EcoVillage at Ithaca Update - FIRE!
From: RAYGASSER (RAYGASSERdelphi.com)
Date: Sun, 17 Nov 1996 22:16:56 -0600
EcoVillage at Ithaca has about a dozen of our thirty households moved in, with
everyone scheduled to be in (and the CH completed) by the end of January.

This all changed Saturday night. After a wonderful day of moving people in,
and an open house to show ourselves off to the Ithaca community, a fire broke
out in one of the units under construction. It spread to engulf 4 duplexes
(8 units) and the Common House. The homes and CH were all un-occupied, at
about 50% completion. These units and the CH appear to be total losses.

The Northwest cluster, just across the way from the burned out Southwest
cluster, apparently received only minor damage: most windows on the fire-
facing side had at least one of their triple panes broken, and some were
completely trashed. There was some smoke discoloration of the siding. That's
all that's apparent at this pooin

All of the occupied units were spared, and no-one in the community was hurt.
There was a mention that one fireman may have received some burns, but we
don't have any confirmation yet.

And our builder was out of town for the weekend. Boy, I'd hate to see his 
face when he gets back!

We believe we're well covered by our builder's risk insurance for the losses,
but this may depend on how the adjusters work, and it's way too early to 
get into that. The cause of the fire has not yet been specifically
determined.

SUGGESTION for those in the construction phase:
  Check your insurance coverage. Buildings in the early phases of stick
  construction are most vulnerable to fires; they have no sheet-rock, insul-
  ation, etc. to slow down a fire.

  Invite your local fire department to your site to make sure they know exactly
  where the hydrants are, where all of the roads are, etc. These may seem
  obvious during the day, but in the dark with a fire raging it's easy to
  overlook or miss something if you haven't actually seen it before.

We were responded to by several local departments, and they did a commendable
job of saving the northwest cluster and the occupied southeast & northeast.

We've got a great community of people here, who really came together during
this disaster. Seems like this CoHousing stuff works. We'll be working
through the details, logistics, and grief over the next many weeks, making sure
that all of the families who were scheduled to move into the burned out units
have places to stay. And to find ways to do what we were gonna do in the CH
(like peoples' offices, laundry, meals, etc). Doing it together will. I'm sure,
make it easier.

Ray Gasser, EcoVillage at Ithaca (NY)
raygasser [at] delphi.com

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