Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fire in the 1940s

The cold weather was certainly less than entirely pleasant this last week when plugging away. Currently we are working on giving the structure much needed adjustments and reinforcements. The structure is basically a 24x30 four square two story. The house was built in the 1890s. After a full inspection it was clear that the structure was involved in some type of house fire and restoration. Based on the materials and objects found in the house it is my opinion that this fire occurred either sometime around 1940s but possibly back to 1920s. If anyone has knowledge of how to determine the actual history let me know. There were several remnants of the Omaha World Herald from the 1940s in the attic.

Now the structure has managed to accumulate damage by foundation failure and also by insect damage. The foundation had two major problems, shallow foundation walls and no footings. The resultant effect was the cracking and sagging of the foundation walls, and also some shift. It also had a dirt floor and poor drainage causing it to remain a little damp. The insect damage was caused, I think, by dirt build up close to and above the siding. I think combined with the damp provided opportunistic insects the chance to chew up the rotted wood. I think I can say this with confidence because there is practically no insect damage outside of a damp region distance from what was the existing grade. As you know we have jacked the house and replaced the foundation, but it the picture here shows the potential damage area with siding removed with the house set on the new foundation. Because of the extensive damage on the front side of the house I am working on a complete straightening the whole of the structure and replacement of the studs on the front wall and that should be the next posting.

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