One of Their Own

One of Their Own
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SPRAY FOAM MAGAZINE – Imagine just buying and moving into your first house, only to have that excitement torn away as a hurricane blows through and floods the home’s lower level one week later. That’s exactly what happened to Profoam’s Noelle Krevetski and her partner Mike Byrnes. The place was a mess, with many of their unpacked possessions ruined. Just as they thought all was lost, the phone rang! The Spray Foam Magazine team visited Noelle to find out who, what and why that call helped turn things around, and how their dream home became a reality.

Tropical Storm Idalia was a Category 4 hurricane with wind speeds of about 130 mph before making landfall as a Category 3. It charged through Florida’s Big Bend area, where the peninsula merges into the Panhandle, just southeast of Tallahassee and the Tampa area. Roads became submerged in knee-deep water as emergency crews rescued trapped residents and cleared debris. There were even communities cut off by floodwaters and fallen trees. Noelle was watching this all pan out on the internet as she had flown to see her parents in New Jersey, where she and Mike are originally from.

Mike and Noelle’s St. Petersburg home, which was built in the seventies, has three bedrooms, all of which are situated on the upper level. Originally the wood-framed building was on stilts, but a previous owner added concrete block to help convert the lower level into another room. There is also a garage, a spacious yard full of tropical plants, and a large deck. As Noelle watched helplessly from afar, Mike along with their two dogs, Piper and Stevie, hunkered down waiting for the storm to pass. “Even if we have a bad storm, the street can flood, so I was pretty concerned when I could see Idalia heading straight for us,” said Noelle.

At 5:30 am, Mike woke up to water filling up the lower level of the house. He looked out of an upstairs window to see their car and newly purchased truck submerged in water. Once it was safe to access the damage, Mike went down to the lower level and stepped into 24in of brackish water. As soon as the water started to recede, there was a dark rim on the walls and a terrible smell. Noelle arrived back in St. Petersburg as soon as it was safe to return. Mike said, “We are going to have to gut a lot of this lower level.”

TOP: Flooding of the interior of Noelle and Mike’s home reached 24 inches before receding; BOTTOM: NCFI’s InsulStar 1.7lb closed-cell foam was applied to the walls to create a moisture barrier

Noelle and Mike, determined to start cleaning up, and with Mike being great at handy-man work, he cut the walls roughly four feet up. Noelle spoke to her colleagues at Profoam in Rutledge, GA who advised that fixing and insulating with a closed-cell foam would help seal the area and prevent future water damage. Once the walls had been cut out Mike found lots of mold on the framing, which had obviously been growing for years, something their home inspector would not have been able to see when inspecting the home for their purchase. Noelle and Mike now knew what they were dealing with. They ripped out the old batt insulation and as they were reframing everything, the phone rang.

ABOVE: Robert Stratton (left) and Jacoob Benedict with their Freedom Foam Co. rig; LEFT: Mike and Noelle with their dogs Stevie and Piper in New Jersey before moving to Florida; BELOW: Jacob’s wife Pamela loves to help and rescue animals. Here is the family with their two miniature Highland cows.

Exhausted and upset by the ordeal, Noelle answered the call, and this is where the story took a turn for the better, it was her boss at Profoam and he was calling to tell her that they had her back. Profoam had reached out to their network of contractors about their employee’s flooded home. Jacob Benedict, owner of Freedom Foam Company LLC, responded to the call for help and said he would be willing to donate his time to come and spray the lower level for them and Profoam was making sure they supplied all the material needed for the job.

Jacob is relatively new to the industry but already has a passion and determination to succeed with several successful jobs completed. He also happens to be one of the kindest, straight shooters one could have the pleasure of meeting. With four children under the age of six, and one more on the way, Jacob, and his wife Pamela, live in a town called Woodville just south of Tallahassee, FL with their property backing up to the Apalachicola National Forest. Jacob got into the industry following his wife’s involvement in a horrific accident where a truck hit her car, leaving Pamela with a dreadful back injury that she’s still recovering from today. Jacob wanted to join an industry where he could build a great business and a positive future for his family.

Before he launched his SPF business, Jacob and Pamela had a vacation rental and maintenance company, but due to licensing changes in Florida, they needed to get rid of that business. After doing research, they made the move into the spray foam industry. “Most of my life, I have wanted to give back. For my spray foam work, I do a 15% discount for the heroes, whether that be veterans, teachers, nurses, etc. We also have a small farm and rent out some of our land for animals that are abused and women who are in an abusive relationship that need help with their animals.” When Profoam got in contact with Jacob and explained that Noelle and Mike’s house had flooded, he knew he had to help them out. The fact that Jacob lived five hours away from them, did not even phase him.

Jacob has had a tough learning curve when it comes to workers not showing up to do the job. However, he is very fortunate that he can depend on one installer, his father-in-law Robert, who has also learned to spray foam. At sixty-four years young, he was once a welder and is used to manual labor. Family is so important to Jacob and Pamela that both Jacob’s father, and his father in-law, live with the family at their farm in Tallahassee.  

When Jacob and Robert arrived on site they did not need to overly prep as everything was already gutted and Noelle and Mike planned on replacing the floor. 

Jacob taped off certain areas, for example a wooden framed door and wood-paneled ceiling with recessed lighting were all covered up. He also left a little storage cubby area situated just off the 600 sq. ft. room, where there is piping for the plumbing. This is in case Noelle and Mike need to get to the pipes in the future.

Using an Allegro air supply system with full face masks and spray suits, Jacob and Robert were all set. They used a PMC PH-2 proportioner and Carlisle’s ST1 gun and sprayed the lower floor’s interior and exterior walls, applying three to four inches of NCFI’s InsulStar 1.7lb closed-cell foam. “That’s what great about the closed-cell foam, it’s an excellent moisture barrier. So, if there is any flooding in the future, the space will not hold water in fibrous material like the old insulation did. The walls can now withstand surge as they are pulled together with the closed-cell foam,” confirms Jacob.

Noelle and Mike are so happy that the space is now well insulated and strong. They also plan on converting it into a gym and a small bathroom. FEMA came in and reimbursed a lot of their damaged possessions, which also helped this young couple. However, the fact that her company went out of their way to help them, as well as Freedom Foam, is something they will never forget. A great reminder, that helping someone in need is always a good deed. The fact that it was one of their own, just makes it that more special.

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