Best friend's house burned on Easter

Discussion in 'General Home Improvement Discussion' started by zannej, Mar 29, 2016.

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  1. Mar 29, 2016 #1

    zannej

    zannej

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    I'll give the abridged version here. My best friend who keeps having bad luck and was nearly killed in a car accident last April was just getting back on his feet when there was a house fire. Because the house was still not repaired from an oak tree falling on it and nearly destroying it, there was no insurance.

    His girlfriend and daughter were trapped inside, but he literally ripped an entire window off the wall (frame and all) from the outside with his bare hands to get them out. Unfortunately, all of the pets that were inside died of smoke inhalation.

    The fire was caused by his girlfriend's son from her deadbeat ex-husband. We assume it was an accident, but getting a truthful answer from him is never easy. The kid has shown no sign of remorse or even comprehension of the seriousness of his actions.

    It's a cautionary tale to never leave a lit gas stove unattended even for a minute when a young child is in the vicinity unsupervised. And people should always know where the fire extinguishers are. This could have been avoided.

    Here's a video of the damage. Sorry for the shaky camera. I was moving faster than I thought due to my agitation.
    [ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJkPiDsIvck[/ame]

    A couple of pics:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Mar 29, 2016 #2

    nealtw

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    Do they have a place to live?
     
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  3. Mar 29, 2016 #3

    oldognewtrick

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    Wow, so sorry to hear. Glad no one was hurt.
     
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  4. Mar 29, 2016 #4

    inspectorD

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    Glad they made it out, sorry to hear about their Misfortune, Hopefully some of the community will get together to help. We always do a fundraiser round here. Spaghetti suppers are cheap and easy...just need an organization or some good folks to take the reins. And run with it.
    Good luck!!:usa:
     
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  5. Mar 29, 2016 #5

    zannej

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    No. They are temporarily staying with some friends, but the friends are ending their lease and moving in to a trailer soon.
    The friends they are staying with were actually going to go stay in the house that burned for a week or two while they were fixing up the trailer.
    People are willing to take my friend in, but most don't want to have his girlfriend and the kid who set the fire there. Most of my buddy's friends and family can't stand his girlfriend.
    We need to figure out how to get the smoke smell off of the few things that survived the fire and find a place to store it until the old place can be torn down.
    He's thinking of getting some sort of pre-built wooden shed that can be used as a house and added on to later. Or maybe a small trailer or something. There is a place that sells modular/manufactured homes about an hour away. But we would have to find out how much it would cost to get it transported and what his monthly payments would be to buy it.
    And we need to demolish the old house. I am trying to see if I can get the guy who bought the tractor from us to help out with the demolition, or find out if he knows someone who could help. The power and water have been shut off, so we just have to clear out what we can and then start demo and prepare the land for a new home to be erected.
    Unfortunately, he doesn't have much in the way of $ and still hasn't paid off the medical bills from the car accident. AND he still has wrecked credit from identity theft that never got sorted out.
    People in the area have been nice and donated clothes and stuff to him and his family. Someone offered toys for the little boy, but was politely turned down. IMO, the kid should not get any new toys for quite awhile. It might be the only way to teach him that it's not so easy to just replace stuff.
    I have to head out to a doctor's appointment now.
    Take care, everyone.
     
  6. Mar 29, 2016 #6

    nealtw

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    The house didn't look like a tear down, complete gut and repair. I have worked on a lot worse.
     
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  7. Mar 30, 2016 #7

    zannej

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    It's hard to tell. But given that there aren't actually any licensed residential contractors in the area anymore, it would be difficult to get it fixed and it would be very expensive. He was pricing it out and found that he might be able to get a custom modular home with appliances, delivery, and installation all included for less than it would cost to repair the existing house. He saw some with better layouts at Clayton Homes. Ones with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. The current house only had one tiny bathroom.

    We can help him with the demo and hauling off the debris.

    But I'll talk to him and see if we can find out more about what it would take to fix it and really compare the costs.
     
  8. Mar 30, 2016 #8

    frodo

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    backhoe, dig a hole, push everything in the hole, burn it
    what dont burn gets covered up

    bring in a modular
    be done wit it
     
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  9. Mar 31, 2016 #9

    zannej

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    Yeah, that was the idea. And he's not too far from the City Dump. We have 3 pickup trucks among us and we could load up junk to haul-- and he does get trash pickup from his house, so he can put stuff out to be picked up.

    I looked up Clayton Homes and heard they suck. They have a 2 star rating on consumeraffairs. People reported formaldahyde poisoning, cracking floors, leaking roofs, molding falling off, siding falling off, tubs installed crooked, counters and cabinets warping, gaps in walls and windows, and basically really crap quality.

    I don't know if those are just the lowest end ones, or what though.

    I've heard Norris modular homes are good.

    Anyone know which brands are good and which ones suck?

    I don't want my friend to be stuck with something crappy that will fall apart.

    Also, would it be ok for me to link to his gofundme? I don't expect anyone to donate, but if anyone wants to or wants to spread the word, it could help.

    I'm crossing my fingers and hoping things will work out for him and that he'll have better luck in the future.
     
  10. Mar 31, 2016 #10

    bud16415

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    Depending on the market and what insurance is going to pay and the time frame of being out of a house, you are better off buying something else and moving a short distance. Then take your time clean up the mess and sell the property. Just a suggestion. At least around here you can buy a house for much less than building new and end up with a better home.

    Sorry to hear about the troubles.
     
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  11. Mar 31, 2016 #11

    applebear

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    I don't have any wise knowledge, but sorry to see this happen.
     
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  12. Apr 2, 2016 #12

    zannej

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    Thanks, bud and applebear.

    Applebear, I wish we could do more for you and your situation.

