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CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Construction & Renovation > Fire Damage

Fire Damage Cost


How Much Does Fire Damage Cost?

 
low costAverage With Fire Sprinklers: $2,166high costAverage Without Fire Sprinklers: $45,109
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Soot and odors from a household fire can penetrate many areas and damage paint, carpet, upholstery, drapes, clothing and other belongings. Even a small stovetop blaze can cause smoke and soot damage far beyond the actual burned area, and this damage can be hard to remove. Soot is oily and easily stains household textiles, while smoke penetrates deeply, even into the spaces inside walls. If not properly deodorized, smoke odors can reoccur.

Typical costs:

  • The average cost of a fire in a house without fire sprinklers is $45,109; for a house with fire sprinklers the average is $2,166, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. The total cost of a fire will depend on the type, size and extent of the blaze, and the value of the items destroyed. This can vary from a few hundred dollars for a brief and contained fire (such as inside a garbage can) to more than a million dollars for destroying an upscale residence.
  • Hiring a restoration company to rebuild, clean and deodorize after a kitchen fire in a typical single-family home can start between $2,000 and $5,000 for a fairly straightforward restoration in a limited area, but a kitchen fire with more extensive damage requiring rebuilding can cost $10,000-$30,000, and restoration costs in an upscale kitchen with custom cabinets and countertops to restore or replace could be $50,000-$70,000 or more. Factors affecting restoration costs include how the fire was put out (fire extinguishing chemicals or water); how hot the fire was and how long it burned; the types of materials burned, especially the size and acidity of the resulting soot (smaller soot penetrates to more areas); and the types of materials (floors, walls, drapes, countertops, etc.) that need to be cleaned and how each reacts to the soot The longer acidic soot remains in place, the more damage it can cause.
  • Fire damage is typically covered under homeowners' insurance, but the amount paid will vary depending on the terms of the policy. There is often a deductible amount the homeowner must pay and a limit on the total amount covered for a single incident. If the property coverage is for "actual cash value," the insurance company pays based on the original value of the item minus; a "replacement value" policy covers the cost of replacing the item at current prices; and if construction costs have risen over the years, an "extended replacement" policy may pay up to 25 percent more than the total coverage limit.
Related articles: Water Damage Restoration, Debris Removal, Homeowner's Insurance

What should be included:
  • Do not move or clean anything until the insurance adjuster takes any required photographs. Don't attempt to wash painted surfaces or to shampoo carpet without researching proper techniques or contacting a fire restoration specialist. Improper cleaning methods can worsen the damage, increasing the total restoration costs. The University of Missouri Extension explains how to clean household textiles and clothing[1] .
  • There are typically two classes of fire. Simple fires consume pure fuels (such as dry grass) and usually result in complete combustion; fires with complex fuels -- the most common type of household fire -- consume synthetic materials, usually resulting in incomplete combustion and the production of soot. It's important to determine what type of smoke damage occurred before cleanup begins. ServPro describes behaviors and types of smoke[2] .
  • Typically a representative of a fire restoration company will inspect the premises to determine the type and extent of the damages, and to estimate how much cleaning, restoration and repairs are needed. Restoration work may include replacing charred structural components and any smoke-damaged insulation; treating salvageable wall framing with odor counteractants ; replacing or restoring the heating, air conditioning and ventilation system; using ozone deodorization and/or wet or dry fogging to neutralize odors while household building materials are drying; cleaning and painting salvageable drywall; and processing salvageable furnishings, contents and removable fixtures at a restoration facility before returning them to the restored house. The Clean Care Seminars training school details these and other procedures that might be used in the process.
  • A forest or wildfire can fill nearby homes with smoke and ash. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification gives tips for this type of home restoration.
Shopping for fire damage:
  • The restoration company should clearly explain what they will do, how they will do it about how long it will take. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification lists factors to consider when selecting a restoration company; search for a fire and smoke damage restoration specialist.
  • Large nationwide chains of franchised cleaning/restoration companies include Servpro[3] , Service Master Clean[4] and Rainbow International[5] .
  • Ask for and check references; make sure the company is properly bonded and insured, and check for complaints with the Better Business Bureau[6] .
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External Resources:
  1.  extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=GH145
  2.  www.servpro.com/fire-smoke-damage-restoration/
  3.  www.servpro.com/
  4.  www.servicemasterclean.com/
  5.  www.rainbowintl.com/
  6.  www.bbb.org/us/Find-Business-Reviews/
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