Look at this photo, if you haven’t already seen it on the news:
Why did it not burn? This is why, according to the owners, who were off-island at the time. They had been restoring the old house:
“It’s a 100% wood house so it’s not like we fireproofed it or anything,” Atwater Millikin said.
Working closely with the county and the local historic commission, they replaced the asphalt roof with heavy-gauge metal — the home would have originally had a roof of either wooden shake or thinner-grade corrugated tin, she said. They lined the ground with stones up to the drip line of the roof, which overhangs by 36 to 40 inches.
And they removed foliage that was up against the house — not because they were trying to reduce the risk of ignition, but because they were concerned about termites spreading to the wooden frame, she said. Their only nod toward disaster preparedness was to install hurricane ties, she added.