Most people do not understand how hard it is to set fire to ahouse that destroys the entire dwelling and its contents. Mostresidences simply do not have sufficient combustibles in the rightplace to allow for a sustained fire. Many homes, especially themore modern ones, have fail-safe devices everywhere that makeaccidental fires a thing of the past.

An insured decided that the only possible means of escaping hismortgage was to burn down his house. Being a rather imaginativefellow, he decided to also make the fire look like an accident.

On leaving his house in the afternoon, he opened the gas jets onthe stove, blew out the pilot on his gas dryer and water heater,and set the thermostat on his electronically ignited furnace to 80degrees F. It was a hot summer day, but he assumed it wouldeventually cool off a little, the thermostat would kick on thefurnace, and the electronic starter would ignite the entire house.What he did not count on was Southern California's Santa Ana Windsthat brought heat from the desert, and kept the outside temperaturein the hundreds all day and into the night. The insured could notanticipate that a neighbor with clear sinuses would smell the gas,turn it off at the meter, and save the house.

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