Fires start from any number of causes, but most begin in the kitchen from unattended cooking. You get a phone call, the doorbell rings, the dog barks – you get distracted. Candles are another catalyst that causes an average of 8,200 structure fires per year.
Whether you fall asleep with a personal heater running in your home, or your cigar didn’t quite get put out, if a fire starts, you are looking at some devastating aftermath to clean up and repair. Dealing with the insurance company can make rebuilding more difficult than it needs to be, so you may need the help of an attorney.
Damages that occur from a fire
Any size fire can leave your home with substantial damage not only from the fire itself, but from heat and smoke. Your home can become a total loss before the fire department even has the chance to save it.
Heat has the ability to melt appliances and other property inside your home when the fire becomes strong enough. Smoke, on the other hand, is toxic and is responsible for more deaths than fires themselves. Homeowners who are fortunate enough to escape still have smoke damage to deal with because it infuses into walls, clothing and furniture – all of which may need to be replaced if it cannot be restored.
Even concrete foundation damage can be caused by fires that exceed high temperatures. Showing of scorch marks, cracks from temperature changes, color changes, and surface chips or splinters are all signs that you are looking at an expensive repair job.
Soot damage is another after-effect of a fire. “Soot is a black powdery or flaky substance that forms through incomplete combustion.” Soot can be dry or oily, and can be nearly impossible to remove when it gets deep into certain areas of your home. Oily soot that gets into your ventilation system is probably not going to be easy to remove and you may be looking at replacing the ductwork in your home.
Water causes serious damage, and often causes a lot of it. When the fire department puts out a fire, many hundreds of gallons of water are pumped at full force through hoses to douse flames as quickly as possible. Your possessions become soaked right along with the walls, roof, and any other part of your home that water can reach, but never should. Water damage can actually be even more destructive than the fire itself.
Mold can develop from water used to put out the fire in a matter of hours. It infests walls and becomes airborne making the environment toxic to even be around, much less live in. The mold would need to be treated, or removed entirely by replacing the materials.
Soaked walls can compromise the entire structure of your home. If the structure is unsafe, it will need to be assessed to see how much of it needs to be replaced. Even if your home is not a total loss, if you can’t rely on the walls not to crumble, you have to relocate until the necessary repairs can be made.
All of your belongings will be drenched and will have to be removed, as well. Drapes, furniture, and clothing are a bit easier to save since they can be carried out of the house to dry out. Carpet, on the other hand, is a very different story. You will likely be replacing that, too.
Humidity plays a big role in damage to your belongings and home. The longer moisture has to take hold, the lower the odds that you can save anything. Humidity can travel throughout your entire home and cause devastation in areas that were virtually untouched. Failure to act quickly to draw that moisture out may result in a total loss.
Costs associated with fire damage
Just thinking about the average costs to cover everything you have to replace – or can replace – from a fire is overwhelming. Do you think you could replace everything in your home, and rebuild with the full amount of your insurance policy limits? The answer is likely no, so you want to make sure you consider the basic costs and adjust your policy just in case you need to use it someday.
- Cleaning smoke and fire damage averages $13,203 for full repair, but can double that figure with severe damage.
- Water damage and mold restoration of drywall, carpet, and mold can be as low as $1,400 or as much as $7,500, on average.
- The cost to rebuild your home will vary depending on where you live, but the average price tag to demolish and rebuild a 2,000 square foot home can conservatively run $150,000.
If your home is damaged or lost in a fire, don’t take on the insurance company alone. You need the professionals of Warhurst Law to secure a settlement that will make your home whole again.
If you live in Florida, Alabama, or Louisiana, reach out to the insurance dispute attorneys of Warhurst Law through our contact page, or call our office in Mobile at 251-207-1296. We represent policyholders throughout the Southeast, including those in the Gulf Coast and the Panhandle.