Open Door

Open Door
Indianapolis, Indiana

Friday, September 13, 2013

Toad's Garage

A little over a week ago my Grandma was walking to the store and fell on her way home. A trip to the ER cleared her, but two days later another trip to the ER showed that she has four very badly broken ribs. This has complicated life a bit since she is at risk for falls as long as she is taking pain medicine and she has to take it so that she can breathe deeply and not get pneumonia. It’s mostly been three of us staying with her and most nights are mine.

So last Friday morning (September 6th) found me at her apartment waiting for Eric to pick me up so I could go to the office. Just before Eric pulled in to the apartment complex he got a call from a neighbor telling him that the garage at Toad Hall was on fire and they had already called 911.

We headed straight over to the house and could see a large cloud of smoke before anything else. There was a police officer parked in front and a bunch of fire trucks blocking Brookville Road. There were several ladies standing in the driveway who live in our neighborhood and who had also called in the emergency. (I am sorry to say that I was so distracted that I do not remember their names or where they live. If you know who this is please let us know so that we can thank them properly!) IFD already had the blaze well under control but the garage was partly collapsed and a total loss.

We were there for several hours that day and my Dad stayed all day to make sure that no hot spots reignited. The arson investigator and detective spent quite a while looking things over and talking with us. They were incredibly kind and offered what help they could.

Unfortunately the garage was not structurally sound and had been condemned so no insurance company would insure it until it was restored to good condition. We had plans to do so, but were focusing on the Bungalow and stabilizing the Horner House first. 

 September 6th just after IFD left.

This is after Eric and Dad pulled down most of the remaining structure as it was ready to fall at any moment.

Earlier this week I called IPL to find out what the cost would be to repair the security light and for the other repairs they had to complete on the power lines that run directly behind the garage. We were very thankful to find out that the repairs to the security light are covered in our monthly fee and the other repairs will not be billed to us. It was arson, but I was still happy to hear that we would not have to absorb this additional cost.

 This is the power pole and security light behind the garage.

AT&T also has been out. They have to cut some trees to get to the main line and repair the line that runs to the Bungalow. Unless they worked from the property behind us I didn’t see where this had been completed yet. But I was not there when they stopped by and may have missed seeing the repair.
 It’s not obvious, but right in the center of the picture you can see the charred phone line that runs to the Bungalow.

One of the questions that we were continuously asked by IFD and the investigators was what was in the garage. We had stowed one of the radiators from the house in the garage way back before we even purchased the property. It had been hanging from the second floor in the back and finally fell out where it could be reached. So, we moved it to the garage where the scavengers wouldn’t find it. Otherwise the garage was full of junk. Trash bags and barrels and other junk and we didn’t want to know what it was! Our plan was to eventually rent a dumpster and empty the place, but not before fixing the rafters.

After Eric and Dad had collapsed the other end of the garage they very bravely opened the barrels to see what was in there. Flower pots.

While the last two weeks have been difficult, they could have been significantly worse. The fire was caught early and didn’t spread to any other buildings including the neighbor’s houses, the Bungalow, or Toad Hall. The contractor has agreed to clean up the site and for around the same cost Dad had estimated for us to do the work ourselves. No one, including the responders, was hurt. There are many more reasons to be thankful.

This last picture is from just outside the steps of the Bungalow. There is a figurine on the concrete that speaks for me. Bad things may have happened in the last weeks, but



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