The Hero You Never Heard About

Do you wonder why there are so few surviving buildings of earlier times? We’ve been living and working in buildings for thousands of years. Yet very few early structures survive. Aside from boredom with style and pressures of economy–both leading to demolition, the greatest enemies of any building are fire and water. Had you thought of that–the very things you need for daily survival–water and fire (electricity, heat and gas) become the forces that want to destroy your home? You pay extra money (instead of that old shack) to invite into your home its greatest enemies.

I think it’s a miracle that our homes survive. Every day gas, electricity and water are stuffed into pipes and wires and pumped into your home. When they get there, they try to escape into your walls and attics and ruin everything. The pipe’s walls and joints are constantly fighting the pressure of the water and gas. Electricity is ever on the hunt for even the tiniest nick or short, to go to ground or arc. It’s all calculated, engineered and executed with significant margins for error–how we control these latently hostile utilities. But every day these conflicts are at work in your home.

Josh had an assignment requiring a few moments in the attic. When he got his head in the attic he immediately smelled gas. It was almost overpowering. He closed the attic access and called the office, whereupon he was instructed to shut off the gas to the house. We called the plumber, who quickly discovered a small leak. It was recent work performed by a highly qualified licensed professional with a solid reputation. How did it happen? No one knows for sure. Could it have been a disaster? We don’t know that either. Even a tiny particle of escaped gas can smell strongly. It’s likely nothing would have come of the leak–it was dissipating without igniting. Of course it was repaired, pilots lit and all order restored in quick succession.

Or, it could have gone the way of millions of homes in long lost villages, and in the ancient great cities of Tokyo, Rome, and Paris. As in the old cities of London, Chicago and San Francisco–a great conflagration. A fire starts, spreads rapidly, and all is lost.

Josh discovered the leak. Destructive forces were tamed. Nothing happened. He’s the Hero You Never Heard About.