I thought I would pop in and give an update as far as the fire repairs go. Last week was full of meetings. Meetings with insurance adjusters, meetings with contractors and meetings with insurance investigators.
The insurance investigator told Brad that it was one of the more serious gas fires that he had seen, and once again that we are very lucky we had no fatalities on our hands. Praise God. He also told him that no demolition work or repairs could begin until it was ultimately decided who was at fault for the gas leak. All of our contractors are being given official notification of the situation and are requested to attend a meeting (preferably with an attorney) at our home. There, the insurance investigator will begin breaking down the fire place and surrounding areas to determine the cause of the leak. This process in itself can take a few more weeks before we are allowed to move forward. Our guess is that we will probably be out of the house another 3 months.
Last week a company came in and took every. single. thing. out of the house for cleaning. I am currently getting by with 2 pairs of shoes, about 5 shirts and 2 pairs of pants. This is as close to "roughing it" as I think I will ever be! A few clothing items were rushed but the others wont arrive for another 6 weeks. Some items will not be able to be cleaned such as sofas and mattresses, so we believe those things are going to be replaced. We are also told that all of the floors will definitely need replacing and the main areas that had smoke damage will be repainted. I know from the photos I posted that it doesn't look like there was that much damage, but it is very deceiving. The fire damage was mostly contained to the fireplace area, but the areas affected by smoke as well as any area that took wear and tear during the commotion is also being included in the repair/ replacement.
So that is where we are at currently. Hopefully sometime in the next week or two, we will have permission to go ahead and move forward.
I don't really even know how to start this post. I thought by now I would be posting about trying to get settled in our house and sharing my beginning attempts of decorating. Instead I'm going to tell you about how our brand new house caught fire and how I realized that after months of going on and on about the house, that is in fact just a house.
Saturday, while Brad was working I spent the day unpacking boxes, hanging photos and putting up the drapes I had been waiting months to hang. My dad came over and swapped out a few pieces we needed to convert our gas stove to use propane. After he finished he turned on our new propane line and we tested the stove. Everything looked great.
Sunday morning we woke up and I began getting the boys ready for church. I debated staying home, out of exhaustion from unpacking on Saturday but went anyways since I was committed to work in the nursery. We went to church and then ran a few errands afterwards. When we arrived home there was a horrible smell, one I may not have noticed had we not left the house.
My immediate thought was that the dog had been going through the trash and had a diaper strewn about. I searched everywhere but came up with nothing. I narrowed the area down to the living room but still could not pin point where it was coming from. As we waited for Brad to get off work, we went to my parents house for dinner where I told them about the smell. My sister suggested that maybe a mouse had gotten into one of our sofas while in storage and possibly died there. It seemed gross yet reasonable, so when Brad got home that evening I shared my theory with him.
We began attempting to hunt down the smell again and realized that the fireplace smelled a bit. I asked him what propane smelled like out of concern for a leak and he said that he smelled it when they installed the tank the day before and that it did not smell like a dead animal. With that in mind we came to the conclusion that some creature had crawled in the chimney and died. We thought we would light a fire to get rid of whatever was hiding up there. I shake my head at myself as I type this.
As our boys sat on the couch watching TV five feet away, Brad lit a fire and immediately was engulfed in flames. They went in a wave onto the floor, up the walls and roaring into the fireplace. Brad's pants and arm caught fire and he quickly beat the flames out. The fire that hit the wood floor receded and thankfully I didn't yet have a rug down that would have spread the fire along the floor.
Brad instantly knew there was a problem with the propane and ran down stairs to shut off the valve. In the five seconds it took for him to run down to the basement, I saw that the flames were in the cracks in between the fireplace box and the walls surrounding it. He had a fire extinguisher in his patrol car and ran to get it. We quickly extinguished the fire and called the fire department to come check everything.
I got the boys dressed in warm clothes and shoes and waited for the firemen to make the two second drive down the street to our house. I will be honest, at this point we somewhat laughed about our bad luck and the fact that we had to call the fire department after living there for only three days, it hadn't yet sunk in at how lucky we were to be alive.
The fire department arrived with four trucks, an ambulance and a Sheriff's Deputy. They rushed in and began checking the entire house for any remaining fire and concluded that the fire had been put out when Brad extinguished it. Everything was double checked with heat guns and two fire trucks were dismissed to leave.
(Archer loved all of the visitors at his house!)
As the firemen were gathering their gear, Brad and I explained the situation to my dad, who had quickly rushed over after hearing the news. As I stood in front of the fireplace, I saw blazing orange flames strike up from in between the drywall and brick in the unfinished fireplace surround. We yelled for the firemen and they came running in with axes. The drywall above the mantle was shredded through and everything was sprayed with some sort of flame retardant. The power was shut off due to the electrical wires disintegrating from the fire.
I knew we had a serious problem when I saw the fire fighters unrolling the hoses from the truck... The flames had quickly spread through the wall, disintegrating the wall studs and insulation. It traveled upstairs through the chimney and downstairs through the floor. The house was filled with smoke and I began grabbing photos and anything else near by so that it didn't get wet if the hoses were used or burnt if the fire spread. The sound of axes slamming the walls of my house is not a sound I will soon forget.
Thankfully the firemen did everything they could to not use the hoses. They were amazing and constantly checking on the boys and me to make sure we were okay. They even apologized that they had to tear up our new home. I will be baking for them on a regular basis!
As I sat on the porch holding my boys in my lap, I knew that through all of the disaster, that we were truly blessed. We were all alive and uninjured, which is the only thing that matters. I realize this is nothing compared to the devastating house fires that many people experience. Keating was a bit shaken up from the whole experience. He kept asking why they were tearing down our new walls and asking me if his bed was burning. Archer loved all the action and didn't really understand what was going on.
