Holy Smokes

Missing a turn in the neighborhood of a client I was visiting allowed me to see this amazing burned out house.   I speculated about what had happened to it while making  my way to the correct street.   Had it been struck by lightning?  What happened to the people and animals inside this catastrophe?  How had this happened?

Burned out home showing boarded up windows and a roof that has been blown off by a gas leak caught on fire.

My client, a neighbor around the corner from this house, explained to me that new homeowners had recently purchased this home for a great deal due to the current recession.   They then had spent several thousands of dollars updating the kitchen and master bath (the top two updates wanted by people buying an older home).  The contented homeowners  then moved into the home, had  been unpacked for about two weeks and happily settled  into enjoying their “new” home.

The wife went out on the back porch to smoke a cigarette and quietly enjoy the sunset.  When her husband called her inside with a question, she flicked the ashes from her cigarette into the pine straw by the deck.  (For all you non-southerners, this is our mulch of choice for most flower beds).    Due to a recent drought, the pine straw caught on fire, latched onto a bizarre  “puddle” of gas from the new line attached to the grill, and within seconds caught the house not only on fire, but blew it up with a huge explosion!

The homeowners, their children and all pets but one cat made it quickly out to safety, while my client was running through the back yard to warn other neighbors of a potential fire bomb coming their way.  Only while standing on their front porch did she realize that she was still carrying her glass of wine for the evening.     The unaware neighbors were wondering why this woman was banging on their front door yelling at them all the while holding up a glass of wine!

The entire neighborhood finished their evening watching as three fire trucks, 2 patrol cars, and an ambulance rolled into the cul-de-sac.  Every little kid got an eye full watching the emergency workers work their magic on the house.

While quite a disaster, the homeowners did have insurance, and will now build the home “exactly like they really wanted it in the first place.   I guess sometimes good things do come out of bad.