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  • FIRST POST
    • deannatrois
    • By deannatrois 31st Jul 18, 4:35 AM
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    deannatrois
    Fire at Ex's Private Rental House
    • #1
    • 31st Jul 18, 4:35 AM
    Fire at Ex's Private Rental House 31st Jul 18 at 4:35 AM
    I have no experience of a serious fire so thought it might be worth asking on here.

    My ex rented a one bed house four months ago. At the time of renting he told the LL he was hardly there as he works as a dog handler/security guard which normally means he is only in the house one day in seven (I was with him and heard this). However, recently he was away for roughly 30 days. It was a new area of work he hasn't done before. Just over three weeks into this (a week ago) there was a fire at his house. The fire brigade were called by neighbours but couldn't locate where the fire was (they had smoke coming through to their house). His house is on the end of a block, surrounded by fencing. No windows can be seen.

    Its a bit of an unusual smouldering fire. Not a lot of flame, but there was heat and smouldering, it probably smouldered for a day or two and then went out on its own, which is unbelievable but apparently can happen. Absolutely everything in the house is black. It seems to have started in the kitchen, possibly via an appliance but started three weeks after he was in the house. The fire brigade have inspected the house, said that they find he is not at fault as even if it was say the deep fat fryer, it had an automatic cut off which didn't work. There is a kitchen window, which is broken, and a deep fat fryer/kettle next to it. The fire seems to have started somewhere near there. But three weeks after he left the house.

    He is contacting the LL tomorrow. The fabric of the house is sound except for the kitchen ceiling (apparently it was ceiling laminate which is legal) which has melted, the doors of the cupboards were damaged and some appliances including my ex's fridge freezer because the laminate melted onto it and a coffee maker (expensive) he had in there. All othere items are just unusable because of the smoke.

    Fire brigade warned of carcinogenic chemicals present in the black stuff so I stopped scrubbing the walls lol. They said the place is uninhabitable, the black stuff is everywhere, covering upstairs, the bed, the bathroom completely and obviously everything downstairs.

    No my ex does not have contents insurance. He does have an incident number from the fire brigade and they said his LL could get a report off them. Apparently the property has an ancient wired fuse box but they are legal. We don't know how anyone didn't hear a fire alarm (fire alarms melted) so wonder if they went off.

    1) My ex doesn't seem to get that the fact he was away for 30 days on this occasion could stop the LL being successful with his insurance claim. He also doesn't seem to understand that the LL probably has buildings insurance and that won't cover his contents. He says because it wasn't his fault, the LL should make some contribution. I doubt this is true but wonder if anyone has experience of this?

    2) I am worried if in some way the LL/his insurance can try to claim the repair/refurb/redecorating costs from my ex in spite of Fire Services saying its not his fault.

    To be honest, with our doubts as to whether the fire alarms were working, the general problems with the electrical installation, I am just glad he wasn't there.

    3) God knows how the LL will take the news. I am half expecting the LL to say he has to find somewhere to live but not sure how to advise my ex to handle this. He still has eight months of his fixed term to serve.

    EVERYONE who reads this, get contents insurance.
    Last edited by deannatrois; 31-07-2018 at 4:50 AM.
Page 2
    • Smodlet
    • By Smodlet 11th Aug 18, 1:44 PM
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    Smodlet
    I thought insurance policies, as opposed to tenancy agreements,
    usually stated absences of 30 days or more, rather than 21, must be reported. Either way, had your ex had contents insurance, deannatrois, it would probably have been invalidated by the fact of his long absence.

    It is horrifying to learn that fires can be caused by strong sunlight unless some boy scout type is trying to start one deliberately with a magnifying glass but I can see how crystals could do the same job.

