Fire Damage

About / Description

A fire will change your life in many ways that you cannot imagine. A fire in a home, whether you live in an apartment, a single family, or multifamily home, can cause serious damage. The building and many of the things in your home or business may have been badly damaged by flames, heat, smoke, and water. You will find that things the fire did not burn up are now ruined by smoke and soggy with water used to put out the flames. Anything you want to save or re-use will need to be carefully cleaned. The firefighters may have cut holes in the walls of the building to look for any hidden flames. They may even have cut holes in the roof to let out the heat and smoke. Cleanup will take time and patience. It is important to understand the risk to you and your family’s safety and health even after the fire is out. The soot and dirty water left behind may contain contamination that could make you very sick. Be very careful if you have to go into your home and if you have to touch any fire-damaged items. Ask the advice and recommendations of the fire department, local building official, your insurance agent, and restoration specialists before starting to clean or make repairs.

Knowing where to begin and who can help you is important. It’s reassuring and such an advantage to have the opportunity of working with companies that have many years of experience in the fire and smoke restoration business. Our teams provide 24 hour emergency service for residential, industrial and commercial structures along with offering our customers professional restoration expertise while providing the highest level of integrity, quality and service. They will work directly with you or your insurance company which ever you prefer


The damage left behind from a fire can be devastating. Charred walls and ceilings, broken windows, a layer of soot, water soaked drywall and carpets and the over powering smell of smoke. At the origins of the fire the damage will be the most severe, the wood framing will be burnt away, the homes wiring will be completely destroyed and need to be replaced. There’s more information about fire damage than any other disaster.


By far the most common cause of fire and fire damage is from cooking equipment, followed up by heating equipment, arson, electrical, smoking, exposure, candles, and play with matches in that order. No matter what the cause is, fire is destructive and dangerous with the most common cause of fire death being from smoking. People ask all the time which is worse fire damage or water damage, both can be very destructive but fire has to be the most destructive, with the ability to burn wood and melt materials like wires and glass and enough heat to crack concrete.

Procedure / Solutions

Immediate emergency evaluation of property structure, electrical and plumbing. Review of the fire damage caused by burning. Areas that have been burned almost always require complete removal. If there is burned or charred furniture, wood, shingles or flooring these items are almost never salvageable. Review of the fire damage caused by heat. Items that were not directly involved in the fire very well could have sustained damage from the heat of the fire. Examples of these items that may need repair include electrical wiring, roofing materials, plumbing fixtures, carpeting and other flooring. Review of the fire damage caused by smoke. Smoke damage is the largest issue that requires professional restoration. Smoke odor and soot damage will be in the buildings carpet, drywall, fabric and other porous materials. These will require professional cleaning, usually packed out to an offsite chamber to extract the smoke odor. Review of the water damage and/or chemical damage as a direct result of the extinguishing process. Fire extinguishing might lead to additional damage to your property. Depending on the type of fire and the method used to extinguish the flames you may need to utilize water extraction and drying procedures to restore your property. Deploy a restoration strategy; emergency board up, water removal, air purification and complete reconstruction when necessary.


The cost could vary dramatically depending on the amount of area, the severity if the fire damage, the amount of water damage, the amount of response time of the emergency professionals and the expertise of the restoration company. The Safedry teams have been trained to give the most accurate and competitive estimate.

Tips / Prevention

Take care of yourself and family. Contact your local disaster relief service, such as the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army. They will help you find a place to stay for a while and find food, clothing, medicine, and other important things. Make sure you have a safe place to live temporarily. You have a big job ahead of you. Get plenty of rest and ask for help. Do not try to do it all alone.

Contact Safedry and we will get a professional restoration company for emergency board up and damage assessment. Your insurance company requires you take immediate action to attempt to mitigate damages to your home. Call your insurance company immediately Open all windows and doors to allow the property to begin to vent smoke and dry Do not turn on your homes electricity until your property has been inspected by a professional. Do not disturb the area around the fire source or move items in the general vicinity as this often will need to be investigated by your insurance company and the local fire marshal. Do not attempt to clean or wipe and wash fire residue from walls, ceilings or other absorbent surfaces as this can further damage these areas

For more information and tips go to the National Fire Protection Association

And the United States Fire Administration


State Fire Death Rates

The fire problem varies from region to region in the United States. This often is a result of climate, poverty, education, demographics, and other causal factors. The following table shows the District of Columbia and each state’s fire death rate per capita for 2009 based on the state where the fire death occurred. The national fire death rate in 2009 was 11.0 deaths per million population. States are listed by rate from highest to lowest. The highest death rates in 2009 occurred in the District of Columbia, Arkansas, and Mississippi. The states with the lowest rates were Hawaii, Idaho, and Massachusetts.

