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The Fire is Out . . . Now What?

The realization of the trauma of the fire is rapidly surpassed by the shock of realization that comes afterwards.  Realization involves tasks such as clean up, repairs, and replacement. We know that questions may arise during your clean up, and hope to help provide some answers to them. The Fire Department does some basic clean up after the fire to assist in determining the cause of the fire and to insure that the fire has been completely extinguished.  Openings may have been made in windows, the roof or walls.  The openings to the outside were made in an effect to minimize smoke and fire damage to the interior.  This in turn allows a minimum amount of water to be utilized for extinguishments.  The openings in the walls were made to check for fire extension in concealed spaces.  This minimizes the chances of fire smoldering for hours and then re-igniting several hours later. If you discover smoking materials, or feel what seems to be excessive heat in concealed spaces after the fire department leaves, feel free to call and we will return to check the area for you. You are responsible to see that holes are covered against rain and entry, and that outside doors to your home can be locked and secured.


If you own your own property, you should contact your insurance carrier as soon as possible.  If you rent the property, contact your landlord.  If the property is not insured, or if the insurance does not cover all losses, contact a lawyer or the Internal Revenue Service for information on tax deduction status. Keep all receipts for any money you spend.  Do not throw away any damaged goods until an inventory is made.  All damages are taken into consideration in developing your insurance claim. Before repairs are made you need to check with building inspection department to see if permits are needed to do the work.


Wiring may have been damaged by water or fire and should be checked by an electrician before turning on power.  If power has been pulled it will need to be inspected by inspection department before power can be turned back on.

Money Replacement

Mutilated money or melted coins are returnable at the nearest Federal Reserve Bank.  Contact your local bank and they will assist you in coordinating the activities with the Federal Reserve Bank.Any mutilated or destroyed bonds are handled by:  the U.S. Treasury Department, Bureau of Public Debt, Division of Loans and Currency, 537 S. Clark Street, Chicago, Ill. 60605, ATT: Bond Consultant.  Include name(s) and address on bonds, approximate date or time purchased, denominations and approximate numbers of each, and location purchased.

Documents and Records

Armed Forces dependent children and welfare clients should notify their case workers if their ID cards have been destroyed.  Copies of birth, death, and marriage records can be obtained from the District Court Clerk in the County of birth, death or marriage.


Food in cans or jars should be washed in detergent and water.  If labels fall off during the process, mark cans or jars with a grease pencil.  Do not use bulged, dented, or rusted cans. Some freezer foods can be saved:

1)  Keep the door or lid closed.  Insulation keeps the food frozen for one day and possibly up to three days.

2)  Wrap frozen foods in newspapers, blankets or use insulated boxes when moving food to another freezer.

3)  Do not refreeze vegetables that have completely thawed.  Refreeze only if there are ice crystals in the vegetables.


Freezer and refrigerator odor is removable by washing the inside with a solution of baking soda and water, or by using one cup of vinegar or household ammonia to one gallon of water.  Open containers of baking soda or a piece of charcoal place in the appliance often eliminates odors by absorption.


What seems to be an ever-lingering odor can be washed from most clothing.  A tested recipe for clothing that can be bleached is as follows:


**4 to 6 tbsp. Tri-sodium phosphate

1-cup Lysol or household chlorine bleach

1 gallon of water

Mix well, add clothes, rinse with clean water and dry.

 **2 tbsp. Sodium hypochlorite can be used as a substitute.


Test colored garments before treatment.

Mildew is removable by washing the stain with soap and water, rinsing, and drying in the sun.  If the stain is difficult to erase, try lemon juice and salt; 1 tablespoon pastorate bleach to one pint of lukewarm water; or a diluted solution of household chlorine bleach.

Soot and Smoke Odor

Soot and smoke odor can be removed from most walls, furniture, and floors with the following solution:


4 to 6 tbsp. Tri-sodium phosphate

1-cup Lysol or household chlorine bleach

1 gallon of water


Wear rubber gloves while applying the solution to the walls, or affected furniture.  After washing the articles, rinse with clear water and dry.



Wash walls with the above solution or soap detergent while wet.  Work from floor up. Ceilings should be left till last.  Do not repaint walls until completely dry.  Commercial products are available from wallpaper dealers to repair wallpaper.


Specific steps are necessary to repair wood furniture or fixtures:


1)  Clear off mud or dirt

2)  Remove drawers and let dry thoroughly

3)  Scrub with a stiff brush and cleaning solution

Wet wood decays and molds easily.  Ventilate the room or turn on furnace or air conditioner to dry thoroughly. Moldy furniture should be wiped with a cloth soaked in a mixture of water and kerosene or Borax dissolved in hot water.



Never Dry Furniture In the Sun

To remove white spots or film, rub the wood surface with a 410 steel polishing wood pad dipped in liquid wax.  Wipe with a soft cloth and buff.

Notify Parties of Relocation

Contact your mortgage company, your employer, friends and family, your children’s school, your post office to hold or forward your mail, fire or police if the fire is under investigation, and your utility companies to let them know where you can be located.

 Emergency Help

 You can call:


Red Cross:    601-353-5442

Salvation Army:   601-969-7560


We hope the information is very helpful to you.  If we can be of any further assistance, please feel free to contact us.

Last Updated on Friday, 04 March 2011 12:38