Fire

The Going Queen is on fire yo.

Well, it was on fire anyway, maybe a few times.  As we started to peel back the layers, we noticed a few dark spots.  At first, it seemed like it might just be older wood.  The original wood from 1910(ish) was really dark but then some of the pieces were even darker.  Eventually, we uncovered some totally charred pieces and realized that the dark wood was actually scorched and some of it was just burnt.

For instance, the stud below.  It's not just burnt a little, it's burnt the fuck up and not much good as a stud anymore.

It's hard to determine exactly when this happened.  Looking at the picture below, you see a newer stud up against some exterior siding on the back of the house in the kitchen area.  Notice the older piece of siding just above the burnt one.  Obviously, it's older than the stud and possibly the same age of the burnt up piece of exterior siding below it, but it's not burnt.  There is no way the piece of siding above the one that is burnt up wouldn't have also suffered fire damage so it looks like this was relocated from another area of the house when the house was repaired.  It's all pretty confusing.

Here is a look at the floor joists above the living room.  Based on how burnt these are, you would assume the flooring originally sitting on these joists was destroyed.  However, the wood still looks fairly old and much newer than the wood used in some of the more recent construction.

You can start to see how this wasn't just a little bit of fire.  This house was engulfed in flames.

Here's an example of a stud along an exterior wall.  It's about half gone and not offering much in the way of structural integrity.

I peeked some newer beams that were holding up the living room structural walls so I could take a look at the siding behind them.  They are toasted up pretty good.

The fire is mainly on the first floor, but obviously burned through the ceiling and into the second floor.

In the picture below, you are looking at the underside of the main level sub-flooring as seen from the basement.

Trying to guess what happened, it looks like there may have been two fires.  One occurred primarily in the kitchen and the other one occurred erywhere up in there.

The living room fire looks like it got going around the windows, burnt up through the ceiling above the windows, ran along the floor joists and broke into the second floor.

The one in the kitchen looks like it burnt through the back of the house.

My best guess as to when this happened was before the previous owner purchased the property.  In fact, they may have purchased it in it's burnt up state.  The fire explains why we see such an extensive renovation without any traces of the original victorian era trim.

We were told the previous owner bought the house 33 years ago.  That put us at around 1982.  We found a news paper inside one of the walls from 1982 which means that the major renovation probably happened that year too.    Most of the Kentucky Fried Chicken parts were added to the house at this time as far as we can tell.  So, looks like the previous owner bought the place and immediately had to do a big reno and maybe that was because it was all burnt up?

Or, maybe it was already burnt up and the victorian trim was removed in a reno decades before and he was just renovating it again.  Maybe he was just as surprised as we were that it was all burnt up in side the walls? 

Some of you may have questions so we've prepared this useful Frequently Asked Questions section:

1. Did you know it had caught on fire before you bought it?

No, I would have mentioned that to you already.

2. Didn't the sellers have to disclose that it was all burnt up on the insides?

No, the 'seller' was a trust and trust don't have the same disclosure responsibilities.

3. Is the house structurally sound?

Sort of?  It seems generally sound but the burnt up joists and studs will need to be replaced because they won't be able to carry the load in the upper levels and they are compromised.

4. Does this change your plans?

Yes, we are no longer referring to her as having 'good bones'.  However, we are still keeping the ol' Queen but she'll need a bigger make over.