2009 State Fire Death Rates

State of Occurrence

Fire Death Rate

District of Columbia 33.4
Arkansas 28.7
Mississippi 28.1
Alabama 21.2
Oklahoma 21.2
Missouri 20.2
Tennessee 19.9
West Virginia 19.8
Kentucky 19.2
Georgia 16.5
Michigan 16.4
Vermont 16.1
Kansas 14.9
Louisiana 14.7
South Carolina 14.5
Alaska 14.3
North Carolina 13.8
Pennsylvania 13.4
Iowa 13.3
Indiana 12.5
North Dakota 12.4
Maryland 11.4
Montana 11.3
National Fire Death Rate: 11.0 deaths per million population
Ohio 10.7
Texas 10.6
New York 9.9
Washington 9.9
Virginia 9.4
Wisconsin 9.2
Wyoming 9.2
Maine 9.1
Connecticut 9.1
New Hampshire 9.1
Florida 8.8
South Dakota 8.6
Illinois 8.4
Minnesota 8.0
Oregon 7.8
Nebraska 7.8
Rhode Island 7.6
Utah 7.2
New Mexico 7.0
Arizona 6.8
Nevada 6.8
Colorado 6.0
New Jersey 5.7
Delaware 5.6
California 5.5
Massachusetts 5.3
Idaho 5.2
Hawaii 3.9


Fire Damage >> Odor Control

Smoke odor could remain in clothing, your upholstered furniture, carpets and the draperies unless they are properly deodorized before cleaning. That’s why professional assistance is recommended. Do not use vacuum attachments or an upright vacuum because the bristle brushes tend to force soot into the fabrics. Cover all of your carpets after removing the soot to keep other soil from being tracked in during the Odor Control clean-up.
1.Consult professional fire damage restoration companies and/or dry cleaners about the use of “counteractants,” chemicals or additives that will break up smoke molecules to eliminate Odor Control. The type of counteractant used will vary with the many types of materials burned in the fire. Counteractants might be professionally applied to your furniture, carpets and draperies. Fire restorers also could provide them for laundering of your clothes. Fire restorers and dry cleaners may sometimes use an ozone cleaning treatment to break up the smoke molecules and eliminate the Odor Control.
2.If the process is to be done in the home, items are then to be put under a tent while an ozone cleaning generator is operating. Keep in mind that many household deodorizing sprays and disinfectants may provide only temporary relief. Also, deodorizing sprays might interact with smoke odor and create an additional Odor Control. If you are not able to have your clothing or similar textiles professionally treated, try one of the following methods, first dissolve one cup of dishwashing detergent, you know the type used in an automatic dishwasher, in one gallon of warm tap water.
3. Completely submerge all of the items and let them soak all night in the washing machine or in your bathtub. Drain and launder as usual the very next day. For the items that can be bleached, you can mix 4 to 6 tablespoons trisodium phosphate, available from your local hardware store, with 1 cup of Lysol or some household chlorine bleach and 1 gallon of clean water. Add your clothes, rinse with clean water and dry. After the deodorizing, it
is time to clean all of your household textiles. Take the non-washable clothing and the draperies to a local dry cleaner for traditional dry cleaning or a special Odor Control cleaning process.
4. Wash your regular clothing in clean warm water with a liquid laundry detergent. Several launderings might be needed, have your carpets cleaned twice, and both before and after repairs. The wet carpets must be thoroughly dried before cleaning, in some cases, the removal of the carpet is necessary for a complete drying and to save the wood floor underneath. If at all possible, use a chemical sponge that is available from a cleaning supply company or use some other non-water-based cleaner to clean the Odor Control and the soot from walls. Paint thinner, or rubbing alcohol might work, but use with caution because of the toxicity and fumes. Always wear rubber gloves and open all of the windows and use an electric fan to increase the ventilation while working.

Fire Damage >> After Fire Damage

After you have a fire, you ask, why does my house have broken windows and doors, and there are holes in the roof? After Fire Damage can produce temperatures greater than 1200 degrees, along with smoke damage and hot gases. At times, the firefighters must eliminate all of the heat, smoke and hot gases before they’re able to enter to put out the fire. They must quickly ventilate, like break the windows, to help reduce fire spread. Often, firefighters must open the walls to find the “hidden” fires, to extinguish the fire.
1.These cleaning tips are a general rule for you to follow. However, each After Fire Damage condition requires different cleaning techniques. There are cleanup contractors who specialize in fire/smoke and water damage restoration and these companies should be used in most cleanup cases. The first step after the fire department personnel leave, the building becomes your responsibility. Remove all of your valuables if you cannot live in the fire damaged house. Should a firefighter or fire investigator be left on the scene, they will be there to accompany you.
2.You will be responsible for securing doors and your windows and other areas against unauthorized entry and ensuring no further After Fire Damage occurs to the structure or contents. If you do own or are in the process of purchasing the property, contact your insurance company or local agent as soon as possible. And if you are renting or leasing the property, you should also contact the owner. Your insurance agent could be able to assist by providing names of full service fire/smoke and water restoration companies that will specialize in After Fire Damage and securing homes with emergency board up, inventory and removal of contents and 24-hour emergency response service.
3.All of the items in the building should be inventoried and no item should be thrown away without the authorization of the insurance company. Walls could be washed down while they are still wet. You may use a mild soap or detergent and wear rubber gloves. To start, wash a small area at a time, working from ceiling down, then rinse in clear, clean water immediately. The After Fire Damage ceilings should always be washed first. For wallpaper, heat and ventilate the room for several days to dry the plaster as well as the wallpaper. If mildewed wallpaper is the washable kind, wipe it down with a cloth wrung out of thick soapsuds, then clean with clear water.
4.Re-paste edges or the loosened sections. When washing the wallpaper, work very quickly so paper does not become soaked. Always work from the top and work to the bottom to prevent streaking. When After Fire Damage the linoleum floors, and the water gets underneath of the linoleum and remains there for a long period of time, the wood will begin to breakdown and the odors arise. There are several ways to remove or lift the linoleum from the floor, but it is safest to contact a full service fire/smoke and water restoration company. Wash the mildew stain with soap and water.