Thursday, May 6, 2010

Forty Grand

Want to know what $40,000  of fire related damage looks like in a sprinklered apartment?

Little bit of smoke damage to the ceiling.

This cabinet might have to be replaced.

So far, what are we up to?  Paint two rooms, $500 plus another $500 for the cabinet. So where is the other $39,000?
The replacement of the carpet and vinyl flooring has to be a grand.
Notice the drywall has been removed 10 inches up from the floor.
That had to be done throughout the apartment, another grand. 
Now the whole place needs paint to match. The blowers
belong to the restoration company.

Carpet has been removed in here, the drywall as
well. Two of these dehumidifiers will be running
nonstop for two weeks pulling all of the moisture
out of the air, clothes, furniture etc.

The second dehumidifier, this one in the living room. The
furniture was soaked last shift, today when we dropped by, they
seemed dry. The dehumidifiers will run for a week or so, then the
reconstruction will begin. 

Doesn't look like much damage, but the restoration is costly. The fire was a grease fire in the sink, it was extinguished by the sprinkler system. Four heads popped, the carpet was floating when we walked in. We never even pulled a line for this, just squeegees.

The heads were fast response, low GPM heads. Each one put out about 15 Gallons of water per minute, so figure 60 GPM total. They probably flowed for at least 15 minutes, so maybe 750 gallons of water on the floor. Of course, some of it was flowing out the sliding door, but we still had water over the tops of our boots when we first got there.
Personally, I don't see anywhere near 40K worth of damage here, but that's what the resto company is telling the apartment complex it is going to cost. I must be in the wrong business.

Critics of sprinklers would argue that $35 thousand worth of water damage is too much and sprinklers should be optional. I have no idea how big this would have gone had it not been sprinklered, but it could have gutted the apartment and extended upstairs. As such, I think sprinklers are a good idea.

I'm just glad we got on this quick enough and were able to keep the water out of the next apartment. I'm also glad this happened on the ground floor.

Thanks for reading, 


  1. Dear Captain Schmoe,
    you're right--as long as everyone has the chance to gripe about the sprinklers, they aren't standing numbed in shock with all their possessions gone--or all their neighbors.

    As a condo board bigwig (and as a former scullery maid), I have learned that all this restoration cleaning is biohazardous at times. part of it's the labor cost. part of it is the insurance. the equipment serves as a distancing mechanism . . .

    Ann T.

  2. Capt. Schmoe:
    One of the reasons I am happy to be in a house and not apartments is reducing the risk of fire to my person and personals. I don't smoke, and I generally leave the frying oil to someone else.

    As much as a pain in the ass the clean up is, sprinklers in apartments are a good thing.

    Thanks for the post.
    The Observer

    WF: sproheat

  3. Ann T. - As a board member, you see the results of this kind of stuff. I think the big worry is mold, a financial money pit. Also as a point of interest, every tenant is required to maintain a renters insurance policy as a condition of the lease. I am not sure what the liability is to the tenant, but I am sure the building's insurance will be going after him.

    Observer - In my experience, fire is a lot tougher on cats than water is. I'm just sayin'.

  4. a few years ago, a condo neighbor unscrewed a sprinkler head, thinking it was the smoke detector that was beeping because of a low battery. a lot of water came out. what a retard. thankfully no one lived below her - can you imagine?

  5. Burned -out medic - sadly, I am not even surprised.