What's new
What's new

Need advice - Bad fire damage

Sorry to hear wow... if it were me I would walk away take ins money and focus on getting going asap.

If by chance you can buy the Brother mill for cheap then do it.

Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I think just walk away and restart as best I can with new machines. I can't see spending the next year reconditioning fire damaged machines. I gotta be making money to stay in business. Also, with the amount of toxic crap that's on everything, I'm trying to not go back in there. Talked to wife last night. I've been home alone with 3yo for all of this. She doesn't want me messing with stuff in there. I smoked for enough years..

I was like, after the assessor comes by, I'll rent a 3ph generator and see if they start up. Her point was that won't be enough info to know if they are ok. She's right. Bearing cars might each take a huge gulp of toxic crap, seals will be gone in no time, then all the bearings shot. So, I think I'm going for the hands off route.

I feel like this building burned down as an "accident" although I'm sure that would never be proven. Old building with issues. New owners recently.. repainted and doubled all the rents. Still lots of open units. An accident would solve a lot of their problems. I feel bad for the firefighters having to breathe that crap. I can still taste it from just a couple hours out there 2 days ago. Leasing agent offered me a couple free months of rent on a huge and overpriced unit. Hmm, that building might burn down accidentally too I suppose. Looking for a new location.

Thanks for the advice all.

What's the vinegar trick? Just soak rusted parts in white vinegar before oiling them up? Thanks
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Good luck with the restart. Let us know how your INS company comes thru for you. Hopefully you have good news to report in the near future.
 
What's the vinegar trick? Just soak rusted parts in white vinegar before oiling them up? Thanks
Sorry to hear about that fire :(
Yes, just dont forget the parts in the vinegar, A buddy had a beautiful small anvil that he wanted to clean, forgot about it for a couple weeks and it was pretty badly eaten into, ruined the anvil if that is even possible to believe.
So dont leave parts in to long. Drop in the vinegar in the morning and then check at lunch. My bet would be that is enough time since your parts have not had time to get really deep bad rust. Couple hours may even do it.
I mainly use vinegar to remove galv off bolts I need to weld onto something, they sit overnight .
Good steel will also hold up a lot better in vinegar than that old cast/wrought iron anvil so if your parts are in there for a day or two they will probably be fine.
 
Having gone thru similar - a building collapse, nearly 10 years ago, I can tell you that you should leave everything to the insurance company. Take personal stuff, hand tools, computers, files, etc, but the CNC's and related, I would not touch. You'll have mysterious problems with them, a short while down the road. This is why you pay for insurance.
 
I would second the comment that said, read and re-read every word of your insurance policy.

Sentry is a great company and I'm sure they'll take care of you. A shop local to me burnt down and Sentry was was top notch.

That said....you have dutifully paid your insurance premiums and you should receive everything that's entitled to you. Don't do you insurance company any favors.

You're most likely covered for business loss of income amongst other things.

Your equipment may be capped at $220k but you may be entitled to much more.

I had my personal residence burn down and we used a public adjustor to hand-hold and get us everything we were entitled to. They took 10% of the claim. I'm sure they paid for themselves.

I don't think you need a public adjuster because Sentry is reputable but it is something to think about.
 
we are about 16 months into rebuilding from a major fire we lost all 10 of our cncs at first you are going to be pumped up on adrenaline trying to get those machines out and then after a little time its going to sit in that they are going to be toast. we weren't allowed to touch ours for over 30 days and by that time everything was rusted and corroded badly the heat and smoke just destroy everything.

I was able to strip down some cnc parts I knew I would use down the road and keep as spare parts but besides that most of the main machinery was toast. Evaporust will be your friend can't tell you how many gallons of this stuff we've went through for anything steel related to clean up the rust. Sooner you start soaking the more you can salvage.

Good luck it was very hard getting through the first 30 days as things start sinking in how the hell you are going to keep the business moving. We didn't make a single part for 60 days til we got our first replacement machine.

