Back Yard Smoking…

With everything going on the world, with the pandemic I was excited to find a large brisket (close to 20 lbs.) at my local Kroger. I typically do overnight smokes, and always watch the weather prior to smoking. Weather looked good Friday night so I started the brisket about 8:30 PM and it was a good smoke that finished at 11:00 AM. I shut the vents on the smoker and went about my business of the day. We have a storm approaching that night, with expected straight line winds, heavy rain. At 7:30 PM I broke down the smoker (8.5 hours after shutting it down). The smoker was not even warm to the touch. I cleaned the smoker and dumped the ash in a garbage can in my detached garage when I put the smoker away.

The weather was expected about 9:00 PM, and luckily I was still awake in my office, although my family was already in bed after a long day. My RING doorbell went off and immediately, there was a pounding directly on my door, even though I have a glass screen door in front of it. My dogs were going nuts, I hurried downstairs and while attempting to gather my 2 50+ pound dogs who were going nuts, I screamed through the door, “who the hell are you and what do you want”. The voice on the other said, said I am your neighbor and your garage is on fire. My wife and daughter were now awake from the commotion, I ran to the kitchen to see my detached garage fully engulfed with flames reaching 20 feet above the structure.

Thank God, that my neighbor noticed the fire and called 911 prior to knocking on my door. Fire department was there within 5 minutes. By that time the house was in danger as the flames for 40-50 feet in the air. The fire department told me we were within two minutes of losing the house. The fire was so hot it melted the side and back of my house as well as neighbors house.

Morning brought the realization of what had taken place. Total devastation but we survived with our lives. I lost my detached garage, my car, my golf clubs, bikes, tools smokers… Although never a good time for something like this to happen, during covid was definitely not the right time.

Geico insured my car and they we easy to deal with. They hauled off the totaled car and gave me a check within 7 days. Liberty Mutual was my insurance company for the property and were a complete nightmare to deal with. They would not even send an adjuster on site, it was up to me to figure out how to get it repaired/replaced and then it took months to receive any money. Once the check came it was made out to my mortgage company, my wife and I and the contractor. No mater what paperwork was provided Freedom Mortgage would not give my the money. Ultimately, I submitted a small payment that when coupled with the repair check cleared the mortgage.

The repair process was a nightmare,. it took close to 5 months to get the house repaired. The garage rebuild took close to 8 months from the day of the fire. All in all, it turned out to be the most expensive brisket I’ll ever smoke, at close to $100K.

The next post details the rebuild and repair.

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