The After Effects of a Fire in Your House

By: leon
There's no such thing as a localized fire. Because fire means smoke and smoke simply gets into every nook and cranny. Often, in small fires, smoke damage is much more severe than fire damage.

Smoke from household fires can carry within it a whole range of chemicals depending on what went up in flames. If it was a kitchen fire, such as burning oil or food that was left to cook too long, the smoke can fill the house with the smell of the burned food. (Burned lamb is the worst!) Smoke from a smoldering mattress or smoke given off by burning electrical wiring may contain chemicals that are harmful to your health.

Whatever the source, even if it was a very small fire, the smell of smoke has probably gotten into every item in your home. Removing that odor is a huge task probably best left to the professionals. But whoever does the work, it helps to understand what is involved.

First, call your insurance company to find out what is covered in your policy. What will they replace and what will they repair? If your insurance covers the clean-up, then by all means take advantage of the benefit. It will make your life so much easier and the results from using chemicals and equipment designed for the job will likely be better than anything you can do on your own.

Even if your policy doesn't cover the clean up, it pays to consult with the experts at your insurance company about what can be cleaned and what will never be free of the smell of smoke. They have years of experience in this area, and their advice can save you from pointless frustration.

Ask for advice on what kind of cleaning materials will remove the sooty smoke from glass, paint, and wood and how effective you can expect them to be. The experts will tell you where you can purchase appropriate cleaning materials and whether or not they should only be handled by trained personnel.

Then, if this is a do it yourself project, get to work. Every single surface and item that the smoke reached will have to be cleaned: walls, ceilings, floors, curtains, rugs, clothing, kitchen appliances, furniture, fixtures, bed and table linens, pictures, books, knickknacks. Are you tired yet?

Some items may need to be discarded. And you will probably have to pay to have some items professionally cleaned. Carpets are a case in point. They are made from so many different materials (wool, silk, acrylics, etc.) each of which may react differently to the smoke and to the cleaning agent. The risk of causing damage probably outweighs the potential cost savings of trying to do it yourself.

And at the end of the day, if fire and smoke damage were sustained only by things and not by people or pets, then you escaped relatively easily. Keeping that firmly in mind, will make dealing with the aftermath of a fire a little easier. This too shall pass.

Home Security
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