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Technical Lost my home in the Camp Fire: Salvage Advice appreciated. :(

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by AD_NAPCO, Dec 9, 2018.

    Joined: Mar 14, 2008
    Posts: 415


    So I was finally able to get into my property this past week. Like far too many people, I lost my home in Paradise, CA to the Camp Fire. It goes without saying that my life long collection of parts, many of them extremely rare, are now ashes, puddles, trash and wadded up bits of sheet metal. I am wondering if I should put any effort into salvaging either of the two complete engines I had in the shop, blocks, heads, etc.
    The one engine in there that has any sentimental value is a 55 1st series Chevy truck 235. Not rare by any means, but it's the original engine to the 55 1st series 3600 NAPCO pickup my dad gave me when I was 17 as payment for a hard ass summer of work that was not supposed to be compensated by anything except building character.
    There is no doubt that this one a seriously hot fire.
    More than anything, I want to know if it's going to be worth my effort to try and pull these heavy pieces out of a difficult to access pile of rubble or if they'd most likely have gotten too hot to salvage anyway.
    Thanks in advance.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  2. v8flat44
    Joined: Nov 13, 2017
    Posts: 726


    I can't advise on salvage, but you sure have my deepest sympathy. Can't begin to comprehend any of what you are dealing with....thank GOD you & loved ones are o k. mike
    Texas57, Latigo, loudbang and 6 others like this.
  3. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,524

    Atwater Mike

    In my experience, the heart-wrenching part of such a loss is the worst part. Also, when I went through a similar fate, I was picking up little 'pieces'...grim reminders of all the rest.
    Leave it.
    Start fresh, (sorry to say it, but it's true) begin anew with something 'obtainable', and go from there.
    Especially when there's sentimental value, it gets very heavy.
    So sorry for your loss! And that of friends and neighbors.
  4. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 3,139


    Sorry for your losses. From what I have been told by a friend who had a bad fire. Nothing is salvageable. The heat changes the metal. You can maybe clean things, but they rust right before your eyes. Snap-on tools bend and stretch out of shape. Heavy iron things are just not the same. They either went soft or got to hard to do anything with.

  5. My condolences on your loss.

    Don't add insult to injury by trying to salvage the engine, I fear you would invest a lot of work & money for nothing substantial. HRP
  6. Cleaning up after a fire takes lots of effort. If it's a strategic and surgical clean up it takes lots of hands assholes and elbows. If it's not that precise it takes machines, horsepower, and containers.
    The first way is prolonged and excruciating pain over months, the second is equally painful but over quickly in hours and new beginnings are sooner
    Woogeroo, chryslerfan55 and mad mikey like this.
  7. Sporty45
    Joined: Jun 1, 2015
    Posts: 953

    from NH Boonies

    Damn sorry to hear this, and I have no idea what to say about your engines, except my condolences over your loss. Glad you are OK, and I hope the rest of your family is too.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  8. ken bogren
    Joined: Jul 6, 2010
    Posts: 854

    ken bogren

    I'd salvage the engine you talked about even if it could never run again.
    Reading the words you wrote about it says the engine means more to you than weather it runs or not. It's a pile of important memories.
  9. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,223


    Walt in VT mentioned on here that you had just evac'd, and you thought it was gone.

    My friend just lost a 180 foot long barn from lightning this summer, 30 vintage tractors, antique cars and trucks, and parts. Nothing was salvageable. Depends on the heat and for how long, and then if it got hit with fire hoses or not. My friends place had a lot of heavy wood to fuel the temps for many hours. Did yours?

    Did you lose the truck and the Olds Rocket/Buick trans stuff too?
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  10. Fitnessguy
    Joined: Sep 28, 2015
    Posts: 1,486


    As the guys have said it would suck to see it all burnt up but you and your family are all standing and that’s what counts. As much as we love our prized possessions we can always get more. I would start fresh as well. The best things often come from the biggest losses.

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
    Dino 64 and chryslerfan55 like this.
  11. ol'skool
    Joined: Nov 13, 2011
    Posts: 6

    from Colorado

    My heart and blessings go out to you and yours. Having been a longtime resident myself, I really can feel your sense of loss as well.
    My thought is recover your 235 as a piece of yard art and move on from the rest. Easy to say and hard to do!
    clem and chryslerfan55 like this.
  12. pwschuh
    Joined: Oct 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,399


    Happy to hear you are OK. Sorry about your stuff. As others have said, as long as you don't expect to get it running and just want to have it around as decoration, go ahead an get it. If you had your heart set on having it run, then just leave it be and find another one.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  13. Maybe the 235 block, heads and crank are salvageable. Depends how hot they got and for how long. I would think a cast iron engine block and heads that had a bunch of burning pine 2 x 4's and plywood fall around it/on it, might not have gotten to a phase-change temperature/and warped, therefore will clean up OK. That's a big heavy hunk of metal, especially if it was over in a corner at some exterior wall.

    17-4 PH machine parts get 1150F for up to 4 hours!. And they are ready to place in service. For cast iron it can be heat treated at 1650F. Doubt if your garage got that hot. But if you are seeing melted aluminum puddles it at least got to 1100F.

    here is some info about house fire peak temperatures.

