On January 5, 2007 around 4am, it happened to us.
Working in the property management business for over 20 years, this is the first fire we've had to deal with.
The local tv stations were on the scene and reported the fire very early in the morning. We figured that the first phone call we should make is to the owner of the property before they saw it on the news and wondered why we hadn't yet called them.
Our other top priority was to find the 2 Tenants that were living in the property and make sure that they were okay.
As we sifted thru the bystanders in awe of the burning building, we sorted out the details of how this happened. The fire had obviously started in the garage and we have now figured out it was because one of the young college students living in the property had a party where everyone was smoking in the garage. Someone's cigarette started the garage on fire. The fire consumed the entire garage and most of the house after everyone had left. To make matters worse...the Tenants had also dismantled their smoke detectors a few months prior because they didn't want to have to deal with the annoying "beeping" noise coming from the low battery signal. So they dismantled ALL 4 smoke detectors to stop the annoyance.
This story does have a hero involved. Our hero, Mike Blake, usually works until 7:00am every day about a mile down the street from where this house was located. Ironically on the morning of January 5th, he had got off work a little over 2 hours early. As he was driving home, he saw and smelled the smoke from over 3 blocks away. He drove down the street where he saw the house engulfed in flames. He immediately called 911 and then barged in the front door and pulled one of the Tenants to the curb. Tenant #1 told Mike that his roommate and dog were still in the house. By now, the flames were too hot for Mike to go back into the house. Hear Mike's story first hand by watching our video podcast. (Be patient, it may take a few minutes to load). Fortunately, the fireman showed up at that point and rescued Tenant #2 and the dog from the house. Tenant #2 had to go to the hospital for smoke inhalation. He later told us that he didn't even realize what was going on until the gurney dropped on the ambulance floor to take him to the hospital. In addition to many other lessons learned here, this should be obvious to students who party and drink too much. Things got out of hand really fast and serious damage has occurred.
The Tenant's dog was rescued from the house, but had to be resussitated. The fireman worked on the black lab dog for 15 minutes and finally revived the animal. It's amazing how the fireman went above and beyond to make sure that everyone survived.
Have you ever dealt with a house fire? If you haven't would you know what to do?
We are documenting each and every step we take as we proceed to clean up this very big mess. We want to share with each of you out there in this blogosphere the importance of smoke detectors and how to deal with this unfortunate situation as a Property Manager.
As you may already know, Dizmang Properties, which consists of myself (Paul Dizmang), my office/property manager, Jessica Hickok; our Maintenance Guru, Nathan and our Buyer's Agent, Jay Reasor. We are all going to blog about this as it has made a big impact on our lives. We care very deeply for our Owner/Investors, our Tenants and the general welfare of people in general. Stay with us as we continue to blog and video podcast our experiences.
Have you got some suggestions on how to deal with this? If so, speak up. We need all of the help we can get.