If your house has been damaged by a fire you may be wondering, “is it OK to stay there?”
The short answer is … no. The longer answer is with the right repairs and clean up you could stay there but all of that should be done first before you ever consider staying in a fire-damaged home.
Let’s take a closer look at the dangers that can exist in a fire-damaged house.
One of the biggest dangers that can exist after a house fire is damage to the house’s structure.
If support beams or load-bearing walls or the roof were damaged in the fire staying there could be very hazardous to your health.
It is not uncommon for damage to fall or floors or ceilings to give way after a fire has been extinguished. Additional factors such as wind, rain, snow and other weather can hasten these developments.
If your house has sustained fire damage you should have the structure inspected by a professional before you ever consider staying there.
This may be the biggest danger of all and unfortunately it can be very difficult to detect.
Often a fire-damaged home sustains smoke damage that is not easily visible to the naked eye. That damage could be in the air ducts, behind the walls, in the flooring, in the furniture as well as in numerous other places in a fire-damaged house.
Something that makes smoke damage even more of a concern is that it can be very difficult to get rid of. You may have to hire a professional cleanup company that specializes in smoke damage to come and rectify the situation.
The Dangers of Smoke Damage
Smoke damage is made up of potentially hazardous materials like tar and carbon, which if inhaled over a period of time can damage our lungs and negatively affect our health.
Another concern about smoke damage in a fire-damaged house is that it produces carbon dioxide which is a harmful gas that when inhaled actually expels oxygen from our blood.
In other words, breathing in smoke (carbon dioxide) can prevent necessary oxygen from reaching valuable organs like our brain and heart.
No matter what size fire you have had, you should have an expert come in and check the carbon monoxide levels in your home!
Here are just a few of the many health concerns associated with breathing in smoke damage:
Respiratory Issues –
If there are dangerous smoke particles in a fire-damaged house they can be breathed in and cause extensive damage to your lungs. Remember, it isn’t always easy to see smoke damage. There can be particles of smoke and soot in the drapes, furniture, carpet, walls and more.
Skin Damage –
Being around smoke particles and soot doesn’t just damage your lungs. These particles can also irritate your skin, causing itchy rashes and dry patches.
Eye Irritation –
Smoke particles can also get into your eyes and cause irritation there. A common effect of being around smoke is red, watery, itchy eyes. This can be uncomfortable and can negatively affect your vision.
A third concern about staying in a fire-damaged house is the lack of security that may exist there after the fire.
If windows or walls or doors have been damaged it may be easy for a criminal to gain entrance into your property. This could put you and your family’s safety at risk.
What to Do to Make a Fire-Damaged House Safe
If you have suffered a house fire there are several steps you should take.
Contact Your Insurance Company
This should always be the first thing you do after your fire has been put out. Contacting your insurance company puts the repair process in motion.
Secure the Property
You will need to secure the property following a fire for two reasons. 1) To prevent further damage from occurring due to exposure to weather and animals. 2) To keep people from wandering onto the property and potentially getting hurt.
Have the House Inspected
As we mentioned earlier in this article, you should always have your home inspected after a fire. A good, experienced inspector will be able to accurately assess the damage your house has sustained and give you an estimate of what the repairs could cost.
Clean Up the Damage
After the house is inspected, you or a company you hire has to come in and clean up the damage. This step could include having a professional smoke cleanup company come in and remove remaining smoke damage.
Repair the Fire and Smoke Damage
Here you need to interview contractors and hire one to complete the repairs that are needed following the fire.
One additional area that we haven’t discussed yet is water damage. Fire-damaged houses often sustain water damage from firemen’s efforts to put out the fire.
This water damage can produce mold growth which is also hazardous to your and your family’s health. You need to have all mold identified and removed as well.
Want to Avoid the Stress of Repairing & Living In a Fire-Damaged House?
Another option would be to sell your home directly to We Buy Fire Damaged Houses.
By selling to us, you won’t need to make any repairs – we buy houses “as is.”
We also pay all cash so that you can get your money fast. This means you can sell your house and quickly move to a new home.
The bottom line is cleaning and repairing a home that has been damaged by fire can involve a lot of stress as well as hard work.
Also, unfortunately, when you are finished cleaning and repairing there is no guarantee that all the smoke odor and particles are gone. There could be a missed area that leads to family members suffering negative health effects from breathing in smoke or from breathing in mold particles.
All of this is why many homeowners decide to sell their fire-damaged house and start over in a new home. If you have a fire-damaged house and are interested in selling, fill out the short form below.