Hello from the Bedford in Cape May, NJ. It has been some time since my last update in May. A lot has happened; some good and some not so good. The electrician came, applied for permits and new service was installed within a couple of days. This allowed the electric company to re-install the electric meters. The electricians were able to isolate approximately 10 circuits which allowed us to have limited electric for the builder’s crew to work.
Also, a number of our antiques have been coming back from the restoration and clean-up process! This has been handled by the Antique Door Knob in West Cape May. All I can say is OMG. They are doing an amazing job: the pieces that were in ground zero now look absolutely stunning. I’ve added some before and after pictures to our Facebook fan page.
On Monday, June 23, the builder’s crew showed up to begin clean-up and demolition. First they had to clean out the last of the debris left by the fire. Samples of the plaster and wood molding were taken so they could be reproduced. Then, they covered the hardwood floors and kitchen floors to protect them from further damage. They also had to remove the front door, which was damaged during the fire, and took it to their shop for the restoration process.
A dumpster was delivered and after a second cleanup the demolition process began. They removed the plaster walls and ceiling in the dining room, Robert’s Room (7), Francis’ Room (8), the damaged area of the Joseph Page Suite on the third floor (10) and my office on the first floor, along with other damaged places throughout the building. Once the walls were opened an inspection was made to evaluate other damages that may have occurred, but were not visible up to that point. This revealed more fire, smoke and water damage. More demolition, clean up and the re-framing process began. As the days past, support walls were built to support the structure, new steel and laminate beams were installed and new walls were framed.
As this was happening, a crew for the painting contractor came and started to strip the wall coverings located throughout the inn for cleaning, sealing and installation of new wall coverings. Carpets were removed and all the exposed wood in the walls and ceiling had to be sealed with a KILZ sealer. This is to block any smoke odors. Again, as the days and weeks past, the shape of the new walls started to look like a structure again.They sprayed inside the building with something that aides in eliminating any remaining smoke odor.
It was now time for the plumber to rough in the plumbing and heating lines and the electrician to rough in the electric lines. The plumbers began the arduous task of figuring out where all the pipes, that were cut in order to remove the hot water heater and boiler, led to. Once they figured that out they started installing new hot and cold water lines along with the drains for the bathrooms. The electricians were hard at work running all the new wire for the hardwired smoke detectors and the new receptacles and junction boxes for the lights and switches. As the Bedford was buzzing like an active bee hive, I was getting a sun tan painting the outside of the inn. The first floor outside porch has been repainted except for the front steps and doors where a lot of activities are still taking place. I am now ready to tackle the second floor outside porch.
Things appeared to be going smoothly until this past Thursday, September 11th. The plumbers were ready to turn the water back on and test the water lines. It didn’t take long before water was pouring out of the ceilings and walls from the leaks caused by frozen pipes. Well, it was zero degrees the day of the fire. Even though we took precautions of draining all the water lines and boilers on the day of the fire; it was so cold that some of the pipes were probably already frozen by the time we started to secure the building. As I was pouring antifreeze into all the toilets and sinks, the antifreeze was simply leaking out all over the floor from pipes that had already broken. As the plumbers proceeded to locate the leaks and open up more walls and ceilings, they discovered that the fire must have traveled in the bays located between the first floor ceiling and the second floor all the way across the building to the east side of the inn. On Friday, September 12th, I had a meeting with the General Contractor and the adjuster from the insurance company. After they went through and accessed the new damage it was determined that the new completion date would probably be February or March of 2015. Well, sometimes it just seems like we take one step forward only to take two steps backward.
All of this has been quite stressful. But between my faith and all the support that you all have given me, the Bedford and I will continue on! I would like to thank each and every person that stopped by during the last few months to say hello and offer their support. Not only was it good to see you but it lifted my spirits and put a smile on my face. Thank you!
VERY LAST MINUTE UPDATE: As of this post it appears that we have cold water working throughout the inn without leaks. YEAH!