By Justin Gallagher
A tedious task, cleaning up after fire damage needs the right time and industrial equipment. A regular vacuum cleaner is rarely all that is needed. Plus, time is of the essence. Immediately after a fire, victims are looking at arrangements for temporary housing, insurance matters, and even possible health concerns, so homeowners are not likely to put salvage efforts at the top of their list of priorities. This could sadly be a costly problem, however. In cases like these, the services of a professional fire restoration company can be invaluable.
When you delay cleanup after fire damage, it could have serious consequences. Besides the obvious devastation caused by flames, heat, water, soot and smoke, there are strong destructors and contaminators left behind. Intervention needs to be taken right away to lower the exposure to these agents which are very damaging to help limit the cost of restoration. It only takes several minutes after the blaze is put out for acidic soot to cause the discoloration of plastics. In just hours this same soot can cause the yellowing of countertops, bath fixtures and tarnish and any protected metals. Furniture as well can become discolored. In days, the walls can discolor permanently, and metals can begin corroding and rusting, plus any flooring of vinyl or wood will have to be replaced or refinished. If cleanup is left for weeks untouched, carpeting might become unsalvageable from discoloration and fixtures that are silver-plate become corroded.
Besides the structural damage from the fire itself, acidic soot can cause damage to a home’s belongings and interior that are irreparable. However, the problems do not end there, as odor removal can be another issue, and box or ceiling fans by themselves do not have enough power to disperse the smoke smell. Water damage caused by firefighters to put the fire out can complicate things even more.
Homeowners might be able to save some of their belongings with a sponge and soap or by laundering and vacuuming. Extensive water damage, heavy soot, corrosion control and removal of odors, however, are best left to professional technicians. These technicians have all that is needed to clean up the damage and restore the inside of your home to a condition like it was before the fire. A general contractor can always be contacted for any structural damage.
When choosing a restoration company to do the cleanup after fire damage, you should make sure that they have up-to-date training which they can back up with formal documentation. Plus, the technician’s or company’s safety and health certificates should be up-to-date as well. The technician ideally should have a lot of experience in a variety of different skills for restoration, and be able to give you the proof of their professional license, plus the applicable insurance needed.