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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    2,797

    Default Reporting fire damage

    I'm wondering how others here report the wider implications of a previous fire, e.g. the possibility of hidden as opposed to observed defects.

    For example during the inspection I'm writing up at the moment,I observed soot staining on the underside of the roof and extensive replacement of sheathing, and once I got down to the basement I observed a likely cause: evidence of a previous fire in a utility area. However I observed no evidence of any effects of the fire elsewhere, while the repairs to the floor joists in utility area were ad hoc at best, which leaves me wondering about the quality of the repairs between there and the roof, on repair damage to wiring and plumbing, etc.

    Obviously, I can report what I saw, and my concerns about what I can't see.

    But I'm wondering if others here thought the wider implications of possible concealed fire damage, and have pre-written comments to cover the situation.

    - Thanks

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    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    1,828

    Default Re: Reporting fire damage

    Michael, there was a big fire there and you should indicate the possibility of hidden damage along with the structural deterioration visible in the photos. That should have all been replaced after the fire..
    You don't want anything to do with what they will find when they open up those walls.
    And those sisters don't seem to have enough nails, or is it my eyes. One every 12 -16 is not going to do it.
    One every 6 inches is more like it.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Reporting fire damage

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    I'm wondering how others here report the wider implications of a previous fire, e.g. the possibility of hidden as opposed to observed defects.

    'Run Forest, run.'

    With any significant damage at all, and those photos show "significant damage", I would recommend that a structural engineer design appropriate repairs, and there is enough evidence there to absolutely call for a structural engineer for the fire damaged structure and what looks to be repairs which do not meet typical engineering repairs.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Cape Cod, Massachusetts
    Posts
    574

    Default Re: Reporting fire damage

    In addition to structural repairs the wiring may need to be replaced, along with piping, etc.

    A permit is required for this type of repair. Many times a new C/O is required to re-occupy a home that had a previous fire.

    This is what I would report to my client:

    Observation: SIGNS OF PREVIOUS FIRE - as inspected and where accessible, I noted signs of suspected previous fire damage in the basement or attic.
    Analysis: It is important that you discuss the history of the fire with the owner or local authorities as the true extent of previous fire damage is undetermined. A permit is required for this type of repair.
    Recommendation: Ask what caused the fire, the extent of damage, what repairs were done and if the home was re-wired for safety. You should ask for a copy of the final permit and check with local authorities for further information and record now.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Anacortes, Washington
    Posts
    395

    Default Re: Reporting fire damage

    I am with Ken on this. This is a disclosure issue. Request the sellers provide information on the fire and repairs. If they don't and the buyer still wants to move forward then bring in engineers, licensed contractors, etc.

    //Rick

    Rick Bunzel
    WWW.PacCrestInspections.com
    360-588-6956

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,365

    Default Re: Reporting fire damage

    If you've ever been through a fire in a house and then a repair through an insurance company you'd be amazed at the mountain of paperwork that comes from the insurance company.

    Pretty much every screw gets listed somewhere. Without that type of info (which would obviously stay with the house forever) it's almost a sure thing that it wasn't done completely or correctly.

    I'll usually tell people to try and locate that and also check with the local fire department. Most keep records that date back a long ways as to all of the fires they've responded to.

    And I agree with the others... that's some pretty signnificant damage that we can see.


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