    Thank goodness for your ex that he seems to have a great LL and to have lucked out with the loss adjuster, too. I think he would be well advised to learn all he can from this experience and take out contents insurance at the earliest opportunity. He may even get away with not telling the company about this incident since the question is usually phrased to ask about prior claims, not prior incidents.
    What is this life if, sweet wordsmith, we have no time to take the pith?
    Every stew starts with the first onion.
    I took it upon myself to investigate a trifle; it had custard, jelly, soggy sponge things...
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 11th Aug 18, 2:14 PM
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    Mojisola
    It is horrifying to learn that fires can be caused by strong sunlight unless some boy scout type is trying to start one deliberately with a magnifying glass but I can see how crystals could do the same job.
    Originally posted by Smodlet
    It's a relatively common problem in sunny weather - crystals, particularly hanging in windows; crystal door knobs; mirrors; glass ornaments; etc.
    • deannatrois
    • By deannatrois 11th Aug 18, 2:29 PM
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    deannatrois
    Yes, fortunately it was his first rental so he didn't have a lifetime of stuff in there. So its a blow (never seen my normally calm ex in the state he's been in) but could be worse. Lots of soda crystals and ariel, lots of washing (up to 3) and bags of clothes are being restored to unsmokiness. I now have a radial dryer for airing lol (well, when its not raining lol).

    He's very very lucky with the LL, this is going to cost the insurer a frightening amount of money. There is no way a tenant could expect a LL to be so calm about it.

    Everyone I know is going to be getting contents insurance. Really brings home how things can go wrong.

    I am totally sick of washing and drying lol. But I don't like waste so wanted to see what I could rescue.

    I checked my contents insurance, it only mention absence being notifiable after 60 days so it does seem to vary (although I am rarely away even for one day cause I am a saddo).

    It could be a lot worse. I'm also going to be making absolutely sure any fire alarms work. As mine seemed to be working when tested but had a hidden fault and didn't when I had a small cooker fire. As no neighbours heard my ex's alarms, can't be sure his worked so could have been rather serious with the fumes and smoke. I couldn't go into the bedroom for long even days later, the fumes were quite strong.

    Lots to think about. I hope this thread makes others think too.
    Last edited by deannatrois; 11-08-2018 at 2:38 PM.
    • Smodlet
    • By Smodlet 11th Aug 18, 2:29 PM
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    Smodlet
    It's a relatively common problem in sunny weather - crystals, particularly hanging in windows; crystal door knobs; mirrors; glass ornaments; etc.
    Originally posted by Mojisola
    Then thank the gods, despite OH's vaguely pagan leanings, we do not go in for such things (except for mirrors) There is definitely a case to be made for keeping the curtains closed to keep the heat out in summer as well as to keep the cold out in winter. Good thing I'm inclined to the photophobic, huh?

    And, Mojisola, you lovely, helpful poster of my acquaintance, I am sorry but I can think of no excuse for crystal door knobs however, chacun a son gout.

    Deannatrois, I sincerely hope you will not be offended by the lightness of my tone. I thank you for posting such a cautionary tale and trust it will be of help to many, if only to alert them to the dangers of reflective surfaces in sunny weather and the lack of contents insurance for tenants.
    What is this life if, sweet wordsmith, we have no time to take the pith?
    Every stew starts with the first onion.
    I took it upon myself to investigate a trifle; it had custard, jelly, soggy sponge things...
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 11th Aug 18, 3:09 PM
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    Mojisola
    And, Mojisola, you lovely, helpful poster of my acquaintance, I am sorry but I can think of no excuse for crystal door knobs however, chacun a son gout.
    Originally posted by Smodlet
    Maybe these people had second thoughts about their door knobs -
    www.london-fire.gov.uk/news/2014-news/crystal-door-knob-starts-house-fire/

    (Relatives in the Fire Service - I get reminded about the possible unexpected risks!)
    • hb2
    • By hb2 11th Aug 18, 3:18 PM
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    hb2
    Fires being caused by crystals etc hit the news a few years ago - at which point I removed the one that had been hanging in my bedroom window since given to me by my son!
    • LadyDee
    • By LadyDee 11th Aug 18, 3:24 PM
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    LadyDee
    A fire on my estate last weekend was caused, the fire brigade reported, by sunlight focussing on the glass in an outside light - melted the plastic rubbish bin set fire to its contents, and the flames then severely damaged the garage door.
    • deannatrois
    • By deannatrois 11th Aug 18, 3:31 PM
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    deannatrois
    Yep, you just don't think how sunlight can be made 'stronger'. I know my ex will be putting blinds in at every window (the kitchen didn't have one).

