Mike lost about 60-70% in a fire in Glendale, CA a couple months ago. He got ahold of me through the RingFinders website and chose me due to my fire recovery experience from many previous fires. I pulled up to a large two story house up in the mountains. Once he showed me where his mother’s closet was, where a lot of the jewelry had been stored, it seemed like the majority of the second story and the roof had collapsed onto the first story. So I made a grid of the area, set up sifting screens, and methodically started to shovel material into the screens from one corner of the house to the other. After a short amount of time I began to find glass crystals which were remnants from a large chandelier, and many other artifacts that the family had from previous generations. After a couple hours of digging, I recovered a small, melted box that held many pieces of jewelry including a beautiful large, white gold cross covered with stones. After a little more searching, I made the plan to come back another day during daylight. About three weeks later after the heavy rain had died down, I returned to the site. Hesitant to climb a ladder to the second story, with a rickety burnt out floor and no roof, I started the same process on the second floor for other lost jewelry from a bedroom bureau. Right away I began to find earrings, charms, medallions, and many charred coins. I couldn’t find everything they had lost in the fire, but recovered everything that I could, that I could safely get to. Mike was very happy to call his wife and mother to tell them about the recovered jewelry that they believed was lost forever. They are looking forward to rebuilding their lives in a newly modeled home.
I received a call from a family asking for my help? They had suffered a terrible house fire Christmas weekend. Since the fire they had returned to the house hoping to recover some jewelry including some family heirloom pieces that were in a bedroom closet but unfortunately the damage was so bad that the area was basically reduced to rubble and debris and they could not find anything.
I arrived at the house and they explained that there was a marble box that had about 30 rings in it including their mothers antique $15,000.00 ring along with some other very sentimental rings.
As we entered the house I felt such as sadness as I walked by the family room to see their burned Christmas tree and ruined unopened gifts,Ugh!
Arriving at the bedroom closet on the 3rd floor the fire had burned the floors almost completely out all the way down to the lowest level were the source of the fire started at the heater. The debris from the contents of the closet,walls and ceilings were now scattered in multiple rooms in the 2 lower sections of the house and garage. I knew this was going to be no easy task but I had to do all I could to help these people.
I decided that the best way to approach this would to be to remove the bigger items from the areas and shovel the charred wet debris into buckets and dump it on a tarp in the driveway where I could more easily search it with my metal detector. While doing this we started finding burned shoes and things that were in the same closet as the jewelry but no marble box yet. Then while shoveling I looked down and seen a gold ring in the pile! I yelled out “I got one” and the wife came into the room with such a hopeful happy look on her face. She identified it as one that was in the box. Now I knew I was in the right area and we went outside to dump the full buckets and I started scanning the debris. Having my White’s V3i setup with a gold program before I knew it I was locked onto a target and spotted another ring under the coil! Again I yelled out ” I got another one”! Moments later another! Before I knew it we were getting 2-4 rings per bucket and the joy of handing them to the couple was just incredible as they would remember when and how the rings had come into their life! As happy as they were the most important ones to them had yet to be found which were the mothers antique diamonds. As the time had passed and the debris piles yielding less now we wondered where they could be? I returned to the closet floor area and noticed a large amount of debris was laying on the duct work between the 2 levels of the house and knocked it down to the floor below. As I shoveled it up I noticed what was left of a melted ring box. Carefully opening it, it was hard to tell since they were nearly encased in the melted plastic but there were the missing rings! I couldn’t wait to tell the owners and as I held it up yelling “I got it”! The wife just started crying with big smiles! and her husband just kept saying I can’t believe it,your absolutely amazing! By now a few neighbors had come over to join in the excitement and couldn’t believe it! Now as the wife had calmed down some she looked at all of the rings and counted them 24 total and felt that I had indeed found them all! Along with the rings we were able recover 2 big boxes of family pictures and memories from the burned debris which can probably be restored. She will taking the rings to a jeweler to have them cleaned and restored like new!