Saturday, February 14, 2009


The house across the street burned (partway) to the ground last night, unbeknownst to us (although the dogs did bark a lot). The article here and Paul's chat with the fire marshall this morning raise more questions than they answer: 1) Why would you have a ceramic heater going in an empty house? 2) How in the world do you derive an assessment of $145K on a house that you can replace with an investment of $30K?

When I first moved here, this house, which is politely described as "ranch-style" in the article, was barely a hovel, approximately one room in size, and inhabited by a very old man who did not take kindly to visitors. I believe it stands where there was once a one-room schoolhouse, and perhaps some part of the house was that original structure. After he died in the house, it was taken over by a woman with several apparently unrelated children and then three or four years ago by the Thomases and their son. They made several improvements, expanding the house by a couple of rooms, adding siding, etc. Still, there is no way in the world $145K is a reasonable assessment for something that is smaller than most trailers and sits on a swamp. If there's a septic system, it's certainly illegal.

I'm glad the Thomases were out of there. I hope they found a better situation, and I really hope there's nothing suspicious about the fire.

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