Fire in the house : (

DgreenROctober 12, 2009

There was a fire in my kitchen on wed night. The kitchen is basically destroyed and the rest of the house is covered in thick black soot. Everyone except for the dog is okay, but she seems like she will recover.

I don't think any of the orchids or other plants that were in the kitchen are alive even though the flames didn't reach them. However, some of the other plants in the dining room seem to be damaged, but still alive. I had a handful of orchids, ferns, and a chiflera (sp) plant that is at least 15 years old. Some of the waxy orchids seem almost unharmed, but most of the plants have significant wilting including the large chiflera. I thought that once the fire was out out, the plants wouldn't continue to decline so quickly, but I was wrong. I watered them as soon as I could. I am planning to take all of the plants outside and hose them down. I will also trim back the damaged parts. Unfortunately I cannot leave the plants outside due to nighttime frost, but I have a heated coldframe for now.

Please let me know if anyone has any suggestions on how to care for the plants and nurse them back to health. I have a million other things to deal with, but I love my plants and their survival seems time sensitive.



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Hi I just wanted to say, so sorry this all happened to you and glad no one was hurt and I hope your dog will be ok..and I hope you get your house back in order and soon..
as for the plants how hot did they get get, I know that high heat will kill a plants...the plants just dry up because of the heat...good luck...linda

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 9:51AM
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Dan...I am so sorry too..:-( :-(.

I hope everything works out for ya..

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 1:37PM
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So sorry for your loss....and since the kitchen was as badly damaged as you say, I'm surprised the plants survived as good as they did.....considering how firefighters, once inside a home with hoses to extingush a fire, are not all that careful about whether a plant stays safe or not.
Evidently the heat didn't reach them and for the most part survived rather well.

They might do better by given a thorough watering.....say, in the bathtub or laundry tub; joining a number of them and being watered together, draining together.
All except the orchid, which should be given individual care.

I'm rather surprised though, you've lost your kitchen....and you're concerned about some plants.

Take pictures, lots of pictures...for the insuranceman....and include your plants which have some value to you.
Smoke damage, which must have gotten into other rooms, may be a problem. And clothes, if in a closet near to the kitchen, they will have suffered smoke damage which is also covered.
And floors, and ceilings, and fixtures......
and you're worried about some plants!

Sorry, I'm a bit surprised.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 6:10PM
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Jeannie, I am not suprised...

I once had a thunderstorm rip through my yard and destroy my swing set, my shrubs, by garage roof, and damamged my car. Do you know what I was worried about more than all these while I was at work? My house plants!

To me, they are just as important as my pets,and my belongings, and to be honest, I have more affection for my plants than for my cat or garage.

There is cetimental value in small and big things to everyone, little things, that for some reason we would feel lost without and hard to replace.

And since Dan has an appreciation not just for his cat or home, which by the way, he probably would of gone to a pet or home forum and express his concern for those too, he came to a "plant forum" looking for support and advice about those..

So please, show some empathy, and don't make him look like his plants were just the only things that mattered, but here on this forum they did. That is why this forum exists.

You understand right?

By the way you did say something to help him out, to take pictures..:-)

Take care..


    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 6:27PM
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gobluedjm strike out again...

How many house fires have you been in and watched fireman work. I seriously doubt any. That's a rhetorical question so don't bother answering. Those fireman managed to save his home and for you to say they are careless you couldn't be more wrong. Also Dan stated he has a million other things to deal with and his plants are one of them. I am not surprised at all of his concern. Unless you have a copy of his insurance policy you have no idea what is covered. I am quite sure he is aware of the smoke damage let along water damage which is actually worse.

Dan, Having seen wildfires here in southern CA and how things come back, just cuz they look dead on top, the root balls might be fine depending on the type of plant and how long the heat lasted. Clean them up as you stated you would do and you probably shouldn't fertilize them until after seeing much improvment including new growth.
You might want to take cuttings if you can just to be sure.
Sorry about your loss and I really hope your pet will be ok.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 7:22PM
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Gobluedjm....How many house fires have you been in and watched fireman work. I seriously doubt any. That's a rhetorical question so don't bother answering. Those fireman managed to save his home and for you to say they are careless you couldn't be more wrong.

