You have probably noticed the extra ventilation in the roof of the Green Monster. The huge holes are not the result of fire or rot, the two causes of most holes in a Buffalo roof. That’s good, in a way, because either of those two things would be indicators of serious structural problems. Instead, those holes are man-made. The Buffalo Fire Department often uses houses approaching demolition as training structures, in this case ventilating a roof as a fire control technique. Normally, this sort of training is only done after the removal of the house is contracted out to a demolition company, which sets a timeline for knock-down. For some reason, on this house they did not wait. The problem with that is exactly what you see when you look down the street from the top of a block; a neighborhood that has a gangrene. A house in this condition, waiting in limbo, is damning to a block and sends a clear message about how unimportant this street is. I disagree with that.
I am all for keeping our firefighters as well-trained as possible. I admire their work and thank them for their service. It is a dangerous job, as shown by the loss of two of the city’s finest three years ago in a convenience store fire. If a house is about to go down, I would not stand in their way. But this one was not done right.
Of course, we knew what we were getting into when we saw the place. The holes are hard to miss. What we did not know is that the holes would multiply. Apparently no one in City Hall passed the word to the fire fighters to stop training on this house. While driving past the house one day, we noticed that there were more holes than we remembered. We went home and checked our photos, and yes, indeed the holes were increasing in number, like vermin. We sent a certified letter to the fire department, asking them to stop. Still more holes appeared before we got a letter saying they were done with the house and good luck. So now the roof looks like it took some cosmic bird shot and we have one reason to be thankful for a dry summer.
But, as A. reminds me, it is always important to stay positive. Jokes about “skylights” aside, there may be a benefit to the holes. They do ventilate the house. Seriously, that can be a good thing. A boarded up house, with no one coming or going or opening windows, can turn into a hot, humid mold factory if left for too long. Wood rots quickly in those conditions. So while the roof may be a mess, my hope is that the air flow will allow anything that gets wet to dry quickly. There we go, a silver lining.