Suffering a house fire is a devastating experience. Each year, $8.6 billion in property loss is estimated due to fires, according to FEMA. When the damage is severe, countless precious belongings are lost, depriving the owners of a portion of their lives. However in many cases, there are a select few items that withstand the inferno. The average house fire burns at a temperature of about 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit, which isn’t hot enough to destroy most metals and earthly-made substances. And if an item is well-placed and small in size, its chances of survival increase drastically. Below is a list of things that are often found intact underneath the rubble during the aftermath of a house fire.
Conditions that contributed to the Oakland Hills fire 25 years ago re-emerge
For Jim and Veronica Harris, the morning of Oct. 20, 1991, in the hills just above Oakland, Calif., was hot, dry and ominously windy. From the third-story balcony of their home on Estates Drive, they watched as a tall cloud of gray and black smoke marched steadily toward them. Soon, they began to see pine trees literally explode from the heat. “We looked at it and turned to each other and said, ‘This doesn’t look good,’ so we started packing,” said Veronica Harris, a retired nurse and speech pathologist who now lives in Denver.