What to do After a House Fire

The first 24 hours after a house fire is a critical time period.   If the fire department knows anything, restoration companies have heard it on their radios and will send their “chasers” out trying to get you to sign a contract.  Whatever you do, do not make a decision while you are upset.  Fire clean up takes a long time and a fast decision could be a mistake.

  1. Getting You Home Boarded Up.  Ask the fire department if they have a recommendation (some counties have a rotating list of restoration companies)  or you can pick one of the chasers in front of you. Be clear that you are only hiring them for the board-up. Take the cards of all the chasers at the fire, tell them you will make a decision in the next few days on the restoration.
  1.  Find a Safe Place to Stay:  Smoke is a carcinogen.  If you can smell smoke, it is not safe.  Most insurance policies will put you up in a hotel,  family or friends can take you in or you can contact a  local disaster relief agency, such as the American Red Cross or Salvation Army.  
  1.  Research Local Restoration Companies:  Your insurance company will send out their preferred vendor, that company does a lot of work for the insurance company and will do everything they can to keep the insurance company happy.  Not necessarily the company you want working for you. An independent company will be your advocate. Yelp and BBB will give you the basics.
  1.  Contact your Insurance Company:  once you start a claim, they will cover living and other daily expenses and help you with the clean-up.  Whichever restoration company you choose will work with the insurance adjuster to help you decide on the best plan of actio.


  1.  Recover your Possessions:  If you have enough insurance, the items destroyed in a house fire will be cleaned or replace.  The restoration company will make an inventory of your possessions. However the best and easiest way to be reimbursed is to have your own inventory kept either on the internet or in a fireproof safe that includes the date of purchase, cost and description of each item whenever possible.

Fire damage restoration entails the total cleanup of your property and possessions to pre-loss condition. Trained and certified technicians use special equipment and cleaning products. Fire damage restoration also involves cleaning up the water damage caused by the fire department.

For nearly two decades, Fire Damage Recovery, a division of Water Damage Recovery, has provided fast, caring, and expert service to over 22,000 residential and commercial property owners. We understand that the restoration process can be a traumatic experience, and are committed to delivering fast, high-quality service to help you return to normal life as quickly as possible.

All of our technicians are certified by the IICRC, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, and international, non-profit certification and standard-setting organization. This certification ensures that our technicians are highly knowledgeable in the restoration techniques required to safely and competently return your property and belongings to their pre-incident condition.

If you’re in need of fire damage recovery after a fire, give us a call at 510-351-7510 today, or visit our website to learn more about the services we offer.