Fallingblox Designs fire updates

At 2:30am on Sunday, May 31, 2020, our condo building was devastated by a 3-alarm fire. We have lost our home of about 10 years and my studio. This page will have the latest updates as we rebuild. Thank you for your well-wishes and support. Further details can be found on my blog.

It's been a while since I've updated this. Surprisingly, the house construction is on schedule and we expect it to be done in late August or early September.

We won't be able to move in immediately, as part of the construction loan agreement stipulates that we have to sell a certain number of units before we can take ownership.

You can check out the real estate agency page (as of today, still in progress with only the renderings visible) if you're interested in seeing what it's going to look like.

There is finally some progress. It's been a long time coming, but the foundation is being poured and we're hoping to have the framing done before the cold weather arrives so the winter can be spent on interior work and finishing can be done after the spring thaw.

If all remains on schedule (which it probably won't) we're looking at a move-in date sometime in Fall 2024 — more than 4 years since the fire.

Thank you for coming to check up on this page. It's been over 2 years. Our home is still a hole in the ground and we remain living at the Quaker Meeting house. The nightmare has been never-ending, but we are making a tenuous peace with it. One day, when this is all over, I'll write down what really happened and you can struggle along with me as I contemplate man's inhumanity to man.

Earlier this week I shipped my first several packages since the fire. My shipping setup is still a little rough but it will suffice. Since I am now able to ship again, I've re-enabled the signed books options in my books and bundles. Thank you so much to my good friends at Wall of Yarn for covering for me while I was rebuilding.

If you want the best picture of the final days of my home as a physical building, check out my recent blog post on the experience of the demolition.

We have received our insurance settlement, we have a place to live for the immediate future, and we are in the process of rebuilding — although there is much drama unfolding and there may be legal proceedings before any true progress can be made.

The demolition is complete, the excavator and the last trailer-sized dumpster has left the site. Total recovered items: about 60% of my knitted samples, my production computer from which I was able to salvage the boot drive and nothing else, a few CDs from my collection, a destroyed (but covered under warranty) laptop and some memorial trinkets from my grandfather I pulled out of a window before the demolition started, and not much else. The demolition started and finished on the room where I kept my stash before I got there, so years of lovely collected yarn is gone.

It turns out that photo prints are water-soluble. Who knew? Everyone who put them in archival books and not a shoebox,  evidently. Also, there's not much point in having a fire safe with your passports and other personal docs if it's never recovered from a fire.

It's been almost a month since my last update, and almost two since the fire. I had no news to share for a long time. Finally, we got word that demolition was beginning — half an hour before it started (on Tuesday of this week). My wife and I have been on-site for the entire duration, and today we were finally able to rescue some items of consequence.

My samples are mostly safe! About a dozen will need restoration or reworking but most of the others were either completely dry or just a little damp.

My library of knitting books, tools, and WIPs were not so lucky, and my stash is still unexcavated. More news to come soon, I'm sure.

It has been almost a month since the fire, and the demolition still has not happened. Things that might have been recovered if the demolition had happened promptly are now almost certainly destroyed by mold and mildew. Still, people are not allowed inside, so there's not much we can do but try to compile the most accurate property loss spreadsheet we can, from memory.

We will be staying in a larger apartment in the Quaker meeting house for the coming year or so. Once we're moved in there,  I'll be able to set up my book and pattern shipping process again. Meanwhile, Wall of Yarn continues to drop-ship for me so you can continue to order from my store or get digital patterns on Ravelry.

I hope to restart my virtual workshops soon, once the meeting house's internet plan is upgraded to a more reasonable speed.

We are still waiting to hear from the city, the insurance companies, our management company, etc about the demolition. This should have happened last week. Only once that starts do we have a chance to find out what we can recover.

Today I took my website out of “hiatus mode” and put up this page to let people know what's going on. 

My patterns are gone but my books were mostly stored off-site. Yesterday I mailed boxes to replenish Amazon's stock, and I ordered some of the things I need to begin fulfilling orders myself again. In the meantime, Wall of Yarn will be fulfilling physical orders. I will be unable to sign any books (as they are in Illinois) so I have removed that option from my store for now.

I put my website in “hiatus mode” and hid the store as well as I could. People can still buy digital patterns on my Ravelry store but I cannot fulfill physical orders until I can rebuild some part of my life.

We will be staying with our Quaker community in the Friends Meeting house in Cambridge, MA for the immediate future.