Insurance in our case was not a stellar experience money trickled in slowly and everything seemed to have to be proven over and over and over again. We are still not wrapped up with trying to get insurance money 16+ months later....

its been hell but stay positive and you'll rebuild and start another chapter. the downtime did allow us to really look at the past and mistakes and plan for those starting from scratch again. we ended up rebuilding on a college beer budget pretty much the same recipe we had for the original shop.

we joke about it now but between a couple years of covid that were very rough for us then getting taken out by a fire the next major disaster we have to go through i'm out and going back to work for the man!
 
Man, so sorry about your shop! This has to be every shop owner's worst nightmare.

As said, unless you could buy your machines from the insurance company for dirt cheap---just as backups to refurb and tinker with over time, you don't want those machines. That much water and smoke damage has totaled them.

Oh, don't use vinegar unless you have to, instead get a few gallons of EvapoRust. You can soak rusty tools as long as you want, it doesn't hurt them. The longer they soak, they take-on a nice black finish kind-of like gun bluing. It's water-based, so it's not harmful to use.

And you can reuse the EvapoRust. Actually the more you use it, the darker it gets and the more it will darken your tools...which I like.
 
Last edited:
get a few gallons of EvapoRust. You can soak rusty tools as long as you won't
One caution. Make sure the parts are fully immersed. The way EvapoRust works, it can etch a line at the "water line" if you leave things partially immersed. In a pinch, I have wrapped shop towels around a large or awkward part, and made sure the towels did not dry out.
 
I had a fire on the farm a few years ago and lost my packshed and learned more than I wanted to know about co-insurance and what is covered and not covered, what is part of the structure and what is considered contents in the building. Make sure you understand the definitions your insurance company uses and if your agent is any good, mine was excellent, lean on them to understand how to classify things and how to file your claim. One thing I did was to make sure as I was submitting my claim, that it was kept open until we had everything in the dumpster that was going in the dumpster as there were a lot of things in the building that we had kind of forgotten about. We ended up doing OK though and received enough from the claim to rebuild and pretty much replace all of the essential equipment.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ox
Discussed more with my agent. Seems like when you get into co-insurance penalty territory it does take a bite. So, it's not just a payout cap, it's a further penalty on top of the cap, so not good. Speedio prices have gone up. Hopefully Ellison will be helpful. Haven't heard a peep from them since I bought the lathe 2 years ago. Inflation on these and others might put me over my limit. I'm just hoping I can get the mill and lathe again and find a space to start over. Small industrial spaces are tough to find here. I appreciate the advice.
 
Discussed more with my agent. Seems like when you get into co-insurance penalty territory it does take a bite. So, it's not just a payout cap, it's a further penalty on top of the cap, so not good. Speedio prices have gone up. Hopefully Ellison will be helpful. Haven't heard a peep from them since I bought the lathe 2 years ago. Inflation on these and others might put me over my limit. I'm just hoping I can get the mill and lathe again and find a space to start over. Small industrial spaces are tough to find here. I appreciate the advice.

It's crazy to think There's maybe a mil or so in my shop, tools and machines spread over a couple decades. But wipe it all out and force me to replace it all to get back going in a few months? It would cost several times that, easily.

It sounds nice to get a clean start with new machines, but I think that would cost way more than a 1/4 mil for many shops.
 
Excluding the issue of business interruption/income which is critical, providing the loss is covered it might prove to be sort of liberating to set the clock with a check and an equipment shopping list.
Often times around here some business hungry towns/villages step up with incentives to try and snag relocations.
 
Yeah, I'm liking the idea of two new machines, new tools, tables, etc. Just gotta hope my coverage covers it. I have crap in there I've been dragging around for years. Fortunately, a lot is personal, so won't drive up my total replacement cost number. I'm small, so if I can find a new place and land a couple machines quickly, I could be back in a couple months. We'll see. I still have my toolbelt and circular saw, so I guess I can go frame houses instead ;)
 
One thing I can say is when you replace all your tools in one go what you end up with is a lot more organized and thought out. Losing all of my machines is when I made the jump to cnc.
 
