Find a Local Service Provider

Restoring Your Home After a Fire

By Luke Armstrong

Few things are as heart wrenching as enduring a house fire. The hopelessness, the loss and the pain of ruin to your worldly belongings stings on a visceral level. While you can sometimes replace, repair and recover a great deal, many things often are destroyed – some of a priceless nature – like keepsakes or ordinary items that in and of themselves aren’t of great value, but the memories connected to them are. Your sense of security also falters after a fire, and you will most likely become extremely vigilant about fire hazards after having been through it. Despite the overwhelming destruction left in a fire’s wake, there is still hope for many homes. Professional fire restoration services and professional cleaning can salvage much of your home and its belongings.

Fire DamageWhat do I tackle first?

First things first. After a fire, make sure you have a place to stay, whether you are able to stay with friends, family, and neighbors or at a local hotel, make sure you have a place to go. If you do not have money or lodging, contact your local disaster relief center, such as the American Red Cross or Salvation Army. These centers can help you with housing, food, medicine, eyeglasses, clothing and other essential items.

Once your home site has been secured and you are allowed back on the premises, with nerves of steel, a heart of stone, and a box of tissue, head to the property and survey the damage, one area at a time. Contact your insurance company so they can survey the damage and quote repairs or full restoration.

If safe to do so, attempt to locate a few, if not all, of these important items:

•    Forms of identification (driver’s license, Social Security cards)
•    Insurance information
•    Medication information
•    Credit cards, bank books, cash and jewelry
•    Mortgage paperwork
•    Employer records

The Path to Fire Restoration

After hunting for items that need little restoration or cleaning, your first instinct may be to throw away damaged goods. Don’t do so until a full inventory by you and by the insurance company is made. Compare your inventory to theirs and be prepared to furnish proof of damaged items that might have been overlooked. If the item is no longer there, you can’t be compensated for its loss.

Next, be sure to document every dollar you spend toward the effort of rebuilding. New trash can? New broom? New industrial vacuum? Keep all receipts. Your insurance company will want to see all of this documentation related to the fire. This helps verify losses that you will claim on your income tax.

Begin the restoration process – but don’t go it alone

After you have consulted your insurance company and boxed up any items that seem unscathed, visit our website, to find a qualified ServiceMaster expert in your area. Our specialists are expertly trained in full fire damage cleanup, removal and restoration.

Make sure you discuss with your insurer who will pay for fire cleanup and removal. Then, trust ServiceMaster experts to the task of fire repair. In addition to finding available ServiceMaster experts, be sure to log on to to read reviews from real customers who’ve used our fire damage restoration services and professional cleaning services to repair and restore their homes after fires, floods and other disasters.

ServiceMaster professionals can help you secure the sit against further damage, estimate any structural damage, estimate the cost to repair or restore items of personal property such as furniture, appliances, wall paper and more.

Note that the implications of damage from a fire extend well beyond that of the actual fire and smoke. You might also have to contend with water damage, flooding and mold as a result of the water required to put out the flames. Not only can professional restoration help with fire damage cleanup and smoke damage, but we can also reclaim your property from water damage, flooding and mold.

What are some items that may be exposed to fire, smoke, water and mold damage?

Some of the items affected by the fire that might need professional fire damage cleanup are:

•    Floors, carpets and rugs
•    Walls and wallpaper
•    Furniture
•    Appliances
•    Books
•    Leather goods
•    Locks and hinges

Minimizing the Fire Restoration Effort

Before a ServiceMaster expert arrives to start restoring your home after a fire, there are a few things you can do to help minimize the spread of soot as a way to cut down on additional cleaning:

•    Keep your hands clean and limit movement in the home
•    Place towels or linens over heavily trafficked areas
•    Change your HVAC filter, but do not turn it on again until inspected by a heating and cooling professional
•    Tape a double layer of cheesecloth over air registers
•    Do not turn on ceiling fans
•    Send clothing, garments and drapes to the dry cleaner