Saturday, April 17, 2010


A misinformed local fire chief and a sensationalist TV reporter for Boston’s FOX Undercover have done what nobody in the modular housing industry thought they could do….they got a bunch of MA building code regulators to overlook that a fire was caused by human neglect and blame an industry.

The Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards voted unanimously Tuesday to change the state's building code. The revision would require builders to secure gypsum board ceiling panels to framing using mechanical fasteners instead of just foam adhesive.

MA fire 1

The real key here is that when Kevin A. Gallagher, chief of the Acushnet Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, investigated the fire, he noted that there was a dead air space between the first and second floors of the victim’s modular home which he concluded caused the fire to run rampant and ignite the adhesives holding up the drywall ceiling of the first floor.

Letters were written by several agencies and the NAHB explaining the safety of the glues and the whole thing looked like it would go away because it was determined that the home’s owner had built an allegedly illegal porch and dropped a lighted cigarette in a flower box which set the house on fire.

Then FOX Undercover dredged up this old news and put on a scare tactic report by Mike Beaudet that has led to this goofy ruling that will cost every modular home buyer in MA an additional $500 per new house.

Mikey B Mike Beaudet of FOX Undercover

Kevin A. Gallagher has gotten his 15 minutes of fame but he is not satisfied! His next stop will be to the IRC committee to ask for mandatory mechanical fastening of ceiling drywall and that open space between floors be limited to 500 sq ft rather than the approved 1,000 sq ft.  The glues will still be there however and if that is what caused the fire to spread, why hasn’t the MA Board told the modular factories to stop using them?  It doesn’t seem logical to me, but maybe I’m wrong!

What we need is legislation making people building illegal decks and setting their own house on fire a felony.


Anonymous said...

now that the building codes have been changed and make it look like the fire was the modular company fault, I'll bet theire will be lawsuits coming out the a** now

Anonymous said...

Have the company(s) who manufactures the adhesive used to adhere the gypsum made any comments? ITW is a major vendor in this area and I would like to know if they provided any testimony or documentation regarding their products, if theirs was the product used, in this case. It would seem to me they have a dog in this fight as they face the loss of all the modular business due to this situation.

Anonymous said...

I guess what it really boils down to is money instead of safety!!

Coach said...

The house was safe before the home owner burned it down. There are no other fires in the state of MA where the fault was either the dead air space between fires or the glues that were used by modular factories.

$500 is a small price to pay for safety but in this case there was no danger to the public.

Free Thought said...

Mike Beaudet and Fox 25 Undercover Boston have no particular interest in the home building industry. In fact, their favored topic is child safety, an absurb reality considering that their producer Jonathan Wells completely failed his fatherhood duties such that his children and ex wife will not speak to him. This disturbed individual lives by himself and led the Fox Undercover crew for years lurking around schools and playgrounds with hidden cameras, scaring parents to the point where nobody would send their child to school if the picture that they painted was accurate. It is also absurd given the need for careful, accurate and delicate treatment of both accusees and victims of child abuse. Why on earth Fox would think that parents would have any confidence in this ex Boston Herald reporter is beyond me.

Fox 25 Undercover makes its living by receiving tips from people who are pissed off at someone and want vindication. Beaudet and Wells often get their hands on private information, often which was disproven or unverified and many times which they have no rightful access to at all, and presents it, ignoring mitigating information from other sources (as they did in the case of the letter from the NAHB). Instead, they present the skewed data, often out of context, in a way that completely misleads the viewer into believing that they got the unbiased truth. They present statements, often of hearsay, in ways that absolve them of accountability for example saying 'may have' or 'was said to have been'. So the audience just hears 'he is a rapist' instead of 'the police said that his ex-wife thinks he is a rapist', if I were to give an example of their careful crafting of words. This skewing of information is so misleading, that virtually anyone who Beaudet goes after can be guaranteed to have their reputation destroyed and Beaudet then strokes himself off for months afterwards, showing how powerfully he can bring about change.

My kids know he can, too. After all, they can go online and destroy some little kids school life by writing things about them online. One blog post of Little Johnny Might Be Gay, will do just about as much damage as Fox 25 Undercover will do. They don't do it though because we teach our kids that just because someone thinks or said something, doesn't mean that it needs to end up on the airwaves. Somethings aren't true, somethings aren't completly true and some things just don't need to be etched into writing forever for the whole world to see.

Jonathan Wells, the producer, and Mike Beaudet are power feeders. They rely on being able to manipulate people's understanding and available knowledge, and consistently destroy jobs and careers. It is the worst possible television out there today. Even reality TV shows at least warn participants that if they participate they might be humiliated and since they earn money, they make the choice. Beaudet's victims have no choice. My kids just see a grown man jumping out of vehicles armed with hidden cameras and shoving a microphone in a surprised person's face. They see a grown up acting like a seventh grade bully and I have to help my kids understand that because Fox does it does not mean that they can too (in their own myspace kind of way).

They actually used to get away with sneaking inside schools with hidden cameras until parents and teachers caught on and said enough. So, while they are no longer welcome around children and places where children congregate, they continue to look for subjects which are delicate and sensitive enough that people will get sucked into their rhetoric.

As long as they stay away from my community, I can just tune it out but I really do have to educate my kids on how to process this type of television. Now they are going after industries, based on misinformation.

Anonymous said...

Whoa there Free Thought, I think you went a little overboard on a blog posting about the house fire and the local Fox affiliates reporting of same. While I can understand your postion, your cause may have been received better had you not been so verbose. Perhaps dealing with the fire only would have been much better and certainly less vehement. I am not trying to practice censorship or editorial control as those are in the hands of "coach" who reviews all of these postings prior to their being put on his blog; but, a little self restraint may be applicable in your case.

Coach said...

to Anonymous 8:56AM:
Normally I would think long and hard about accepting a "comment" like the one from Free Thought but the way that Boston's Fox TV Undercover reporter kept going and going on a nothing story told me that this was OK to accept and print.

If Free Thought is right about what he reported in the past, maybe he will move off the fire story and go back to peeping on children.

Anonymous said...

I found the comment by Free Thought to be very informative if a bit longwinded.

I believe that WFXT Fox 25 is being sued by a prior target of a Fox Undercover investigation involving Mr. Beaudet and producer Jonathan Wells so it will be interesting to see how that goes. Fox sued many years ago for the right to lie and distort the news (google Jane Akre) so it may be that our only right with respect to the news is our right to turn it off.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a regular viewer of FOX news and haven't had a lot of good things to say about them in the past. But the fact that the homeowner's mistake caused the fire has nothing to to with the question of how well the building contained the fire once it started. Fires get started all kinds of ways and the fact that this particular fire could easily have been prevented doesn't mean that the house wasn't a firetrap. If the modular industry can make a case that glue will hold drywall to the joists just as well as screws or nails, I'll consider them with an open mind. But until I see the case made, I'll view a house with glued drywall with suspicion. I'd also view any un-fireproofed, wood framed dead space as an additional hazard (as if the truss attics in most new houses weren't bad enough). The building industry in general (not just the modular sector) has been making fallacious claims about the safety of glued construction for years and I wouldn't trust a builder who makes irrelevant, personal attacks on anyone who questions these practices. The typical line is that because smoke detectors have reduced fire deaths, any fire hazard in new construction should be ignored. The fact is that most newer houses burn and collapse much faster than typical houses from 50 years ago (I'm talking about a typical 1960 house with a plaster or drywall interior, not a wood paneled "Eichler style" house from that era), which were not that much more expensive to build. I don't blame firefighters for not wanting to enter newer, less fire-safe houses, and wouldn't want to own one.