Too many memories, had a fire make its way into my building some years ago. I was extremely lucky and insurance company was top-notch in working with me to get back up and running ASAP.
Getting back up and running ASAP is paramount. Even the best customers will only be willing to wait so long for their orders before having to look elsewhere. So to try and get your machines back online and keep them there...the downtime can kill your business.
I lost 1 business day getting a generator here as my power lines were down and would be down for months. We made parts with broken windows, doors and a new roof going in. We made parts having to carry material and finished parts out to the street as our driveway was loaded with debris and later heavy equipment.

Your a machine shop, make parts, don't waste your time being a machine builder and machine technician. That is the best advice I can offer.
 
Sorry to hear. Good luck.

We went through this in 2016. We lost a lot of equipment. Cnc wood router, an older Traub cnc lathe, and plenty of other equipment. Vises turned into hunks of rust. I still have them stored away and am planning to soak them in de-ruster and rebuild them one day. My Fadal went through the fire. It survived, but wether caused by the fire or just coincidence it ended up needing a spindle a few months after I got it running again. It had all the fluids drained and replaced, and is still black on top of all the sheet metal, that just wouldn't clean off. The insurance company made a deal with us on Fadal, that they would cover any repairs for the first year after we got it running again, related to fire/smoke damage.

The wood router and lathe were scrapped and replaced with new ( we had replacement insurance on our equipment)

We had to wait for the building to be rebuilt, took 2 years and had half the business moved to a temporary location during this time, while the other half was able to work out of the old shop still after some major cleaning.

We had to quickly get everything we could out of the fire area that we wanted to keep, just me and my family members, because as soon as the workers compensation people heard of the fire, we got locked out of the shop, and no employees were allowed to enter.

Your best bet if you want to get working again, is to cash out for as much as you can and start fresh elsewhere. The restoration company was not interested in us getting back to work, their interest was getting every penny they could from the insurance company. It was sickening the wasted money and time, all while we weren't producing anything.
 
This fire damage situation brings up a question.... when will insurance companies quit insuring small businesses? State Farm and Allstate have announced no new home owner policies in California. News reports from Florida indicating home owner policy rates being quadrupled. These actions are apparently due to losses to insurance companies in those areas.

My car recently sustained parking lot body damage. Agent assured me the claim would not affect my rates since it happened when I wasn't driving. Big surprise, 3 weeks after getting the repair done my rates went up almost 50 bucks a month. Agent said the increase had nothing to do with my claim. Funny thing, my wife's rate on her car of similar value and also perfect driving record didn't go up.
 
This fire damage situation brings up a question.... when will insurance companies quit insuring small businesses? State Farm and Allstate have announced no new home owner policies in California. News reports from Florida indicating home owner policy rates being quadrupled. These actions are apparently due to losses to insurance companies in those areas.

My car recently sustained parking lot body damage. Agent assured me the claim would not affect my rates since it happened when I wasn't driving. Big surprise, 3 weeks after getting the repair done my rates went up almost 50 bucks a month. Agent said the increase had nothing to do with my claim. Funny thing, my wife's rate on her car of similar value and also perfect driving record didn't go up.

Just "coincidence" Insurance companies, love to take our money for the policies but sure hate paying any money out. I am sure the rate increases aren't only do to payouts, but also the interest rate hikes, and lack of them making money on the stock market with our premiums. I know some insurance companies were heavily invested in commercial real estate as well.
 
All y'all that have been through the fire, what has that done to your ability to get insurance after the fact?

First off - I am guessing that in most cases - you were in a wood building, and now in steel?


---------------------

Think Snow Eh!
Ox
 








 
Back
Top