Belongings and Fire Damage
According to the Red Cross, small house fires are the single most common disaster in the United States, and dealing with the aftermath of a fire, no matter how small, can be a real challenge. Besides the obvious fire damage, most or all of your belongings have been exposed to water, soot, and smoke. A good fire restoration company can help clean and salvage your things that haven’t been burned, but not everything can or should be saved.
Belongings that Should be Discarded
Some categories of belongings should not be kept after a fire:
Electrical equipment – in most cases, it’s not safe to use small appliances or electronics that have been exposed to water, heat, smoke, or soot unless they’ve been checked over by a professional.
Burned clothing – while you can wash or dry clean your clothes, they may retain harmful chemicals that could cause skin irritation.
Textiles – bedding, rugs, drapes, and carpet can absorb the smoke and soot, and these items are typically too large to thoroughly clean.
Furniture & mattresses – besides absorption of smoke or water, furniture may be structurally damaged
Cosmetics and Toiletries – The fire and the chemicals the firefighters used in your home can alter the composition of makeup and other toiletries, causing them to be ineffective at best and dangerous to apply to your skin at worst. It’s best to throw them out.
Medicines – like toiletries, medicines can be altered or contaminated. To be safe, replace them.
Foodstuffs - While some food can be salvaged, here’s a list of items that should be pitched:
- open containers
- bulging or rusting cans
- food with fire extinguisher dust on it
- perishable foods left at room temperature for too long
- foods that came into contact with contaminants
- anything stored in permeable packaging like cardboard, cloth, or thin plastic bags.
What About the Fridge?
If your refrigerator or freezer survived the fire, you may be able to salvage some of the food, but at the risk of being overly cautious, throw out any food if:
- the fridge smells smoky
- soot got in the fridge
- the food smells or tastes odd
- the food has been above 40o for more than two hours
- it was in the freezer but no longer feels hard or cold to the touch
Where to Go for Help
If you’ve experienced a house fire, SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra can provide professional fire restoration services to help you get your home and your life back in order. While we can’t help with the emotional loss you’ve suffered, we have the expertise, experience, and equipment to mitigate the damage to your home and belongings caused by heat, smoke, and soot. Our teams are on call 24 hours a day and can respond to your emergency promptly.
For additional information about the services we offer, visit our website or call us at 904-246-6118.