Fire Damage Cleanup: Warnings and Tips for Success

Cleaning up after a fire of any kind is a big project. Smoke and fire can cause a lot of damage in a short amount of time. In most cases, even the smoke from the smallest fires can create damage because it spreads so quickly and can affect several areas of a home or business.

And remember that fire and smoke is just one part of the damage. The water used to extinguish the fire is often a major contributor to the damage also. In many cases, the water damage exceeds the damage from the actual fire.

Fortunately, there are professionals to assist with fire and smoke damage cleanup and typically can respond 24/7. While you’re waiting on their assistance, or even if you just want to do what you can, here are some things to keep in mind.

Safety First

Don’t enter the property if it’s not safe. Generally, the fire department or other officials involved will be able to declare whether the structure is sound or whether the area is unsafe and needs to be avoided. NEVER enter a property that has sustained any kind of fire damage or other major damage until you know that it is safe to do so.

In a fire-damaged property, several potential safety risks could present themselves. Structures are usually not sound. There is a lot of ash and chemical residue. Plus, if the fire is recent, there could still be hotspots that could re-ignite if the scene hasn’t been cleared. Make sure that you have the go-ahead to go back in.

This is Almost Never a DIY Job

While there are some fire occurrences that you can clean up on your own, or at least help with, most fire damage requires a qualified restoration company. If you have had a house or business fire, there is something to be said for working with fire restoration professionals. They may offer advice as to what you can do to help the process, but likely, it won’t be much.

Typically, they’ll take care of the bulk of the work for speed and safety reasons. Fire damage is messy and dangerous and should only be handled by professionals who are trained and certified for this work.

If you want to help, ask them what small things you can do, such as clearing out debris or helping them decide on salvageable items or new fixtures for the restored spaces. It might not seem like much, but it’s your contribution. Leave the heavy lifting to the pros. They have the resources, training and equipment to do the job correctly.


While fire damage restoration companies can provide an array services such as –

  • smoke and odor mitigation
  • water damage mitigation
  • content recovery and preservation
  • structural repairs

There will be times when it is impossible to undo fire damage completely. You can restore items, replace them, and repair anything that needs it, but some signs and remnants may always remain in some way. If the damage was severe enough that it was a total loss, that might end up better because you can start from scratch instead of trying to fix every single damaged item or property structure.

Regardless, though, you’ll want to be realistic and wait until you talk to the pros and your insurance company before you make any judgments or start the mitigation process.