The “Lizzie Borden House” or “Charles Trafton House” was built in 1845. Fire prevention methods in almost all homes at that time was practically non-existant. There were virtually no escape routes save for the one, common-use stairway to many of the 2, 3, and 4 story homes built in that era.
When 92 Second Street (formerly 230) was made into a Bed & Breakfast in 1996 and opened up to the public for the first time, it was brought up to fire code for B&B buildings.
Kenneth Champlin in front of the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast/Museum
Besides the usual sprinklers in the ceiling, the B&B has a number of fire extinquishers on hand, pull down alarms directly to the Fire Department and an escape hatch on the third, or attic, floor. Guests on the second floor have access to both front and rear staircases. Guests on the third floor, if unable to use the only staircase – the rear staircase – have this escape hatch.
In the Andrew Jennings bedroom, the escape hatch is directly over the front bathroom of the second floor. The ladder placed inside can be easily thrust downwards against the lightweight covering providing a quick and easy escape to the second floor and only a few feet from the front staircase or easy access to the rear staircase.
Guests explore all the nooks and crannies of their rooms and often The House itself and take note of this emergency evacuation.
Speaking of houses, below is the so called “Brownell” house on Green Street in Fairhaven, MA. This is the house where Lizzie’s sister, Emma Borden, was staying on August 4, 1892. t has been literally “skinned” of its previous excessive debris.
For a comparison of what it used to look like, CLICK HERE. Gone is the abandoned vehicle, dense over-growth, and the knee-high debris inside, though it still remains unsecured and empty. This house was recently sold and a “Building Permit” is posted in one of the front windows. Like an elderly woman with a festering cancer undergoing kemotherapy, she has lost all her hair. Her skin is potmarked, bruised, discolored but she lives on….battered, weakened, awaiting the inevitable. Question is: Will it be demolished and cleared for new construction or will the new owners bite the bullet for expensive infrastructure upgrades?
By contrast, the Fall River Historical Society’s curator is giving his house a cosmetic overhaul as shown below.
On Rock Street, only a few blocks from both “Maplecroft” and the FRHS.
All of the above photos were taken less than a month ago.