17 December 2014

Losses and Lessons: Ready, hay … barn fire!

VEHICLE: 1949 Ford F-1 pickup truck

WHAT WENT WRONG: We recently heard about a barn fire that escalated so quickly that there was no stopping it – and, believe it or not, things got worse. The owner of a 1949 Ford F-1 pickup truck walked to the barn where he was storing his ride, started up the truck and let it idle for a few minutes while he returned to the house. When he went back outside, the barn – which also contained 30 bales of hay – was engulfed in flames.

DAMAGE/LOSS: The barn and its contents were completely destroyed. Fire officials concluded that the F-1 backfired – perhaps because a small animal had built a nest in the exhaust pipe – and the spark ignited the hay. The truck owner had purchased the newly restored pickup for $40,000 only three months prior and, sadly, he hadn’t insured it yet.

LESSON: Several lessons can be learned from this sad tale. If your vehicle has been sitting for a significant length of time, take a moment to check the exhaust pipes and peek under the hood for any sign that animals have taken up residence. Need to step away from your idling car or truck? Pull it outside or, at the very least, make sure the door of the building is open and nothing flammable is close by. And insure your vehicle as soon as you buy it. It’s a critical step to protect yourself against an accident. Even the most cautious owners aren’t immune to mishaps.

9 Reader Comments

  • 1
    MrInsBrokerSF San Francisco Bay Area December 31, 2014 at 16:32
    Very sadly, people are capable of convincing themselves of whatever is most convenient. Insurance is a hassle - well who needs it, we never had a claim? Store your new baby in the barn with no fire protection? No problem until it is. Start her up inside instead of rolling her outside first? What could go wrong? Being thoughtful, and careful, and buying some really good, and really inexpensive Classic Car Insurance, may not be such a bad idea? Another idea is for all of you who are insured to check your values in case they have fallen behind current market value for your cars. Happy New Year!
  • 2
    E Fenwick Charleston SC December 31, 2014 at 16:36
    "Ignorance is fixable, stupid is permanent"!
  • 3
    Ron Fink Hamburg NY December 31, 2014 at 16:45
    What a terrible loss. I insured my 54 Ford the day I purchased it,even though it need restoration. It's cheap peace of mind.
  • 4
    Ron Wheeler Oregon December 31, 2014 at 16:50
    I won't say anything about this person, he speaks for his self! Duh!!!!
  • 5
    John Curtis Spartanburg,SC January 1, 2015 at 06:16
    I had a 1950 pickup like this many,many years ago,in upstate NY,It was a beater,sold it in the 70s for $100,believe it still exists out there somewhere.It was very much modified by the the guy i sold it to,then he passed and it went to another.Its a sad story,but S---t happens I guess.
  • 6
    Weldon Knape Sun Lakes, AZ January 1, 2015 at 21:20
    It pays to insure right away. While this is nothing like a total loss, just before starting the 400 mile trip home with my newly purchased 1986 TVR 280i, I called Hagerty to insure my "new" baby. It ran beautifully up to the last 45 miles when it died at the side of I10. One more call to Hagerty and the nice lady arranged for a flat bed to get my TVR and me the rest of the trip home, at no cost. There are two morals to this story. Get insurance immediately and have that new purchase shipped instead of trying to drive it home.
  • 7
    Duane mrazek United States January 1, 2015 at 10:08
    I put steel wool in my exhaust pipes if car is going to sit for a week or more,it takes about 10 seconds to do.
  • 8
    Smitty550 Santa Rosa, CA January 1, 2015 at 11:45
    Thanks for the reminder. I own a '49 F-1 pickup and would hate to lose it due to my own negligence. From now on, it idles on the street instead of the garage.
  • 9
    Tom C, Michigan January 3, 2015 at 11:00
    Looks just like my 1950 F-1. Or, it did. Not to worry though, it's insured by Hagerty, and no hay around it.

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