Fire Damage in Beltsville, MD- Oliver’s Story

by | Dec 20, 2021 | Blog

House fires are becoming more and more frequent. The National Fire Protection Association(NRPA) estimates that residential fires have gone up 8% since 2000.

The kitchen is the most common room in the house for a fire to start. Leaving food unattended while it cooks, electrical issues with your appliances, leaving a dish towel too close to a burner, or leaving a flammable liquid near a flame can all cause fires to start.

Heating sources are another leading cause of house fires. Fireplaces and wood heaters need to be maintained at least twice a year to keep them running safely. Smoke alarms need to be placed by every bedroom door and maintained. A good rule of thumb is to change the battery in your smoke detector with daylight savings time. Dryer vents, overloaded outlets, grill fires, and smoking are additional ways that home fires can start.

Oliver’s Story

Oliver is a 56-year-old school teacher from Beltsville, MD. Oliver’s house was an older home that still had electric wall heaters. He maintained the heaters every year by cleaning them out, and was diligent about keeping things away from them to prevent fires.

One winter the weather was especially cold and Oliver had to use the heaters more than usual. With temperatures not usually this far below freezing, Oliver did not realize that some of the electrical heaters in his house had a thermostat switch. This caused the heaters to come on automatically when the temperature in the house dropped below a certain level.

Oliver did not realize that the heater in his dining room had a table cloth hanging in front of it from a nearby table. As the temperature dropped overnight in the house, the thermostat switch triggered the heater and turned the heater on. The tablecloth hanging in front of the heater started to smoke and eventually caught fire.

The smoke detectors in Oliver’s kitchen started to blare and woke him up. He was able to grab the fire extinguisher and put the fire out, but not before the damage was already done. The fire and smoke had gone up the walls and spread to the table, destroying it.

Oliver moved the damaged table outside and started examining the damage. He pulled the fuse for the heater so it would not come back on automatically. The next morning he called his homeowners insurance and began the process of cleaning up. While they would cover some of the damages, not everything would be covered.

Oliver called in fire restoration specialists to look at the damage and determinewhat exactly needed to be done.


The fire inspection specialist looked at the structural damage and checked for any electrical damages first. The wall above and behind the heater had significant damage to the wood and wiring. The wires had melted and the wood was cracked and scorched.

A good portion of the wall would need to be replaced, wiring redone, and clean up to remove the smoke damage. The inspector also looked at the other wall heaters in the house. He found 2 with the same type of thermostat switch as the heater in the dining room.

After reviewing all the damages, the recommendations were given to Oliver. The inspector suggested a smoke restoration cleaning service and replacing the electric walls heaters with a central heating and air system. The new heating system would require updating the electrical system in the house. The studs in the walls near the heater would need to be replaced, the drywall replaced, and the hole where each current heaters are would need to be drywalled and sealed up.

Oliver’s solution

Oliver felt very nervous about using any of the electric wall heaters in his house. He called around for repair estimates to see what it would take to get started. Since it was still winter and very cold Oliver would have to relocate until the repairs could be finished. With the cold temperatures, he was looking at being relocated for quite a while.

After speaking with several contractors and heating specialists the cost of repairs started to rise. New heating system would cost approximately. $6,000, $8000 for new wiring,$2700 for wall repair, and the cost of relocating in addition to the repairs really started to add up to more than Oliver could handle.

Oliver decided to do more research online to see what solutions he could find for his situation. While researching, Oliver came across Akin Developers. He saw that Akin offers a no-cost, no-obligation offer for homes in almost any condition. Oliver decided to reach out to us and see if Akin could help him. After his initial phone conversation, we set up a meeting to take a look at his home. We met with Oliver and after inspecting his home, we offered a fair price for the home in its current condition, which Oliver accepted. Oliver’s house closed in about 10 days. He was able to use the money from the sale of his home to relocate permanently without having to worry about repairs.


Smoke damage, health issues, structural damage, loss of property, and displacement are just some of the issues that can arise with home fire damage. Checking your smoke detectors frequently can help minimize the damage. Have a smoke detector above the door of every bedroom in your home and all other living areas. Get into the habit of checking them with the time change every year. Keep a fire extinguisher in your home and learn how to use it properly. Checking fireplaces and heating systems with the season change. These are all good ways to help prevent fires in your home.

Should you find yourself in Oliver’s situation and need to sell your home quickly for cash-whether with fire damage, electrical issues, structural damage, distress, or in perfect condition-contact us here at Akin Developers and see what we can do for you too.

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