What damage can fire and smoke cause to your property?

The Insurance claim and damage management industry has traditionally categorised Fire and Smoke damage to buildings on an individual incident basis, as the contaminants involved with smoke are entirely dependent on the materials burnt, fuel available, timeframe, temperatures reached, building construction methods, and building materials.

Fire and smoke damage, and consequently the appropriate response, will depend on the type and circumstances of the fire and the materials affected, together with the extinguishing methods used which can create secondary issues normally associated with water damage categories.

Fire Damage Insurance Claim Case Study - Bedroom damaged by fireTo correctly assess and determine the level of remediation required to the building, we must first clarify the type of fire that has occurred.

The most common types of fire and their associated effects can be distinguished as follows;

1- Low oxygen fires (slow-burning), causing odorous and wet difficult to remove residue that requires prompt mitigation procedures to minimise losses. A typical slow-burning fire is an incident when the mains incoming electrical supply is overloaded or has a poor connection. Gradually the surrounding materials start to smoulder and burn.

Characteristics

  • These fires start slowly and as they are often in cupboards the supply of oxygen is restricted.
  • The smoke produced will contain a higher proportion of aerosols and these will often find a way to get into building cavities by following the cable runs. This can be a problem as the odour can be difficult to treat in the inaccessible places.
  • To the untrained eye, these type of fire residues look minor, with less obvious light brown staining.

2- Oxygen Rich Fires (fast burning), causing dry residues that affect numerous areas and are carried into difficult to access places and items

Characteristics 

  • Items suffer from more thermal damage (scorching and distortion)
  • A large number of smoke chains and cobwebs are visible at high levels
  • Voids and roof spaces may require some form of treatment

3- Protein fires, causing odorous residues that cannot be seen with the naked eye. These fires are usually as a result of the burning of meat, fish or some other protein.

Characteristics 

  • Odours often resemble item burnt (fish, chicken, meat etc)
  • Dismantling of fixed items within the area of the seat of the fire is generally necessary
  • These require numerous different techniques for odour removal and to aid with restoration processes.
  • Extremely difficult to remove odours and contaminants

Why does smoke and soot travel throughout the entire building, often to areas remote to the site of the fire?

In a nutshell, High and low-pressure movement will determine the path.

The laws of physics dictate that gases move from high to low-pressure areas in an attempt to reach equilibrium. When hot, high-pressure smoke enters a room the smoke can be sucked into the lower pressure, the cooler environment of drawers, cupboards, voids, cavities, roof spaces and additional remote rooms. This is why widespread contamination is more than we would expect to see.

Whilst all of the categories of fire damage cause damage to varying degrees, the one thing that they have in common is that all of them produce, both Primary and Secondary Damage;

  1. Primary damage is associated with immediate damage that has been caused by the fire itself, the material that has burned, structural damage or that has been thermally damaged by the fire itself, IE Charred Timber, Burned Plastic, Burned Cables, Burned contents etc.
  2. Secondary damage relates to the damage as a consequence of the fire, but not directly fire damaged. These are usually caused by the corrosive residues that are produced by the burning of materials and also caused by the water used to extinguish the fire. In many cases, costs associated with remediation of secondary damage are significantly greater than the initial primary damage. Therefore assessing, uncovering and identifying the full extent of the secondary damage is critical to successful remediation and treatment of the building. Identifying secondary damage is very difficult unless you or your assessor understand the full mechanics of the fire and combustion. Therefore, generally, specialist knowledge and training are required to allow you to have the tools to uncover these unforeseen and unexpected damages.

How to identify items at risk of secondary damage;

Corrosive residues, usually revealed by high chloride levels and visible corrosion. Look at what burnt. If there were large amounts of PVC, plastics, man-made composite materials involves, for example, e.g. (a plastic waste pipe, windows, laminated worktops are usually made from PVC and plastics), these can produce corrosive residues.

Secondary damage following fires is usually caused by: 

  • Acid corrosion
  • Staining.
  • Odour absorption.
  • Humidity/water damage and mould growth, caused by the water used to extinguish the fire, and/or damaged water pipework/storage tanks that have been thermally damaged by the fire.

What type of materials are at risk of secondary damage?

