Rising From The Ashes And Salvaging Personal Treasures

Finding Help After A House Fire

Just as quickly as a house fire erupts — the quick action of the local firefighting team has extinguished the flames! For the devastated homeowner watching the firefighting, it was not, unfortunately, quick enough. The charred, water-damaged ‘ruins’ remain in the fire’s wake, and the difficult job of salvaging personal treasures remains to be done. The good news is that unless the fire damage destroyed the home or rooms of a home, there is hope in salvaging the books, artwork, and family heirlooms. Do not go it alone! Contact both your insurance agent providing the fire insurance for the house, and Exit Mold, a New York restoration company, with 25-plus years’ experience providing homeowners and apartment dwellers of NYC and the five boroughs the necessary help after a house fire in salvaging personal treasures!

Finding Help After A House Fire

Table of Contents

Proceed Cautiously With Burned-Down Houses

It is essential to remember the following before rushing into a fire-damaged home: 

  • Only enter a fire-damaged building with the official authorization that a building is deemed safe for occupancy.

  • Wear a protective face mask to prevent breathing in asbestos, paint lead, chemical or hazardous residue, such as mold particles, when inside a burned-down house.

  • Wear nitrile or latex gloves to protect against touching hazardous chemical residue or cutting hands on broken glass inside a burned-down house.

  • Wear protective goggles inside a burned-down house to safeguard the eyes from hazardous material or flying ash particles.
Going Beyond The Home Fire Insurance

Going Beyond The Home Fire Insurance

While home fire insurance is a godsend when having to replace the curtains, beds and bedding, and electronic appliances, there are also those irreplaceable personal treasures, with memories attached, that make for ‘heavy lifting’ for homeowners attempting to sift, sort, and salvage their possessions from the ruins. The hope is found with the Exit Mold ‘family,’ trained to objectively determine what can be salvaged and experienced in cleaning the char, repairing, and reconstructing flooring and furniture.

The following three items have the best chance of being salvaged:


  • Glass: Any objects made of glass, including fine china dinnerware, glass stemware, and everyday kitchen cups, mugs, and plates, can withstand high temperatures and dry quickly from the firefighting hoses. Glass will not absorb smoke particles and can be easily cleaned of stains using a mixture of vinegar and dish soap, or white vinegar and baking soda.


  • Metal: The most rigid material is metal. Metal melts only at a high melting point, is not disposed to smoke damage, and dries quickly from the water. It might get stained by soot or smoke, but a bit of vinegar and dish soap can easily remove the stains. After being cleaned, a light sanding and a coat of paint can renew any metal products.


  • Hardwood Flooring and Furniture: Those hardwood floors can be salvaged due to the protective coating, which prevents the penetration of smoke and water from getting to the porous wood underneath. Unless the hardwood floor is exceptionally burnt or charred, cleaning with oil soap, sanding, and refinishing will restore that hardwood floor. Any hardwood furnishings or wood frames can also be cleaned and salvaged if they are strong enough to survive the heat and flames and have not absorbed any water and smoke.
Knowing What Must Be Tossed After A House Fire - Exit Mold

Knowing What Must Be Tossed After A House Fire

  • Melted And Stained Plastics: Plastic toys and games or food containers absorb the smoke and the soot, making such items unhealthy for future use.

  • Canned Or Boxed Foods: Toss all canned and boxed foods to avoid consuming toxins that are part of smoke and soot and that non-perishable food products absorb.

  • Perishable Food Left At Room Temperature: When the refrigerator has shut down for two or more hours due to fire damage, all perishable foods in the fridge or freezer
    must be tossed.

  • Medicines & Cosmetics: The intensity of heat can alter these products’ chemical composition, and the smoke and soot can contaminate the product with toxins. These items must be tossed! Call the personal physician ASAP to replace all prescription medication.  

  • Small Electronics: When acidic smoke gradually covers the exterior of electronics, it can inhibit the exterior surface from releasing heat, causing the device to run hot, damaging the internal components, and reducing the device’s lifespan. Soot, a by-product of smoke, also coats the exterior device and slowly corrodes the metal. The rule of thumb is: If an electronic device or small appliance is melted, burned, stained, or damaged by water, it would be safer to toss it than to salvage it.

  • Burned Furniture & Damaged Mattresses: While minor or moderate hardwood floor stains from smoke or soot can be cleaned and salvaged, any furniture or mattresses burned by fire will be weak, with the potential to break, and should be tossed.


Exit Mold Professional for a fire damage repair and restoration service

To Rise From The Ash, Know Whom To Ask

Contact the professional team of Exit Mold today to learn more about cleaning, repairing, or reconstructing personal treasures! Ask about all our home restoration serviceslead testing, lead paint removal, flood and water damage restoration, and mold assessment and remediation. Whether it is a burned-down house or where there is ‘only’ smoke damage, be assured that Exit Mold technicians are trained and certified in systematic best practices and procedures to restore the home property and contents to pre-damage condition as quickly as possible.  Do not hesitate to contact Exit Mold for help after a house fire! 

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