    Only other comment is: now is the time photograph all the burnt bits where they are situated in the rubble and make a list of what they "were", no insurance adjuster is going to know what he/she is looking at. So that Hilborn injector set or blower case or aluminum L88 head gets properly compensated for, especially if the site gets cleared off or other visitors rummage around. Good luck, sorry to read about this....
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  14. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 7,121


    Leave it all alone and let it go. Brighter days will come your way.
    Digging through the rubble will just be like reliving the entire event.
  15. Ralphies54
    Joined: Dec 18, 2009
    Posts: 749


    When a friend had a barn burn and lost cars, tractors machinery, etc he hired a insurance 'Adjuster' his agent would not have given him half of what the public adjuster got for him.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2018
    alanp561, reagen and Rich S. like this.
  16. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 4,881


    Sorry for your loss. But remember folks are different and respond to things/tragedies in their own way. Grief is personal.... do what YOU want to do.

    ClarkH, chryslerfan55 and mad mikey like this.
  17. BadgeZ28
    Joined: Oct 28, 2009
    Posts: 1,099

    from Oregon

    I am sorry about your loss. It was a tragic disaster that took many lives and ruined others. Save the block. I imagine the sheet metal covers are shot as will as the pan. Pistons might be melted into the block? After you get resettled, tear it down and see what you have.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  18. 1934coupe
    Joined: Feb 22, 2007
    Posts: 4,445


    AD_NAPCO sorry to hear your situation, most importantly you are safe. Take the engines spray it down with oil or paint and put it aside out of the weather. It is still the engine out of your truck, the memory and history are still there. The fire didn't change that. When the time comes you can take it apart slowly and carefully and see what you have. Again you and all the people in those fires are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018
    tractorguy and chryslerfan55 like this.
  19. captainjunk#2
    Joined: Mar 13, 2008
    Posts: 4,395


    the engine has sentimental value to you , maybe you can keep it and make a piece of art out of it ? or static display ?
  20. thirtytwo
    Joined: Dec 19, 2003
    Posts: 2,640


    I was thinking the exact same thing , save it , if it’s not usable , paint it up pretty, put it in the corner with a favorite picture of your dad on it for display
  21. porkshop
    Joined: Jan 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,704

    from Clovis Ca

    This is what I would do.
  22. So sorry! Can not imagine what you have been through. Move on, and God Bless.

    Sent from my iPad using H.A.M.B.
    28 Ford PU likes this.
  23. Frankie47
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 1,862

    from omaha ne.

    Drag that doggone engine out of the ashes, clean it, paint it, and proudly display it on an engine stand in your new garage. It has family history that you can be proud of.
  24. so sorry to hear of the loss, glad your ok.
  25. ClarkH
    Joined: Jul 21, 2010
    Posts: 1,064


    Can't imagine what you're going through. For what it's worth, any 235 is capable of triggering a happy memory of that summer and your dad.

    The earliest birthday gift I remember from my father was a claw hammer and bucket of nails. I spent several days happily nailing scrap wood together, often right into the rec room floor. That particular object is long gone, but any time I use a hammer I think of dad.

    Our memories do not reside in objects, but rather in our heads and hearts.
    porkshop and Boneyard51 like this.
  26. While not a fire, after Katrina and it's devastation went through New Orleans and we were activated and sent in. people there would not give up their destroyed houses made from cypress. We were told it would not rot and the flood couldn't even hurt it and these were some third and fourth generation homes. I never got back to see if they were rebuilt or repaired but you could sense the genuine sentimental value to the people affected. I tend to agree with all of the above and would; clean it up, paint it, then display it on an engine stand for the world to see and you to be proud that you were not beaten by the fire.
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  27. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 21,015

    Staff Member

    glad you are ok, @Tuck had a shop fire a while back and I know he salvaged some stuff, lets see if he chimes in here... good luck
    Speedy Canuck, Tuck and kidcampbell71 like this.
  28. foolthrottle
    Joined: Oct 14, 2005
    Posts: 1,108


    Been there! My shop building/garage burned in the 2012 High Park fire in Co.the fire was hot enough to melt the pistons in the engines I had just rebuilt and crack the blocks, one aluminum 2x4 intake with carbs was just a pile of powder with butterflies sitting on top, tools all destroyed, the entire remnants of the wood framing of the 30'x40' building would half way fill a 5 gal. bucket. I did try to save things but it was really pointless. I blame myself for not taking better care of such treasured things, major collections etc. sadly my insurance policy was almost meaningless. The time to find out about your coverage is not after. My agent could only be described as a mean spirited a--h===, when I told him I was thinking of getting an attorney he said " don't slam your balls in a door" My advice get a public adjuster and an attorney and let them handle it..Doing the inventory lists of items lost was therapeutic for me and a chance to say goodbye to some seriously cool shit. Good luck getting on with life you'll be fine if you let it.
  29. Buddy Palumbo
    Joined: Mar 30, 2008
    Posts: 3,870

    Buddy Palumbo

    Sorry to hear about your loss - at least you're all okay, that's most important. Take each day as it comes.
  30. Sorry for your loss but I also had - by lightening - a lost of my 40 year storage of gathered and hard to find stuff....and as I dig thur - there is always something besides the not salvageable stuff that I find that made it though.
    Hoping for the best for ya !

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