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n January 17, 2007 during a 2 day power outage, I had a chimney/partition fire which could have been a lot worse than it was. At 4am, I awoke to see a tiny hole in the wall which was glowing red. I promptly called 911 after ripping off some of the drywall and seeing the fire was up into the next floor. The firefighters showed up in 20 minutes. They ended up having to cut a hole in the roof next to the masonry chimney and put another hole in the side of my house. They also had to gut some of the wall in the guest bedroom above the living room. Luckily the insulation slowed the fire down but it wasn't far from getting into the attic, where I am told, it would have gotten out of control. They said 15 minutes more and the house would have been history.

Apparently my chimney, which was built back in 1968, was built incorrectly. It didn't have a proper 8 inches of brick around it's smoke chamber (the hottest part of a chimney). To make things worse, who ever framed around it, put normal plywood right up against the brick instead of leaving the proper 2 inches of space and using a fire rated material.

The insurance company was pretty fast in getting over to the scene (within 48 hours) and the adjustor printed me off a check right then and there. Interestingly enough, they gave me enough money to redo the whole front roof of my house. This set the wheels in my mind going about doing extra stuff. After I had the roof done 2 1/2 years ago, I regretted not doing dormers on the front of the house a few months later. I thought, here was my chance. I got a quote from one of the fire fighter, Frank Pochopin, who also did construction and it seemed very reasonably priced. Frank owns Frank's Affordable Dreams Construction. I do not recommend his services.

Anyways, The quote included my idea of doing two 4 foot wide dormers but it also included his idea of doing a third one in the middle that would be 8 foot wide. I gave him the go ahead and worked began on January 24, 2007. I also got a quote from him for putting in a master bathroom. Unfortuately, I will had to move the closet I built previously. It just made a lot more sense to put a new bathroom in where the dormer would go. It just seemed like a waste to put a dormer with a window inside a closet.

Frank drew me up some plans for the bathroom layout which got changed a few times. I think in the end, the best plans won out. At first I planned on doing a separate bath tub and shower but in the end went with a one piece with better fixtures.

<- Here is a picture of the aftermath of one of my Affordable Dreams problems. I woke up on Christmas Eve 2008 to find this. The biggest stain is 6'x6'. There are actually 6 different locations of leaks.

 

December 2007- April 2009 - Right from the get go in April 2007, the roof leaked because he pulled his standing plaftorm off, which left holes in the roof. Frank ignored my calls so I got up there and I had to fix it myself with some caulk. 9 months after the project finished and well within the his warranty, the roof started leaking from under one of the dormers. Frank repeatedly ignored my phone calls to fix it and I didn't get him to show up and actually look until I told him about my plans for the kitchen project. After I told him, he called me back in 2 minutes. He showed up in August 2008 and "fixed" something but it leaked again in December 2008, except this time it was MUCH worse. This go around, it was underneath all three dormers plus the fireplace. Basically, anywhere he installed flashing. I called him and he said he would be right over. Just like the year before but, surprise surpise, he never showed. I called him again and he said wait 6 months. In the meantime, I got another estimate because I figured it was wise to get another opinion on problem/solution since Frank was obviously had a bad track record. The estimate I got was for $1,800. I texted Frank to his phone and he said "Sorry to hear that, I no longer do residential work, only commerical." Seriously though, if you were me, would you let him touch your house again anyways? He said it was also out of warranty. 30 year shingles............. and I didn't even get 1 year out of it before it leaked. I think out of the last 24 months though, 12 of those were waiting on him to show up and actually perform some sort of repair. Oh, surrpise out of warranty now! I had to remove all of the siding on all of the dormers and wrap fire and ice membrance around them, then reinstall the siding so it was lower to the roof shingles. This seemed to fix the problem. A second estimate I got to fix the problem was for $4500. That estimate was going to reshingle the whoel front of my house which was the only sure fire way for the guy to know he solved the problem.

Other facts about Frank Pochopin and Frank's Affordable Dreams during this project:
- He burned a hole in my hardwood floors at the bottom of the stairs (and damn well could have burned my house down, again) running a heater all day because he froze the pipes in my house one night.
- Installed the vent for the shower fan not to code. He left it venting onto the floor of the attic and never hooked it up to anything.
- Two ceramic tiles he installed for my bathroom came loose 6 months after installation.
- Immediately after finishing the job, the roof leaked because he left holes in the shingles from his plaftorm and he never showed up to fix it.
- He hit the side of my garage doorway with his truck and broke the wood.
- He cut into my well's 200amp wiring when installing the bathroom drain pipe. This almost killed an electrician a year later who was rewiring the kitchen and touched the wire.
- The vinyl soffits he installed come off every time the wind blows hard.

UPDATE - December 2010 - I added another closet into my master bathroom. The dimensions are 15" x 22". I made it to match the other closet door. Frank originally was going to install a closet next to the shower but ran out of time and wanted more money to do it. I declined. He did frame it so I broke down the drywall covering the area and drywall the 3 sides and made a door to match the other small closet in the room.

Fire RepairFire Damage PicturesWeek 1 PicturesWeek 2 PicturesWeek 3 PicturesWeek 4 PicturesWeek 5 PicturesNext Page
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Start date of reconstruction: 1/24/2007
Initial Completion date: 3/3/2007
Frank came back to fix leaks: 8/20/2008
Re-sided the dormers and installed more fire/ice shield to stop leaks: 4/24/2009
Added another closet to my master bathroom: 12/19/2010