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JSM Properties – Gorham Street Fire Mitigation and Restoration Project
On February 14, 2016, JSM Properties had a two-alarm fire at their three-flat Gorham Street apartment building. No one was injured but 11 people were displaced. The damage estimate was in the excess of $250,000. Though the fire was thought to have started in a first-floor rear bedroom, the flames quickly wicked up to the second and third floors causing extensive damage all the way to the roof.  This former single-family home, built in 1902, was converted into three flats in the 1960s.

FGS was hired for fire mitigation, demolition and restoration work. In addition to the fire damage, it was discovered that the building’s structural frame was rotted completely through in some areas. Landmarks and other buildings within the local historic districts need approvals for exterior alterations, new buildings and demolitions by the Landmarks Commission. These approvals help to protect the character of buildings, streetscapes and neighborhoods. FGS was able to meet these challenges and return the building to its former glory!

FGS tore the building down to the foundation and rebuilt the entire structure to today’s building code standards. The original build used balloon framing. Balloon framing was a breakthrough building style developed in the middle 1800’s which allowed for the quick and easy construction of homes. The frames were light but very strong and able to withstand heavy winds. Specifically, they were able to support large, gabled roofs which were popular during that time.  

Modern building codes require a stronger frame. Jason Anderson, a lead FGS carpenter, devised a strategy to add support beams throughout the entire building. He dug out and hand-poured the concrete foundation for five beams to support the roof.

Keeping to the period of the home was very important to JSM and the City of Madison’s Historic Preservation Section.  Several leaded windows were recovered and restored. Wood trim work that had been damaged over the decades was rebuilt by hand by FGS carpenter, John Rodenkirch, matching the old work craftsmanship. 

On August 10, 2017, new residents began moving into the beautiful,  brand-new units. 

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