The fire inspector arrived and began investigating the scene. (Its horrible when your house becomes a scene) He checked the propane tank and told us that half of our previously full tank had leaked out in one day. A tank that should last us a year was half gone. Praise the good Lord that most of the gas was traveling up the chimney and not into the house or the house would have blown up. He also shared that propane in massive amounts begins to smell rancid... Like a dying animal. That would have been nice to know.
It was really frightening how fast a fire could spread and get out of control. A house that the firemen had checked with infra red cameras and established there to be no more threat, was quickly engulfed in thick black smoke. I thank God that we were awake and not sleeping when this happened! It took over 4 hours for them to make sure the fire was completely out and that nothing would start back up again.
The fire spanned all three floors of the house, from the ceiling of the basement up to the 3rd floor in the boy's playroom. I only took photos of the damage downstairs, but in the hole to the right is where the propane line is located, that we believe is faulty. The cracks on the sides of the bricks are where I saw the flames glowing behind. Thankfully that portion of our fireplace was still not trimmed out or we would not have known until it was too late. I was very surprised at how the sheet rock was hardly damaged when the inside of the walls were burnt to a crisp.
I can't stress enough, that we are so blessed and fortunate. God was certainly looking out for us on Sunday night! Our insurance company has already sent a crew out to begin cleaning our belongings of smoke and gas fumes. We are told that the entire wall between the living room and master bedroom will need to be replaced along with some of the walls upstairs. The hardwoods and carpet were badly damaged and will be replaced as well as the hearth because the bricks can trap smoke and carcinogens. We have been told that the entire process should take 4-6 weeks. In the meantime, we are staying back at my parent's house until everything is cleaned up.
2. We have an awesome GE Cafe French Door Fridge that is cabinet depth for sale. We purchased and it will not fit in the spot we need it to. Well it fits, but not if we want the doors to open... which is a pretty important feature of a refrigerator! It is still brand new in perfect condition in the plastic and we are asking $2000. Retail for $3200. We are located North of Atlanta, if you are interested please leave a comment with your email address.
3. We have decided to change up our new kitchen and add a few open shelves instead of the cabinets we currently have by the range. After we had them up, I missed the appearance and ease of our old open shelves. Thankfully Brad did too and we decided to go ahead and make the change now. We will use the existing cabinets in our laundry room, since we had planned on adding cabinets there one day anyways. I am thinking something like this for the shelves. We have made peace with our cabinet maker, so I may let him tackle this project.
4. A few weeks ago I posted about trying out this alarm clock to keep the kids in bed until a certain time. So far, this has been a big fat fail. Especially now that their room is right above ours and they wake up super early to loudly begin playing trucks on the floor. I am thinking they may need to have separate rooms until they are a bit older? Anyone have any tricks or suggestions to keep your kids in bed??
5. I am loving the great temperatures we have been having lately and can't wait for it to officially be spring!
The little bit of nice weather we are having here, has me thinking about yard work and all of the plans I would like to see happen in our yard. I love the graphic feel that pavers can provide when combined with grass or greenery. I have a few spots in mind at our house for something like this in order to keep muddy puppy paws and little boy feet from tracking in dirt.
I'll take the pool too!
Last week we got another dusting of snow in the south. I say dusting because at our house we only got an inch or two; others I know got nearly nine inches! That much snow is basically unheard of in Georgia! The snow helps cover all of the mud that currently lies beneath it. Getting grass to grow and painting those porch railings are on a growing to-do list for the spring. We also need plants, the yard is so bare!
After everything thawed out, we had a weekend of gorgeous weather. We moved a good majority of our belongings into the house, but we are still waiting on a few things so we won't be fully moved in until sometime this week. I tell you it's the move that never ends...
Last week during the "snowpocolypse" (as it is being referred to) was Keating's 4th birthday. It is kind of ironic that he was born during a snow storm while the Winter Olympics were taking place and it was the same conditions this year. Crazy! We did a small birthday celebration during the week and thankfully the weather cooperated for an outside bash on Sunday. He had such a blast at his party and he has a new interest in girls, older girls at that... Lord help me!
The party was very low key and completely unpinterest worthy! I had quite the panic moment when I arrived an hour before his party to pick up the cake and saw it had roses and a graduation hat on it. The cake below was a quick redo and is a little wonky... but much better than a little boy having roses on his birthday cake!
I caught up on Downton Abbey last night. I don't want to give any spoilers, but I just love Anna and Bates. I also think that Lady Mary has been so great this season!
That is about all I have today. Hopefully in the next few days I have a few early decorating photos to share. I am itching to get in there and get stuff done!
2. We have a bit of an early riser at our house by the name of Archer. I have tried everything to get him to stay asleep, but as of 5-6 am his internal alarm clock goes off and he sets off to wake up the whole house. Does anyone have any suggestions to keep this kid in bed until a reasonable hour? Has anyone tried this kids alarm clock?
3. This weekend we are going to a ball for members of a local police organization. It sounds silly to call it a ball, but really it really is! There are no ballgowns sadly, but I do get to wear a cocktail dress and have a date night! I somewhat waited until the last minute to find a dress, so I will be rushing around on my lunch break to find something!
4. Next weekend is Keating's 4th birthday party, and I still haven't sent out invitations or prepared for it in any way. Total mom fail.
5. I have been looking at a few shelving options since we don't really have an official pantry and this is currently my top contender. I love the rustic industrial look to it and it would be easily removable if we ever got tired of it.