What Items Can Usually Survive a House Fire?

Posted on April 11, 2024


Frances Badayos | author

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ICHQ | Site Author

House fires can destroy important personal items, sentimental heirlooms, and daily necessities. However, fires don’t always cause total loss. By carefully assessing what may have survived your house fire and using proper restoration techniques, it is possible to salvage some of your belongings after a devastating blaze.

The fire damage lawyers at Insurance Claim HQ in Metairie understand the complexities of restoration after house fires. We have experience serving communities around New Orleans, LA, and multiple states nationwide. Contact our knowledgeable attorneys for guidance and support when you’re facing the challenge of recovering from a fire.

What Usually Survives a House Fire?

Identifying the items likely to have withstood the fire with minimal or no damage can help you set priorities during recovery. Some objects resistant to fire damage may be valuable or sentimental, such as jewelry and heirlooms.

Gemstones do not melt readily. Gold and silver also have high melting points, as does steel.

Other common household items that can withstand fires include:

  • Metal tools and furniture
  • Fireboxes, safes, and filing cabinets
  • Kitchen implements, silverware, and cookware
  • Grills and home appliances

You might need to remove tarnish and soot from items made from metal. Repainting and sandblasting can erase damage to some surfaces.

Stone and brick generally hold up well in fires. Porcelain, glass, and ceramic items also tend to be resistant to heat.

Unlike metals, however, they can be fragile and may break during a house fire under falling debris or a collapsed wall or ceiling.

Difficult-to-salvage items

Some household items are challenging to salvage if a fire damages them. For instance, it’s not easy to repair melted or burnt plastic, which also releases toxic chemicals that may be hazardous for your family. For insurance purposes, you should document anything you cannot clean or repair.

Porous materials like upholstery and carpet might also require replacement. These objects tend to absorb smoke and odors, which makes cleaning them hard.

Paper items, including books and photographs, generally do not withstand house fires unless stored in fire-safe containers.

Wood, particleboard and MDF are vulnerable to damage from flames and water during house fires as well.

Fires can cause widespread contamination in your home. Food, medications, and personal care products are typically unsafe after a house fire. In general, you should dispose of these items and replace them.

How Do Fires Damage Properties?

Knowing how fires cause destruction can help you figure out what usually survives a house fire. First, the flames can directly damage your property. Charring leaves materials blackened and weak. Some items, like papers, may burn entirely to ash.

The heat from fires can be as harmful as the flames themselves. The average temperature of a house fire can rise over 600 degrees, and room temperatures may be over 100 degrees. Some items, particularly those made of plastic, might melt or warp. Intense heat from the blaze may also result in discoloration of metals.

House fires release substantial amounts of smoke, which can permeate your home. Smoke leaves behind unpleasant odors, residues, and soot. It can also contribute to corrosion, negatively impacting the structural integrity of your home and your family’s health.

Fighting a fire might also lead to water damage. Although water extinguishes the flames, it can also cause mold growth and damage to electrical systems, appliances, and electronics.

How Do You Salvage Items After a Fire?

Knowing what usually survives a house fire is important so you can plan salvage efforts effectively. The methods used to address damage after a fire depends on the item’s material as well as the extent and nature of the damage.

Vacuums and dry sponges can reduce residues and particles without smearing soot and smoke. Chemical cleansers are useful for eliminating soot. Damaged electronics or appliances may require specialized repairs. To be safe, have a professional assess these items before you attempt to use them.

Clothing, furniture, and decor fabrics often benefit from washing or dry cleaning. Dehydration and freeze-drying techniques can sometimes salvage books and artwork.

How Do You File a Fire Damage Claim?

Repairing the damage after a house fire is time-consuming, stressful, and expensive. You might need to pay for temporary lodging if your house is uninhabitable. Filing an insurance claim helps you obtain the compensation you need. Knowing what items can survive a house fire and developing a comprehensive inventory of your belongings can guide you during this process.

Creating an inventory

Make a detailed list of everything that the fire affected. When possible, include information about brands, models, and purchase dates. This can help you estimate the value of your items more accurately. A detailed account of the damage to your property and belongings, along with photographs, videos, and receipts, can strengthen your claim.

Get Assistance With Your House Fire Claim Today

Although there are commonalities in what usually survives a house fire, each case is unique. Our team can help with house fire cases.

You can use our online form to contact our fire insurance claim attorneys at Insurance Claim HQ in Louisiana. You can also request a free case consultation over the phone. We serve clients in greater New Orleans and surrounding areas. Learn how our firm’s fire insurance lawyers can help you recover and rebuild by pursuing the compensation you deserve.