The Danger of Old Houses, and Fire
There are many stories like these. Too many.
It is for this reason that I do not allow a heat gun to be used on the Cross House. Never. Ever. EVER. And everybody working on the house knows this, too. It is the #1 RULE. Break it and you are fired. Sooooo fired!
Also, I am hyper vigilant about what is tossed into the trash. This week I have been refinishing the front entry doors, and am using denatured alcohol. When I am done for the day, I take all the bits of steel wool (soaked with alcohol) outside and burn them in the burn bucket.
NEVER EVER throw such bits into a trash can. Or old rags doused with floor stain. Or anything doused with linseed oil. For, these bits will burst into flames and burn your house down, as happened to the Wichita house.
The Cross House has had three fires. This terrifies me.
In the turret of the round tower is evidence of lightning damage. This caused a joist to explode, and charred numerous other joists. This damage though was wholly hidden until I cut a hole in the ceiling at the base of the tower, stuck my head inside (the first person to do so since 1894), and shined a flashlight into the darkness. Oh shit was my response.
In the attic there is evidence of a very bad fire, although I do not know when this happened:
I am soon to be installing a sophisticated smoke alarm system in the Cross House, which will automatically alert the fire department. The fire department will also have a coded entry key so they can open the back door rather than destroy it (or, God forbid, the fabulous front doors).
As part of the roofing work going on this year, I am adding a lighting rod to the chimney adjacent to the main tower.
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