Oh, I had to answer, rhetorical it is not, you suggest something which was inflammatory...and I think you know to clear a point.......hubby is a fire captain. I showed him this message, and he agreed, firefighters do show care of personal property.....but the idea is to put the fire cause as less damage as is possible.
Water damage, smoke damage, cleanup damage, is all there.
How the writer put the message suggested it was a major fire....gutting the kitchen.
Surely, such intensity of fire would have caused damage to other rooms....and plants within a room are not something that a firefighter is concerned about.
Plants can be replaced so easily, and while other furniture can also, there are pieces of furniture that are more important and one of the first things the salvage crew does is throw tarpaulins over anything and everything it can without getting in the way of proper extingushment.

I have a very old philo....I don't really know how old it is....pretty old, but if my kitchen were on fire, that plant would be amongst the things I would not be concerned about....there are, in my home, more important things to have thoughts about.
Some things are just given up as a lost cause...and since plants would not be easy to cover, unless they are removed from the premises, they are sacrificed.

Firefighters will go out of their way to save persons and pets, but a plant is as far removed from what they look at, as how much smoke is going up the chimney.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 12:06PM
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Seems to me you BOTH care alot for Dan's situation and that is what is nice.....

So let's keep this thread going on a positive and upbeat note, and remember this is about our views, but about Dan, and what he is asking for here....

Dave, I hope it is all working out for you man....House, pet, and PLANTS!...If you would like a little something green I have extra of, just e-mail me..ok
I will send one out to you for a smile.....

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 12:25PM
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God....My spelling rots!!!!!!!!!!I have yet to write one post without a spelling error, even after looking over it...And I went to

I meant to say "this is NOT about our views, but about Dan, and what he is asking for".....Sorry for the mistype.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 12:30PM
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Jeannie, I NEVER said fireman were not careful or careless about property. YOU DID! You need to re-read!
You have no idea how much respect I have for them!
DO NOT put words on my keyboard that I did not say!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 1:58PM
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Jeanne, if you even respond in any way except to help Dan, I will totally loose respect for you for loosing respect for this thread and Dan..
Many have lost respect for you in the past, if you can't tell, and now is a chance to redeem your self, no matter how wronged you feel. I havn't yet. Be a duck and let it roll off your back like rain. And you could use a little more tact when posting. Sometimes you come across the wrong way as many do, but you more so although meaning well, ok..Show the adult side of you..Please.

Also gobledjm....Please, remember this is about Dan, not saving face or trying to prove oneself right wrong by another! Or did you BOTH not even get my point earlier?

Now take this negativity, or bickering away from this thread and do it in private, for this threads sake and not an embarresment to Dan or to ourselves...Please!

Moving on...... Now does anyone else here have any compassion for Dan, suggestions, while he is in this unlucky predicament? He says it is time sensitive..

If not, then what a shame..!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 3:18PM
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Mike, I understood your point but in no way is anyone going to slam me because they either can't read english or misunderstood.
I gave Dan my advice but only time will tell if the plants survive. There really isn't much you can do except clean them up, hope for best and take cuttings as I suggested.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 3:38PM
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There is no way anyone else here misunderstood you, and you were so kind to care for Dan..

What counts is the ones that didn't, especially Dan himself..

Take care for now..:-)

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 5:03PM
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Way to go Mike, you certainly know what is important and what is not important to you.
Your kids, your important papers, your special personal items are not thought of.....
you think first of your plants.

I must say though I think your testament to this fact is among one in a million.

Just think of that Mike, you're one in a million.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 6:09PM
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Now the attacks are getting personal.

This is about our love for plants, and I admit, we can get fanatical, but NO PLANT is more important than human life and love for our neighbors.

I was moved by Dan's plight and completely understood his concerns. Unfortunately when my phrasing does not meet with the approval of certain individuals the daggers are quick in coming. If possible, let us all agree to show empathy and not condemnation because we will quickly lose the purpose and benefits this forum provides.


    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 8:10PM
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