There was a 2 alarm fire on the next block from mine last night. It was a grease fire from cooking and it gutted a townhouse that today looks as if it’s painted black. Nobody was hurt and the townhouse attached to it seems okay, but the home’s pretty much a loss.
Not to make light of the family’s loss, but I just wondered: do cities have ordinances about how long a burned out structure can remain? Do they have to tear it down/rebuild it in a certain amount of time? (At risk of sounding far more self absorbed than I hope I am, I’ll admit that the fact that it’s ugly, gives a subconscious “homes burn” reminder and I’m considering selling my house soon have influenced my curiosity, but again- nobody was hurt, just property damage.)
Ordinances are city and county level laws. They’re going to vary with jurisdiction. Check with your local area’s Building Department for the situation in your area. It may be called something different, like “Planning and Community Development”, but If you call City Hall and ask for the building department, you’ll get them. They’ll know, or can find out, but they may want to take a few days to get back to you. Damn bureaucrats.
Assume that safety & security repairs will happen quickly - within a day, to prevent trespassers and children from entering and injuring themselves (doors/windows boarded up.) Actual repairs usually start within a week or two depending on the insurance and the homeowner. Most middle class neighborhoods will begin to rebuild fairly rapidly.
Hotels cost money and insurance companies don’t like spending money.
I had the misfortune of a house fire about seven years ago, and can say that things vary wildly from locality to locality. In my case the house was a burned out shell, and the Fire department saw to it all electric and gas was cut off like right now. It took about three months to settle with insurance and get construction under way. The fire happenned in November, we moved into the new home on the same site in April. In than time, the remaining house was knocked over and hauled away, (what was left weighed 27.5 tons, I had to pay to ship it to an approved landfill), but that was mostly between the city and the insurance company, I had very little to say about it. I got the impression that the insurace company was very quick to clean up the site to avoid any liability. And I was treated nicely by the insurance company, they did pay. They even gave me a discount on the new house, right until I signed off on the claim and was cancelled.
Oh well. I got better coverage else where, and was told by an independant agency that the reason I got cancelled was because my auto insurance was not with them, and that is where the real money is.
Here in a Jackson, Miss. suburb, the owner would be given a window of time (30 days or so) to begin either a clean-up operation or restoration. He’ll need a permit for either. OTOH, if the property is left to weeds and such, our city moves quickly to order the property cleaned up by city forces, and puts a lien on the property to pay for said clean up. Jackson proper isn’t nearly as diligent. YM, of course, MV.
If the fire is suspicious, it can lay seemingly untouched behind a safety fence until the investigation is over, which can take months. Seattle had a spate of arsons last year. One property stayed a crime scene for nearly a year.
There’s another case, a business (possibly) burned by the owner, which has been an eyesore for 18 months now.
Most straightforward accidental fires are cleaned up as soon as the insurance company releases them.
We had a tenant whose kitchen went up in flames. It was decided it started with a stove burner.She swore nobody was home when it “just happened.” It took three months to get everything settled so we could repair it.
She complained to the City that she didn’t have a kitchen to use! :eek: