The Habitat for Humanity home in Kansas City, Kansas had just been completed when the fire department received an urgent 911 call.

An arsonist had thrown a gasoline firebomb at the home, just days before the new owners were set to move in. Luckily, the exterior walls were built from Arxx ICF and sheathed in fiber-cement siding. 

When firefighters arrived, they found that the fire had spread 12 to 15 feet along the front porch of the house, but as there was nothing else flammable, it was easily extinguished. 

Dennis Cranor, the arson investigator for the local fire department, says that the damage was minimal compared to what would have happened with a wood frame house.

The local ABC news affiliate reported, “If the house had been wood, it would have been a total loss.”

Damage was limited to the plastic porch soffit, which had melted, and the front door, which the firefighters had kicked in to gain entry to the unoccupied house. There was no significant damage to the interior. “There was also some soot on the siding, but that wiped off pretty easily,” says Kelly Willoughby, executive director of Heartland Habitat for Humanity. Willoughby says repairs cost less than $500.

Since the arson attempt, Heartland has constructed more than a dozen other ICF homes. Many of them have achieved a five-star energy rating. Habitat homes are built for low-income families and Willoughby says they appreciate the lower energy bills. 

 “We are very proud of the quality of our ICF homes and continue to build as many as possible,” she says. 

For more information on Habitat for Humanity and ICFs, see the story on page 36 of this issue.