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What Happens After a Home or Business Fire Can Be Just As Traumatic as the Fire Itself

Dec 14, 2021

Home and business ownership is a goal for many. Homebuyers do a lot to turn their house into a home where they make lasting memories. The same is true for business owners. Nobody plans for the unthinkable—a house or business fire. If you have ever experienced a fire, then you know it can be a nightmare.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there were 490,500 structure fires in the United States in 2020. That was a 1.9 percent spike from 2019. Firefighters responded to a fire averaging every 23 seconds in the United States in 2020.

Fire damage does not stop when the fire is extinguished. Once you get over the shock of the visible damage, gradually you get a clearer picture of what really happened and what needs to be done from that point. If you’re asking “how long does smoke damage last?” The answer is: days, weeks or even months after the initial disaster took place. Destruction can include:

  • Visible damage: Damage to walls, floors, furniture, ceilings, fixtures, etc.
  • Hidden damage: Structural, HVAC, smoke, soot, chemical, and electrical.

Now, it’s time for fire damage restoration, and you must deal with the personal and financial damages that follow, including fire insurance claims problems. Fires burn and singe things: Just like that, families lose treasured items – mementos that might include a family portrait, your child’s first artwork at school or wedding photos. Sometimes, even the entire residence is gone. By the same token, business owners may find themselves being hit hard. For example, if a restaurant’s kitchen is destroyed, it cannot serve meals and might be out of business for weeks or months, having to pay bills with no incoming revenue and leaving their staff out of work. All in all, once the fire has cleared, there are additional complications that follow.

Soot/smoke damage: The first 24 to 48 hours after a fire is crucial in recovering any part of our property; that’s why getting the right company to clean up after the fire is key. Soot, if left untreated, can continue to wear away at your property. The acidic soot and smoke damage hasten the deterioration and corrosion of metal, including your home’s electrical wiring. Water damage: Public spaces – restaurants, movie theaters, etc. – are usually equipped with sprinkler systems that will go off during a fire. When firefighters arrive, hundreds of gallons of water can be used which causes even more damage. Water can get into places that you cannot see with the naked eye. The excessive water needed to extinguish the fire damages equipment, furniture, clothing and flooring such as carpet, tile and wood. With such water damage, there’s potential for mold growth, causing even more harm.

Chemical damage: In addition to water, firefighters may also use chemicals to extinguish a fire. Powders from the dry chemicals go everywhere and may be carcinogenic, so those chemicals must be professionally cleaned or removed. Firefighting agents used to put out the fire can degrade surfaces. Plastic and metal can deteriorate. Odors linger and stains from the chemicals remain. That’s why it is important to get the right company to stop the damage from potentially getting worse. The smoke odor is toxic and must be neutralized and deodorized.

Electrical damage: After a fire, there is damage that you cannot see. Potential electrical issues are at the top of the list. In the case of an attic fire, the space would fill up completely with foam. When this happens, even if not damaged by the fire/smoke itself, the insulation might need to be replaced. Furthermore, you should make sure all electronics are unplugged after a fire due to possible exposure to water and electrical system damage. This can prove harmful if left unattended. A professional should be hired to look beyond the surface.

The Insurance Litigation Group is here to help you relieve the stresses of submitting your residential or commercial fire and smoke damage insurance claims. Our experienced Florida property insurance claim attorneys know the reasons insurance companies deny fire claims and will help you with:

  • Getting fairly compensated for your fire and smoke damage
  • The proper protocols for securing your property
  • Getting your property cleaned up, repaired and rebuilt
  • Helping you understand what is entailed to make your home or business safe to occupy again.

Our firm is a top-5, statewide property litigation law firm that has recovered millions of dollars for Florida property owners, helping them receive the most for their fire damage insurance claims issues. We work for you, not the insurance company. Contact us for a free consultation.

South Florida: 786 529 0090 Orlando: 407 564 8555 Panhandle: 850 919 4357 Fort Pierce: 772 248 4050 About Us

We are a client-focused law firm that fights aggressively on behalf of residential and commercial policyholders, contractors, restoration and mitigation companies, to produce maximum recovery results from insurance companies

through our unique expertise, deep understanding of insurance law, cutting-edge technology and proactive approach to litigation.

Insurance Litigation Group serves clients across the state of Florida. With over 5 offices statewide, our attorneys have the knowledge, skills and experience to resolve your dispute against the insurance company.

Our Offices

We are a client-focused law firm that fights aggressively on behalf of residential and commercial policyholders, contractors, restoration and mitigation companies, to produce maximum recovery results from insurance companies through our unique expertise, deep understanding of insurance law, cutting edge technology and proactive approach to litigation.

Insurance Litigation Group serves clients across the state of Florida. With over 5 offices statewide, our attorneys have the knowledge, skills and experience to resolve your dispute against the insurance company. 

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