear everything is okay. Sounds like you have great insurance company.
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