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Foster City Eichler home fire- Is that an Eichler?

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Joined: Nov 4 2003

There was a house fire this morning and the house was an Eichler in Foster City. Looks pretty bad, no one hurt. Unfortunate lose.

I bring it up not only because one of our homes looks to be lost, but I always wondered if that model is a "real" Eichler. I live in Foster City and I have an Eichler. But this Eichler tract that had the fire has groupings of Eichers that look like Eichler knock-offs. Not even like Streng homes, those look like Eichlers. These look Eichler like, exposed beams, siding like Eichlers, but a plan looks more conventional. I've never been in one of these, but in plan, the house looks to be an "L" shape with the garage off the "L". These houses were situated next to each other in mirror plan so the garage doors face each other and share a large driveway.

I hope the owner will come through okay! Given the history of another Eichler that burned down in Foster City, if it gets rebuilt, it won't be Eichler like. It will be very conventional.

Joined: Apr 20 2006

Nelson,
What was the address of the home that burned?

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Joined: Apr 10 2006
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Joined: Nov 4 2003

Thanks for the link, that's the house.

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Joined: Apr 10 2003

What's going up in it's place? McMansion or a sensitive replacement.
One can only hope the latter.

Wishing for modern home.

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Joined: Nov 4 2003

Another Eichler literally around the corner from this one burned down in 1999-ish. In it's place is a generic, building with only a shadow of an Eichler roof line. The house looks to have been built by a contractor with no architectural input. Another Eichler in another part of Foster City burned about 4 years ago and the lot is still empty to this day. The only thing left is the foundation.

It's a shame these houses were not replaced with thought to what was there and what's around the neighborhood. Foster City is a relatively new town, and it's a very nice place to live with many well kept homes. But I don't think there is a proper architectural review board with an eye to historic preservation. They tore down the T. Jack Foster Building a few years ago to build a horrible commercial building that looks to be empty for the past 3 years. I tried to send letters to have it stopped, but I lost out. I've thought of trying for a position on the review board.

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Joined: Feb 26 2007

Nelson wrote:
Another Eichler literally around the corner from this one burned down in 1999-ish. In it's place is a generic, building with only a shadow of an Eichler roof line. The house looks to have been built by a contractor with no architectural input. Another Eichler in another part of Foster City burned about 4 years ago and the lot is still empty to this day. The only thing left is the foundation.

It's a shame these houses were not replaced with thought to what was there and what's around the neighborhood. Foster City is a relatively new town, and it's a very nice place to live with many well kept homes. But I don't think there is a proper architectural review board with an eye to historic preservation. They tore down the T. Jack Foster Building a few years ago to build a horrible commercial building that looks to be empty for the past 3 years. I tried to send letters to have it stopped, but I lost out. I've thought of trying for a position on the review board.

Nelson: What is the address of the house around the corner?

I went to take a look at the house on Laureline and it did not look like a total loss to me though I'm not in construction.

This makes 3 Eichlers that caught fire that I now know about. Do we know how they caught fire? Are Eichlers more prone to fire? I just removed a lot of lint from the dryer vent duct that runs up a wall and out the roof. This seems like a hazard if not kept up.

I've heard that the Eichlers with mahogany paneling and no sheet rock allow fire to spread rapidly. Mine now has sheet rock but I don't now if Eichler was adding sheet rock when the house was originally built in 1966.

I'm told tar and gravel roofs are flamable but I would not guess more so than the cedar shake roofs that used to be all over Foster City.

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Joined: Nov 4 2003

fcloonie wrote:

Nelson: What is the address of the house around the corner?

I went to take a look at the house on Laureline and it did not look like a total loss to me though I'm not in construction.

This makes 3 Eichlers that caught fire that I now know about. Do we know how they caught fire? Are Eichlers more prone to fire? I just removed a lot of lint from the dryer vent duct that runs up a wall and out the roof. This seems like a hazard if not kept up.

I've heard that the Eichlers with mahogany paneling and no sheet rock allow fire to spread rapidly. Mine now has sheet rock but I don't now if Eichler was adding sheet rock when the house was originally built in 1966.

I'm told tar and gravel roofs are flamable but I would not guess more so than the cedar shake roofs that used to be all over Foster City.

I am not sure if the admins have issues with privacy if I post the address of the house around the corner from the one that burned. I can post it, and if the admins have issues, please remove the addresses.

The home in Foster City that was rebuilt near the recently burned one is: 800 Lurline. The one that burned a few years ago, and then bulldozed is: 1017 Gull. It's still an empty lot with the foundation only left.

Regarding Eichlers and fire, when I bought mine, my friend who grew up in an Eichler in Walnut Creek joked that Eichlers are 7 minute homes. Meaning they burn in 7 minutes.

I don't know the cause of the fires. Could be anything.

I think they burn a tad faster then conventional homes because they have exposed post and beam construction. And the exposed wood ceiling allows fire to ignite it more quickly. I have a later Eichler from 1968 and the walls are mostly sheetrock inside. I know it's original. Only 2 walls have panelling that extend in from the atrium.

Perhaps someone with more insight can add more.

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Joined: Mar 25 2007

Shortly after my family moved into our Eichler home on Amarillo Ave. in Palo Alto in 1950 (which my father had purchased for $17K) several of the houses on our block burned down, which in each case took less then 5 minutes. As I recall the fire department attributed their rapid combustion to the naphtha based 'Philippine fish glue' in the plywood that was used in their construction, combined with the lack of any insulating material in the exterior walls and ceilings.

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