Sean Jennings - Valley Fire
(Photographs show just how intense the heat that swept through the Valley Fire area)
"I always wanted to build my own home, so 7 years ago I did my research and found the SCIP Panels met ALL my needs.
My lot was in the forest, so I needed fire resistance. I live 6 miles from the largest geothermal power plant in the world so I get 3-3.5 magnitude earthquakes regularly, and am close enough to major fault lines that a 5-6 magnitude is not impossible. And last but not least termites and other pests are always a factor. All the studies and testing showed that 3D Structural Panels were up for the job. It turns out the area I was in was a risk score of 12. Farmers won't insure anything above a 6 and most companies won't go over 4/5.
Sure enough the Valley fire which burned over 1000 homes hit my house too. Not just a glancing blow, but straight on middle of the firestorm. FINALLY, a product that lives up to (or even exceeds) it's advertising. My house did not come out unscathed (I lost all the windows, and because of a garage door failure I lost all the contents of my garage), but the $50,000 $75,000 repair and cleaning bill is nothing compared to the $400,000+ of a total loss.
The engineer came out 3 days after we were cleared to enter the fire area and certified the house structurally sound (heck, the cantilevered deck had NO cracks where it joins the house, so even though it was directly in the fire's path it did not sag a millimeter). The Styrofoam insulation was even intact everywhere it was not exposed to open flame (such as in the garage where my window frames burned).
During the cleanup I had over a half dozen fire chiefs and dozens of fire fighters stop by to help and also take a tour of the house that had survived. EVERY single one of them commented on how remarkable and amazing it was that my house was standing, much less that ALL of our belongings were intact (including the frilly curtains my wife installed in the bedroom). More than one stated "I know what I am building my next house out of."
I am currently in the cleanup stage and the panels are proving their worth again. The garage was coated in a thick layer of soot from all those burning tools (whimper), paints and appliances. A couple of hours with a pressure washer and 80% of the work is done (go ahead, TRY and pressure wash a sheetrock wall). There are still signs of the fire (discoloration, melted plastic fused to the concrete, etc.), but most will disappear with a coat of paint, or be relatively easy to chip off. I expect to be back in my house within a month instead of just starting reconstruction."