The controversial fire hose lights

One of my favorite moments on our House Hunters episode is when we see the fire hose lights. Our realtor, Ted, comments on how cool they are. We awkwardly look at each other while trying to think of something to say that won’t offend him… because we hate the fire hose lights. Instantly and forever.

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Don’t worry if you love them, as Ted does, you’re in the majority. I would say 90% of people love them… maybe even 95% because I assume some people who like them might hold their tongue after we explain our distaste.

They’re just too kitschy for us. “Oooh – you’re in a firehouse and you have fire hose lights.” Blech! I’ll give the guy who installed them a pass because he IS an actual fire fighter. We’re not.

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They were destined to come down since day one, and with the downstairs renovation ramping up, it was time to see how exactly these lights were constructed. All we knew for sure was that each pair of yellow hoses had a bulb of some sort and the white hose housed an HVAC line.

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We suspected that the lights were part of a track lighting system. The lights were clearly suspended from something and that’s the only way we could envision safely hanging them. We’ve actually had several people email us offering to buy these lights when we take them out. Each time I’ve explained that we really don’t know if there would be anything to sell once we dug in. We were right about that… but oh so wrong about the construction…

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A few weekends ago, I helpfully offered to start taking down the patchwork of drywall that makes up the ceiling in the cube. Then, not so “helpfully,” I couldn’t reach the ceiling while standing on the ladder that fit in the cube. Aaron obliged my curiosity and agreed to take down a panel.

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That led to another and another before he exclaimed, “This is so much worse than I thought!”

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Pulling the ceiling revealed a curious network of cords… that looked a lot like extension cords… Odd…

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Closer inspection revealed that they were in fact extension cords that led to two power strips that were plugged into an outlet.

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010fire_hose_lights 011fire_hose_lights

I understand that not everyone who reads this blog has an in-depth understanding of electrical, but those who do will surely realize the clusterfuck that we uncovered. This is at least six different kinds of wrong. It’s NEVER OK to put a LIVE ELECTRICAL OUTLET behind drywall. Never. Period. This is why electrical codes exist! Because shit like this can cause a fire or get someone injured or killed.

The rest of the lights are made with an under cabinet puck taped to an extension cord. In other words, just as unsafe as the rest of this mess.

We were so flabbergasted by all of this that all we could do was laugh… and be thankful that we never turned those lights on anyways. Oh, and, hey we scored two new power strips!

So the definitive answer to anyone who had hopes of buying the lights is “Sorry, we can’t be responsible for possibly burning your house down.”

18 comments

  1. Brad Doyle

    I WANT THE LIGHTS FOR MY FIREHOUSE!!!! Pretty Please with sugar on top! I was going to wire them with romex anyway. I’m just across the river in Belleville!!!!!!

  2. Steph M.

    I would have had some swear words flowing from my mouth with that discovery!! So freaking scary!!! Glad they’re gone!!

    • Heather

      Trust that there was lots of swearing. I really wish I had a video of Aaron’s face when we finally pulled the light out of the hose and realized what it was. Priceless!!

  3. Emily Ryzak

    Please put me firmly in the 5% who like you doesn’t appreciate the beauty of these lights. Even before the shit show was uncovered. Here’s to moving onward and upward!

  4. yasmara

    But but but but but…they were in a FIREHOUSE and “installed” (because, seriously) by a FIREFIGHTER…presumably with some knowledge and understanding of FIRE DANGER?!?! I am stunned.

  5. Shay

    As fireman’s wife, I am flabbergasted myself. I don’t know a ton about electrical wiring, however, I do know that my fireman would never in a million years find this acceptable. And if the guy who installed them was a fireman, I’m not sure what he was thinking! Oh, the irony.

    • Heather

      There’s definitely irony there. Technically we don’t know if he installed them, but we know he owned the property when they went in. Six or one half dozen, right?

  6. DessertForTwo

    This is crazy! Brian and I feel like almost every house in this city has serious code violations. I blame the high cost of skilled labor and contractors. Because no one is willing to pay an arm and a leg for work, they end up rigging it themselves. And maybe the house doesn’t burn down when you live there, but the next guy will never know!
    Ugh, this city is too old for its own good.
    xo

    • Heather

      I replied to this comment in my head, but not in real life! Yikes!
      It’s just a fact of life when you buy a used house, unfortunately. This is pretty bad, though… one of the worst!

  7. Rachel

    OMG! I’m no electrician but I literally put my hand over my mouth in shock (heh) when I got to that picture with the extension cords. Ho-ly cow.

    (also, personal opinion on the fire hose lights–totally clever and awesome BUT at the same time really ugly and I would have taken them out too. Haha.)

  8. Aaron Recendez

    Just because it’s a firehouse doesn’t mean you NEED firehouse decor. I love your style better Heather and Aaron. You guys inspire me very much. Salutations from Cali! :]

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