Home inspection findings by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck, Professional Real Estate Inspector TREC# 9073

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My House is Burning Down! The importance of burn bans.

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There is a good reason for burn bans, and maybe I should have pointed this out at a party to prevent the fire at my home.

Alright, I am being overdramatic with the titles, but I had a weird experience over the last weekend that I thought that I would relate. On Sunday evening, my family celebrated my daughter’s third birthday. My brother spends much of his time at these parties on the patio because of his smoking habit. To prepare for the party, I had spread some peat moss to substitute as a mulch the week before. My watering focused on the beds which had new plants; this bed had established plants, so not a great deal of watering.

As far as I can determine, my brother either dropped a cigarette butt or ash into that bed. During the late evening, I could smell a faint odor of burning, which I thought was coming from a neighbor’s barbecue. The next morning found the same smell. It took me awhile, but I saw a faint whiff of smoke rising from that bed. Looking down, I saw that the peat had a burned color in one section, moving toward the home. There was no great fire. A few plants had their bases burned. I stopped this slow burn from continuing, but it could have made its way to the house.

With Independence Day celebrations around the corner, I thought about how easy it was for this fire to start. Fortunately, the peat was burning slowly, but a similar fire could be likely at most homes, and what if it goes unnoticed? The simple solution is to make sure that you water down all your plants and ground coverings. In my area, there is always some fool who decides that they need to fire a gun or firework. Do they not think that what is launched up comes down? Well, maybe they do not care. My incident reminds me how quickly and simply a fire can start. When a burn ban is in effect, you have to consider all fires from smallest to largest as a threat to your home.

A thought to ponder as the holiday approaches. Be safe!

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© Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Home Inspector Houston, Texas
Frank Theodor Schulte-Ladbeck
home inspector, TREC# 9073
Houston , Texas , 77063 United States
713.781.6090

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