[GSBN] Fwd: [SB-r-us] Attic fire, in a straw bale duplex.
jfstraube at gmail.com
Thu Nov 4 09:49:15 CDT 2010
A sad story. I have seen roof leaks run down the poly before, and be concentrated in the wall area.
Smoke smells are very persistent, and I am almost certain that there is no such thing as a detector: we can detect hundreds of compounds, but who knows which compounds exist in smoke.
Smoke smells do not penetrate surface by diffusion and travel on airflows, very small airflows (a very small portion may diffuse thru very permeable materials, but it is orders of magnitude less).
Thus, once any surface damage has been removed and replaced, the interior cleaned on every surface to a level that means that a white glove can be run along any surface, the only hope in my humble opinion is an attempt is to ensure an excellent air barrier seperating the smells in the wall from the interior. It would seem like adding another layer of plaster on the interior, and another layer of drywall over a smoke stain trapping paint on the old drywall ceiling should be enough.
If there is little or no smell then, I cant understand why it would increase with time.
Also, almost anything is worth trying rather than a complete demolition and rebuild. But that is just me, and I dont know the extent of the damage (which sounds limited).
On 2010-11-04, at 9:21 AM, Mark Piepkorn wrote:
> Forwarded message. Please include Frank Tettemer in any replies.
> -------- Original Message --------
> From: Frank Tettemer <frank at livingsol.com>
> Hi All,
> Three weeks before moving into their new straw bale home in downtown
> Pembroke, Ontario, Canada, Suzanne and Rick have suffered a fire which
> started in the cellulose in the attic of their house. The blame is
> shared between the chimney installer, who only provided a one foot high
> clearance collar in the attic, and the insulation company who pumped in
> insulation to a depth of 23".
> Trusses are damaged, the fire was put out, with plenty of water, in a
> cathedral ceiling. This means that the water ran down the vapour
> barrier, in the truss area, onto the plaster-capped bale walls, and ran
> into the room in black, stinky rivulets, staining all the interior
> plastering, (earthen with American Clay, fiber,manure, and sand.)
> Exterior plaster of lime and sand appears untouched over 95% of the wall
> The building structure is post and beam, located within the inside of
> the plaster and bale wall sections, and is unharmed, structurally. Only
> two small areas have exposed bales, and that was as a result of the
> firemen chopping into the walls at points that they suspected may have
> caught fire. All in all, the plaster/bale walls are unburnt.
> Clearly, from a structural point of view, the trusses could be removed
> next spring, the mess cleaned out, and structurally damaged bales (very
> few) could be replaced and replastered.
> The insurance folks, and the forensic engineer with whom I have spoken
> today, both agree that the main issue is not structural, but is the
> smell, and it's feared ghost-like re-appearance, for years down the
> road. Their take on it is to bulldoze everything, preserving the
> foundation, and start again, to avoid the stinky-winky odours.
> I'm not totally convinced that the smell has penetrated all the walls.
> But I have no way of telling, at present.
> Is there such a thing as a "smell detector"?
> Does anyone have contact info for other bale home owners who have
> experienced a fire restoration?
> I would greatly like to hear all stories connected to restoration after
> a fire, both successful and unsuccessful, as all info is useful in
> trying to evaluate the current situation.
> Any fire victims out there? And does it still stink?
> Frank Tettemer
> Frank Tettemer
> Living Sol ~ Building and Design
> 613 756 3884
> GSBN mailing list
> GSBN at greenbuilder.com
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