by Charlotte Barrett and John Watts, Jr.
The James Breed
House, a circa 1848
rowhouse located in
suffered a major fire in
early 1985 which
severely damaged the
interior, including the
main stairs (inset).
While fire poses a serious threat to all
buildings, historic structures undergoing
rehabilitation are particularly vulnerable.
The wood is dry with age and
easily ignited. Tools used in preservation
work often create sparks or flames,
and flammable debris is a common byproduct.
The electrical service may be
antiquated and unequipped to handle
present-day demands during and after
rehabilitation. Protective barriers may
be removed for replacement or
breached for access to utilities. Rehabilitation
may be the most hazardous
time in the life of a building.
To safeguard against