7 Reasons Why Fire Damage Restoration Isn’t As Common As It Once Was
Have you ever noticed how few fires there are anymore? If you think about it, every news story that begins “a Thornton family lost their home today due to fire” is big news, because it just doesn’t happen very often. And it seems like at least half of the fires you hear about are arson, not accidents. The chances of you experiencing an accidental fire are actually surprisingly slim.
That wasn’t so true in the past. Entire villages would burn and castles would catch fire. Rows and rows of apartments would go up in flames, and huge houses would be burned beyond restoration. Why was fire damage so prevalent in the past, and why is it such a rarity today? Here are seven big reasons.
One of the most common causes of fire has always been the wood burning fireplace. While most gas fireplaces you’ll find along Colorado’s front range are decorative and produce a modest amount of heat, homes of the past used to have multiple fireplaces throughout the house (including bedrooms). More fireplaces meant a greater chance of someone leaving one unattended. While most people didn’t have carpeting, an ember hot enough to catch the floor on fire could have the house up in flames in 10 minutes.
Before the invention of the electric lightbulb in 1879, the main source of lighting inside the home was from candles. These open flames would often tip and catch the house, made mostly of wood, on fire.
(Side note: Despite the lower number of fires from candles as a whole, candles are still one of the biggest causes of fires percentage-wise. While few of us use them for light, many people still use them for ambiance and making a room smell nice. Such candles are sometimes put in the wrong place and left unattended, causing a fire that requires at least some fire restoration.)
Oil lamps were even worse than candles. With candles you only had to deal with the flame from the candle itself, but a broken lamp meant you were dropping both the flame and all of its fuel at the same time. That meant you’d often have a huge area that was on fire all at the same time.
In 1965, 42% of adults smoked. Today that number is closer to 16%. Fewer smokers mean fewer people having fires in their home in cigarette, matches, and lighter forms. It also means fewer people falling asleep with a lit cigarette dropping ash onto the carpet.
Other Structures Are Taller
You might recall that Benjamin Franklin made quite a bit of money from his invention of the lightning rod. But if you’re building a house today, no one is going to suggest that you put one on in order to prevent a lightning strike and the subsequent fire. Why the change?
It all has to do with height; lightning is more likely to strike a structure that is taller. In the past, the tallest building was usually the church, and indeed churches of today may still have lightning rods. But the church was the only tall structure in town, so if you were a mile from church your house was still an easy lightning target. A larger home with more than one story was suddenly the most likely structure to receive fire damage.
Today there are dozens of taller options that are closer to your home: apartment buildings, cell phone towers, office buildings, power line posts, and skyscrapers are much more likely to be hit by lightning than your relatively short home.
If you’ve ever purchased a lamp that’s more than 60 years old, you probably took one look at the ancient cord and thought “I can’t believe that anyone was ever brave enough to plug this in!” Even when it was new, electronic devices (when coupled with the iffy new electric wires that were retrofitted into homes) were not very well regulated and could catch your home on fire in no time. The electricity on homes of today is much safer and less likely to cause a spark.
Less National Conflict
When you hear phrases such as “the burning of Atlanta” or the “the burning of the Library of Alexandria,” it’s important to remember that these acts occurred during times of conflict and war. Public building, homes, and village are burned by invading forces, and the lack of internal war we’ve had in America since 1865 mean that aggressively setting fires has reached an all-time low.
Of course, if you’re here reading a blog about fire restoration, it’s very likely that you are one of the few who were unlucky enough to have experienced at fire event that damaged your home. If you require fire restoration, contact Rescon Restoration and Construction and we’ll get right your dwelling back to the way it should look!