    No worries Smodlet, I have been having much humour. Stupid eejit, I managed to get a splinter straight thru my finger getting the spike for the radial dryer bedded in concrete that set in seconds rather than minutes (was hitting it wildly with a wooden pole in complete panic). Minor injuries sent me 2 hours travel away to plastics..,for a splinter. Much rueful humour. It only happens to me, fire, radial dryer, novice, heat, instant setting concrete, panic, pole, splinter straight thru finger. Sod and Murphy rule again. The size of the local injection oh god lolol. Yep humour time. Wear gloves when handling wood always.

    Oh well, dryer is straight. Just, but sticking 2 inches above the ground. No I am not digging it out and starting again lol. It serves as a reminder of having all the measuring tools in the world by my side but being defeated by a wooden pole and sunlight (with a strong dose of Murphy and Sod's laws).
    Last edited by deannatrois; 11-08-2018 at 3:44 PM.
    • Smodlet
    • By Smodlet 11th Aug 18, 4:27 PM
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    Smodlet
    Yep, you just don't think how sunlight can be made 'stronger'. I know my ex will be putting blinds in at every window (the kitchen didn't have one).

    No worries Smodlet, I have been having much humour. Stupid eejit, I managed to get a splinter straight thru my finger getting the spike for the radial dryer bedded in concrete that set in seconds rather than minutes (was hitting it wildly with a wooden pole in complete panic). Minor injuries sent me 2 hours travel away to plastics..,for a splinter. Much rueful humour. It only happens to me, fire, radial dryer, novice, heat, instant setting concrete, panic, pole, splinter straight thru finger. Sod and Murphy rule again. The size of the local injection oh god lolol. Yep humour time. Wear gloves when handling wood always.

    Oh well, dryer is straight. Just, but sticking 2 inches above the ground. No I am not digging it out and starting again lol. It serves as a reminder of having all the measuring tools in the world by my side but being defeated by a wooden pole and sunlight (with a strong dose of Murphy and Sod's laws).
    Originally posted by deannatrois
    Thank you for taking that in the spirit it was intended, deannatrois. It is obviously entirely your choice but, like others, I do not understand why you care so much about your ex's problems... I hope he is similarly there for you, given he has left you with your two sons. I also think he is incredibly lucky to have such a LL... It is not artful, is it? Could there be two?
    What is this life if, sweet wordsmith, we have no time to take the pith?
    Every stew starts with the first onion.
    I took it upon myself to investigate a trifle; it had custard, jelly, soggy sponge things...
    • hb2
    • By hb2 11th Aug 18, 4:27 PM
    • 119 Posts
    • 136 Thanks
    hb2
    Deanna, I'm glad you can still see the humour in the situation! Hope the hurty finger mends soon.
    • deannatrois
    • By deannatrois 11th Aug 18, 4:43 PM
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    deannatrois
    Ha ha definitely not artful. But it is nice to see that a helpful professional LL exists elsewhere. After my experiences I had given up hope lol.

    As to helping, its just what I do. Its a two way street sometimes. He's helped me a lot with moving and keeping me calm at times. Its a weird relationship lol. We don't always get on, very different personalities, lots of hurt at times but when the chips are down we know who to turn to. Wierd but such is life.
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 11th Aug 18, 5:29 PM
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    Savvy_Sue
    Then thank the gods, despite OH's vaguely pagan leanings, we do not go in for such things (except for mirrors)
    Originally posted by Smodlet
    My late mother scorched two sets of curtains, one with reflections from a mirror, the other from reflections from a magnifying light.

    And my family wonder why I insist on keeping a cover over any magnifying lights!
    Still knitting!
    Completed: 1 adult cardigan, 3 baby jumpers, 3 shawls, 1 sweat band, 3 pairs baby bootees,
    1 Wise Man Knitivity figure + 1 sheep, 2 pairs socks, 2 hats, 2 balaclavas for seamen, 1 balaclava for myself, multiple poppies, 3 peony flowers, 4 butterflies ...
    Current projects: ready to decrease / decreasing on all parts of the mohair cardigan pattern! but moved onto wrist warmers for friends at Christmas ...
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