Out of the Ashes? What Can and Cannot Be Saved After a Fire
A house fire is a horrific event. Even if everyone in the home makes it out safely, the physical damage on the structure will be intense. That pain will only be matched by the acute mental and emotional anguish endured by those living there.
There are many factors that will determine what, if anything, can be saved once the flames are extinguished. Our technicians at SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana are often surprised by what survives even the most intense fires. Books, wood furniture, tools, certain types of pottery and stoneware might have a life after the blaze. Even pictures and important family documents have been found fully intact under piles of ash and debris.
How does fire damage things and what needs to be thrown out?
Visible fire damage is not hard to spot. What will not be as evident is what has been impacted by extreme heat and flames. Even if there is no apparent physical damage, get rid of certain materials, including:
- All food that was in the house (both perishable and non-perishable)
- Cleaning supplies
While these kinds of items might have avoided visible fire damage, they may have come in contact with toxic chemicals. Combustion, the process of something burning, releases harmful chemicals like hydrogen cyanide, sulfur dioxide, and tar.
You cannot eat food that has been exposed to heat or the chemicals produced during combustion. Medication, cosmetics, and most cleaning supplies also react negatively with heat and must be discarded. Burned insulation no longer insulates, and it is impossible to clean the accumulated soot and smoke odor. However, our SERVPRO technicians remove the top three to four inches of insulation in case the problem only involves residue deposits.
How we can help?
Fire affects ALL materials at the site. Meticulous and detailed scoping is necessary before deciding what to throw and what, if anything, can be kept. Our SERVPRO technicians consider three main factors:
- Can it be restored?
- How much will it cost?
- What is the sentimental or monetary value of the item?
After a thorough inspection of your property, our technicians can assess when items can be restored. Restoration, not replacement, is always what we strive for initially in an effort to save your belongings and to save you money.