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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

What Should a Reliable Fire Damage Restoration Firm Offer Raleigh Residents?

1/10/2021 (Permalink)

When your home office is faced with fire damage, don’t panic. SERVPRO can get a handle on the situation fast. Call 24/7 for emergency services.

SERVPRO Commits the Time and Investment Needed to Restore Fire Damage Regardless of Cause or Intensity

One of the worst fires in Raleigh history can trace its roots to an even more massive conflagration in an urban area 65 miles away. During Sunday morning services on May 29, 1831, most Fayetteville residents congregated in their respective churches. As the church members and ministers streamed out on their way home at noon, they noticed a fire gaining force in the town center.

What Caused the Fayetteville Fire of 1831?

As is common in many household fires, the Fayetteville blaze began in a kitchen just off Market Square. The community came together to battle the blaze, but the flames leaped from one wooden structure to the next. Fayetteville did have a fire engine, but it could not keep up with the rapidly spreading fire. Eventually, those operating the fire engine gave up, and the heat and flames consumed the equipment. Men and women tried to control the raging fire with buckets and fire blankets but to little avail.

What Historic North Carolina Buildings Fell to the Fire?

Raleigh was a planned community and eventual capital of North Carolina, but the Capitol was not built until 1792. The State House where the North Carolina Assembly met and finally ratified the United States Constitution on a second try was located in  Fayetteville. Debate raged like the 1831 fire in Fayetteville from November 16 through 23, 1789, about accepting the U.S. Constitution and joining the new federal Union, but ratification prevailed. As the wind gusted and embers flew through the air in May 1831, the Old State House caught and burned to the ground. After four hours and despite the hard work of the townspeople, 600 buildings met their ends in Fayetteville:

  • Hundreds of homes
  • A school
  • Two hotels
  • More than a hundred stores
  • Two banks
  • All the town's houses of worship save the Methodist church

How Was the Fayetteville Fire Finally Stopped?

Ultimately the townspeople fought fire with gunpowder, blowing up homes and other buildings to remove fuel sources that would permit the fire to continue its destruction. It was nearly a miracle that no one died, and as it was spring moving into summer, the community also had time to recover. Most property owners were uninsured. Word spread throughout the country of the catastrophe, and contributions came in from all over. Rebuilding proceeded.

What Does the Fayetteville Fire Have to Do with Raleigh?

Because of the May 29, 1831 fire, North Carolina state leaders focused on considering whether the governmental buildings in Raleigh were exposed to the same kind of risk as happened to the north. In Raleigh, the State House had a wooden roof that concerned officials after the terrific amount of fire damage suffered in Fayetteville. Thomas Bragg, a general contractor, accepted the job of fireproofing the capitol building, charging $1940 for the project.

When Was the Work Done on the Raleigh State House?

Just weeks after the Fayetteville fire, crews began the process of retrofitting the roof in Raleigh. After assessing the situation, a reckoning to install sheets of zinc plate on the roof to prevent the kind of opportunistic fire spread seen in Fayetteville in late May occurred. Wood-framed, clad, and roofed buildings were very vulnerable to sparks and embers, and government officials were eager to protect the Raleigh State House's wood roof for the present and into the future.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong During the Raleigh Roofing?

Then-Governor Montfort Stokes observed the re-roofing and felt a step was missing. The Governor's concern was that the zinc sheets fastened with nails. He wondered and worried that the holes created by the nails would permit water to leak through the roof into the Raleigh State House. Governor Stokes talked with Bragg about what he noted. He suggested to the contractor that each nailhead needed soldering to prevent roof leakage.

  • The early morning of June 21, 1831 (5 am) saw three workers climbing the Raleigh Capitol roof to complete the zinc installation.
  • Workers passed iron pots with live and burning coals onto the roof to permit them to heat the driven nail heads and solder them to the zinc plates. 
  • During a breakfast break, the workers left the hot iron pots on the roof surface.
  • The pots caused the roof to catch fire.

What Were the Consequences of the Raleigh State House Fire?

Much like the old State House in Fayetteville, the Raleigh State Capitol burned, with failed attempts to save essential records and the Canova statue of George Washington, a marble work stylizing the first President as a Roman general. The statue was a complete, headless ruin after the fire. For a time after the crisis, the chance that Raleigh would lose its standing as North Carolina's state capital was a definite possibility. More than a year later, in December 1832, the General Assembly relented and appropriated $50,000 for the Capitol's reconstruction on Raleigh's Union Square.

How Can Homeowners Avoid the Total Destruction of Their Raleigh Abodes?

The building and firefighting industries have come a long way since the tinderbox roofs of 19th century Fayettevill and Raleigh allowed fires to skip from building to building with abandon. Fire damage restoration provided by SERVPRO has advanced as well, offering the chance to transform smoke and flame-derived harm back to the cozy home you and your family enjoyed before the fire.

What Does SERVPRO Do in the Aftermath of a Fire?

Our Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC)-trained managers and crews arrive ready to assess the safety hazards and the damage. Once we control safety issues at the scene, SERVPRO swings into gear:

  • Removing and appropriately disposing of the water used to knock down flames
  • Planning for the products and techniques needed to clean residues
  • Implementing the professional plan, employing personal protective equipment (PPE) and containment strategies to keep your loved ones safe
  • Deodorizing
  • Arranging for repairs and rebuilding

Fire damage restoration is vital to the mission of SERVPRO of South Cary / Apex. Our highly-trained and well-equipped team of fire loss recovery experts await your call at (919) 615-1160. Let's partner together to make it "Like it never even happened."

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