    My friend found a really crappy trailer to rent-to-own but it is not fit to live in just yet. So, it has to be fixed up and then he has to make monthly payments for the trailer plus renting the spot it's on. I hope it looks better on the inside than on the outside because it was pretty awful looking.
     
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  13. Apr 5, 2016 #13

    applebear

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    No worries Zann, your friend is in much more need and I hope things work out for them. x
     
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  14. Apr 7, 2016 #14

    zannej

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    I've got good and bad news.

    The bad news is that the landlord for the trailer park is known to steal from tenants. Even if he does not own the trailers, if a tenant is late on a payment, he breaks in and steals things and sells them. He stole a washer and dryer out of another friend's trailer and then still charged the full price that was owed in back payment. (Technically it was a friend's brother who owed and a friend took over the trailer and paid off the back-pay). The landlord was claiming he was going to take ownership of the trailer if it wasn't paid by a certain date-- which, I don't think is actually legal unless they had it up as collateral, but I don't know how it works in a situation like that.

    Anyway, the inside of the trailer looked to be in better condition than the outside. We found a floor model refrigerator with a big dent on the front so it was almost half the normal asking price. Loaded it up in my pickup truck and slowly drove it home. Had to take the doors off to get it into the trailer and then had to reassemble it in the dark. Two phones had their batteries go out while being used as flashlights. Turns out the fridge wouldn't fit in the cabinet that had been built to go around a fridge, but everyone suggested to my friend that he could move the fridge to another corner and put a microwave where the fridge used to be (just put in some shelves). If their chest freezer survived, maybe it can fit in that spot. and it can double as a prep surface. I suggested having a shelf that can flip up out of the way of the freezer door to go over the freezer so it will be the right height for prep. And I'm looking for appliances that have child locks. We want to put the microwave up high where the kids can't reach it-- that is, once we can find him a microwave.

    There is a spot at the bottom of the wall where it must be torn up so boards are over it-- which works out well because we can pull that off and run the waterline from the sink to the fridge without having to take off the entire wall panels. Hopefully he'll have electricity there soon. Someone loaned my friend a laptop so he can use it to look stuff up and contact people while his phone is charging. He takes it with him everywhere because he doesn't trust the landlord to not steal it.

    I contacted Electrolux to find out if they could help us out with getting a coupon or reduced price on a stove or something. They actually replied and said they would fwd my friend's info on to the appropriate person. Now, whether or not he hears from them remains to be seen, but at least they replied to me.

    My fat cat Kunta Kitteh is in here disabling my mouse/keyboard (he pulled the cord out of the USB port) and shredding papers because he wants food. Time to go feed him before he ruins something I want to keep.
     
  15. Apr 7, 2016 #15

    nealtw

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    He could pick up a chunk of counter top and just screw it to the top of the freezer.
     
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  16. Apr 8, 2016 #16

    zannej

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    Ooh, that's a good idea too, Neal! I'll have to mention that to him. He was supposed to get his electricity turned on yesterday but the people who were supposed to do it never showed up. Now they are saying he might not be able to get it turned on until Monday or Tuesday.
     
  17. Apr 8, 2016 #17

    nealtw

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    Years ago a friend picked up one for free that was damaged in shipping. He ordered a new lid liner and we made a plywood lid insulated it and put the liner in it and covered it with arborite
     
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  18. Apr 8, 2016 #18

    zannej

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    I didn't even know you could make a lid out of plywood.

    Speaking of which, I think I have a tall plywood cabinet/box thingy that my friend could use as a pantry-- if I can extract it from the barn without making the roof cave in more.

    He's going to need new exterior doors and frames since the old ones just push open even when locked (probably from the landlord breaking in). And almost every window is broken.

    I might have enough spare lumber in my workshop for a lot of it. Too bad the glass I have isn't really window grade.

    Our elderly friends used to give us salvaged junk because we were the only ones with large enough property to store that much stuff. Some of it is destroyed and other stuff was given away, but I need to go through and find what is still good.

    My friend said they now have a microwave and chest freezer. I need to get him to look through our "give-away" box of kitchen items we boxed/bagged up to donate. Never got around to it because of the tree and vehicle situation.
     
  19. Apr 8, 2016 #19

    nealtw

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    Up here the salvation army is good for some life needs for people like this.
     
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  20. Apr 12, 2016 #20

    zannej

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    Things are moving along with fixing up the trailer. I found an old tub faucet set (Price Pfister) that a friend had from a store that shut down on the 60s so my friend can use that.

    But I have to vent about the stupidity of his girlfriend. They are staying with some other friends of ours who are renting a house. The other day one of our friends got home from work (after midnight because she had to stay after closing to clean). She found the 6-year-old alone in the kitchen with a pot of taco meat cooking on the stove. The kid's mother was off either napping or playing games or something in another room with the door shut (and the kid locked out so he couldn't disturb her). My friend had already gone to sleep before she started cooking because he had to be at work at 6am.

    If it weren't for the fact that this chick continually shows a lack of ability to learn, I would be shocked that she would be stupid enough to leave her child unsupervised in the kitchen while she had something on the stove. It's not a good idea to leave stuff on the stove without at least being in near enough proximity to smell if it's burning or not... But ugh... The stupidity of some people is astounding.
    The returning friend was furious about it. She said something to the irresponsible mother, who just shrugged it off like it was no big deal. Two of the cats that died in the house fire were the kittens of this friend's cat and she was very attached to them and was heartbroken that they died. The cat just had another litter and there are week-old kittens. They all could have died if the little sociopath had started another fire.

    I'm half-tempted to call department of family services again and report the hag for neglect/child endangerment. Although, the last time I called to report her I could practically hear them rolling their eyes at me while telling me I was wasting their time.
     
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