I recently received a call from a friend of mine telling me that he had experienced a fire the night before and needed advice on what to do next. The fire scenario was that his diesel pickup was parked next to his house, and he had plugged up his block heater, since it was supposed to get cold that night. He went to bed, and was fast asleep, when his neighbor woke him up to tell him that his truck was on fire. The front of his truck was burning, which spread to a propane truck that was located between the truck and his house. The relief valve activated on the propane tank, which fortunately prevented a BLEVE (boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion). The fire then melted the siding on his house, but did not spread into his house. The fire department responded and extinguished the fire outside, and determined that things were safe in his house. The fire department determined that the fire was caused by a problem with the block heater on his truck.
At this point, his truck was destroyed, the propane tank was still hissing at the relief valve, the siding was melted on the outside of his house, his laminate flooring in the den was wet, and the sheetrock had been pulled around his fireplace. His first action was to contact his insurance company, which is the same company that handles his homeowners and his auto. He then found out how to get a copy of the fire report, for insurance purposes. When he called me, all of this had been done. He had done all that he could do to get things moving in the right direction. He now would be at the mercy of the insurance claim’s representative. He had also contacted his propane distributor, and they would be removing the damaged tank and bringing him a new one.
Fortunately, no one was injured in this fire, but a good amount of property damage had occurred. Situations like this paralyze some people, but not this guy. Though he takes care of his stuff that is exactly how he sees it – as stuff. All things that can be replaced or repaired, but nothing to lose sleep over, after the fire. Had this fire caused his house not to be safe to live in, he would have had other things to work out, but that was not the case in this situation. The important thing to take away from this is that though it may be the first fire that you have ever experienced, it is not the first fire that fire departments, insurance companies, and restoration companies have ever dealt with. As devastating as it may seem, things can be restored or replaced. Be prepared if it ever happens to you.