Fire damage destruction happens with a wide range of seriousness here in Missoula, from minor smoke destruction to the total destruction of a building and its contents. For its victims, fire damage extends from temporary inconvenience to major tragedy. Whatever the seriousness, most victims of fire damage find themselves in unfamiliar territory. In addition to the disruption of their customary living patterns, they must make numerous decisions that may have a long-term impact on their personal and financial affairs. Much of the time they lack a sound basis for making those decisions.
Levels of fire severity
Every fire damage situation is unique; there are no truly typical occurrences. However, general categories of fire severity might be considered, under the headings of Light, Moderately Severe, Severe, and Very Severe damage. With those reservations, we might describe four general levels of fire severity.
Light destruction: the damage consists of loose fire residues which can be remedied by cleaning the walls, ceilings and floors and contents. Residues may be confined to specific areas. No painting or replacements are required.
Moderate damage: the destruction consists of more intense fire residues which may be remedied by restorative cleaning procedures, painting and floor refinishing. Localized heat damage may require replacement of a burned cabinet, appliances or drywall. Fire odors may be minor or severe. Some fires, such as those involving carbonized meat or poultry, generate little or no visible smoke or residues, but leave persistent, obnoxious odors. Other materials, such as plastics, may generate extensive residues from a small quantity of fuel. Personal property requires surface cleaning where residues are present, and can largely be handled on site.
Severe destruction: fire damage has occurred to structural materials such as framing, and millwork, and finishes near the fire source; heavy deposits of carbon and smoke residues over a wide area; odors may be extremely disgusting, particularly from cramped, oxygen-starved fires. Enclosed wall and ceiling cavities may be infiltrated by smoke
Very severe damage involves fire destruction to major building elements, such as floor or roof framing, heating and ventilation, utilities. Such destructions often require temporary repairs such as board-up, winterization, temporary electrical repairs, or removal of salvageable contents. Very Severe fires may involve extensive water damage from fire suppression efforts or damaged water lines. Licensed contractors, building permits and code inspections are required.
At every level of severity, heat, fire residues and the disruption of normal building systems alters the building environment. Considerations of health, as well as value, require that all restoration work be complete and properly executed.
In the immediate after-effects of any fire the victim usually notifies his insurance carrier, if a policy is in effect. Depending on the circumstances and severity of the destruction, the agent may immediately authorize the insured to obtain temporary lodging and emergency repairs. Prudence, as well as the terms of insurance policies, usually requires that the property owner act to secure the property and prevent additional damage.
Repair specification, is prepared for the building and for damaged personal property, sometimes by the adjuster, more often by an independent contractor. Some adjusters exert strong pressure to control the specifications and bids; others allow the property owner to participate in the repair decisions. However the bid and approval process is handled, the decision is ultimately made by the property owner, who must authorize the restoration and live with the result.
Normally, an insurance adjuster visits the site to inspect the damage, review the policy and discuss the claim with the insured. The adjuster might reach agreement with the owner on the restoration required, and authorize the immediate performance of those repairs. The adjuster may refer the victim to one or several fire damage restoration firms here in Missoula Montana. Where appropriate, the adjuster may authorize the property owner to obtain temporary repairs to secure the property against further damage. In other cases the owner may choose to proceed without insurance oversight.
The steps that follow trace an insured owner’s actions through the progress of a hypothetical severe fire damage incident. Light or moderate damage would typically involve fewer steps.
The property owner:
Preventing Further Damage
You can minimize further damage to your Montana property by following these guidelines, even if you don't hire a professional fire restorer.
Always Preferred Restoration