Monday, November 07, 2016

Blackened - before


I didn't take many photos of the fire damage, or keep many of those I did take. But here is one of the cupboard under the stairs, where it originated, before the cleaners had done much clearing of it.


It can be seen how the front of the cupboard bore the brunt of it, and you can make out the polystyrene wine racks at the back, from which we salvaged the contents successfully, and also the parfait jars of sloe gin and the already decanted bottles, to the right, and behind them a cellophane wrapped box of PG Tips tea bags, all of which were OK, and the sea grass shopping basket also was fine after a bit of time outside to blow the smell off it. The powdery mess and wrappers in the foreground were mostly the residue of Tom's late lamented curry spices.

Below is another view of the site of the fire, after everything had been cleaned up but not redecorated, the underside of the rebuilt staircase; you can also see into the blue room behind it from which the the wallpaper had been stripped and the furniture pushed to the edges so that the floating parquet floor could be relaid (it sustained little damage but enough round the doorway, caused mostly by water and some heat, to make it necessary to replace the lot). The actual fire damage on the wall itself is more evident.



The scorch marks, smoke blackening, molten plastic drips and holes from where the shelving and electrical installation had been removed, made some interesting shapes and patterns in sombre monochrome. Before it was covered up, I made some abstract studies.




















Today, the last of the painters and decorators finished and left, they've been very good. Tomorrow I'll take and post some photos of what it looks now, and of the staircase in its entirety.

10 comments:

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Hang those abstracts, enlarged, on a gallery wall and they'd sell for millions...well, thousands or maybe zillions. Would cover all your repair costs.

Seeing evidence of the actual damage makes it even more miraculously fortunate that you were light sleepers, Whew!

Nimble said...

Such a contrast, the fixed abstract shapes of the fire/smoke damage left on the wall and the leaping, consuming action of the fire itself.

marja-leena said...

Natalie beat me to the comments about the fabulous abstract "artworks"! Though I imagine you would not want those reminders hanging in your own home.

Shocking views of the damage in your cupboard cum pantry! Glad that all the repairs and painting are finished.

Zhoen said...

The spices sacrificed themselves to save their cupboard colleagues!

Another vote for the artistry left by the fire, though not the fire itself.

Huge apartment fire a few blocks from us early this morning, everyone got out with only a few injuries, but 17 cars destroyed. The air reeked of smoke.

Catalyst said...

It appears the fire began in the wiring in the walls. Is that correct? It had to have been a very frightening experience.

Rouchswalwe said...

To see beauty in destruction ...

Ach, but I shudder to see these photos and, like Natalie, I am glad you are light sleepers!

polish chick said...

oh lucy, seeing the damage makes me retroactively terrified of what could have happened. but, as i said, that beast does not need feeding. and trust you to make beauty out of disaster! so glad you're ok!

Roderick Robinson said...

Yeats wrote "a terrible beauty" and these random shapes (and their colours) might fit that paradoxical phrase. The effects are individualistic and yet (I suppose it's not surprising) apparently part of an oeuvre. Yet art is not wholly visual and when meaning and implication are factored in the final effect is repellent. Menace Arrested would pass as a cartoon-style title and it will do. We shudder from afar, noting an absence of anything that could be regarded as humane or, for that matter, human. We cling to "PG Tips teabags" and "late lamented curry spices", incontrovertible proof you survived and are your brilliant, laconic self. I would light a candle but for two reasons: one I leave you to guess at, the other it would seem inappropriate.

Lucy said...

Thanks all, for your kindness.

The fire started in a fuse box under the stairs, with a faulty switch connecting to the water heater. This fuse box, which was almost entirely carbonised, had been removed and the hole filled in in the photos. The fire damage, both smoke and actual burning, was evident some way into the conduit - between the beams and the ceiling just in front of the doorway - leading to and from it, which Tom had also already blocked in by plasterboard in the second photo.

Taking these photos felt like a necessary exercise in detachment, or exorcism perhaps, and of record taking, I suppose, before they were covered up. They look somewhat malevolent, I agree, but the horror was in the process of being banished, as it still is.

marly said...

The fascination of destruction and decay... Glad to see your new staircase from all angles!