  • Electrical equipment and especially electronic circuitry are very vulnerable when chlorides are present. Such as TV’s, Kitchen Appliances, Laptops, printers, computers, servers, in fact, any item that has a circuit board is deemed to be at risk.
  • Machinery and tools.
  • Metallic items such as door handles, shower doors etc.
  • Stainless steel is particularly at risk of corrosion.
  • Aluminium windows.
  • Brass electrical fittings.
  • Gilding on picture frames or metal ornaments.
  • Plastic laminated surfaces on kitchen, wardrobes and fitted units.
  • Fabrics and building materials that may support mould growth.
  • Certain plastic materials and unsealed timber.
  • UPVC windows and doors.

If smoke and soot damage is not correctly classified and remediated, permanent damage can be caused to the buildings. If the incorrect treatment method is employed it can cause staining and corrosion to materials, such as uPVC/Aluminum Windows, Sanitary ware, timber finishes, kitchen units, electronics, appliances, carpets etc. Improper or incorrect materials used in cleaning can cause obnoxious odours to be permanently ingrained and trapped within the materials, and no level of treatment will recover the material.

Industry insiders tip;

You get one chance to correctly identify, assess, classify and treat fire and smoke damaged building, incorrect classification can have a detrimental effect on the health of the building and will cause additional permanent damage. The faster that you can identify items at risk of secondary damage the better, as items that are left in a contaminated area will deteriorate rapidly and may quickly become ‘beyond economical repair’.

Don’t stress, Expert Help is available;

If you are unfortunate enough to suffer a loss to your home or business, ensure that the public loss assessors that are appointed are experts in the classification and assessment of fire damage and its effects on your building.

Insurance Claim Solutions are proud to be accredited by the British Damage Management Association and have been awarded the Highest available Award, Insurance Tech qualification, following successful training and independent examination – BDMA Accreditation

Trevor Kelly Insurance Claim Expert

Link to main fire damage claims page

Contact Details

Insurance Claim Solutions
Golf Rd, Rush, Co. Dublin

Mobile: 086 357 1713
Phone : 01 870 9210

We are registered as Public Loss Assessors and fully regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland

Google Reviews

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Insurance Claim Solutions
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Andrew Mathews
Andrew Mathews
17:17 22 Jun 21
Insurance Claim Solutions are an excellent professional... service. I would highly recommend Trevor as he is experienced, knowledgable and very professional. The service is fantastic and stress free. Thank you Trevor.read more
Gisela Walsh
Gisela Walsh
14:24 18 Jun 21
After working with Trevor I can only say that he was a... pleasure to deal with. Very professional and effective. I have no hesitation in recommending him.read more
Clodagh Kennedy
Clodagh Kennedy
14:45 01 Jun 21
Very good service from start to finish. We had water... damage to our recently re-decorated home, we were distraught and stressed. A neighbor of ours recommended Trevor to us. Trevor’s expertise and familiarity of processing a claim took this daunting task to a calmer level, we were delighted with the outcome of our settlement. We highly recommend contacting this company should one be faced with a similar unfortunate situation, it’s five stars from us. Clodagh Kennedy, Co. Dublin.read more
Conor Murray
Conor Murray
08:03 15 May 21
We recently had the nightmare situation of a burst heating... pipe in the concrete slab of our house. Trevor was recommended to us by a friend and we were delighted we contacted him. From his first survey of the damage to settling the claim took about 4 weeks. Trevor took all the stress out of having to negotiate our way through an insurance claim. He told us at the start to trust him, and we were so glad we did, Thank you Trevor, I will be recommending you in the future.read more
James Darley
James Darley
13:34 28 Apr 21
We had a leak in our Kitchen and Utility Room and contacted... a firm to fix it during discussions with the owner of the Company with regard to making an Insurance Claim he suggested we should employ Insurance Claim Solutions owned by Trevor Kelly and boy are we glad we did. We never realized how much was involved in making a claim. After we met Trevor and discussed his fees etc he then proceeded to do all the work for us with the Insurance Company. He also put us in contact with a Company that will be able to do all the work for us. Trevor negotiated a very fair settlement with the Insurance Company and took so much pressure off us and his fee was very reasonable for all the work involved.Trevor kept us in the loop at all times and we cannot thank him enough. Would absolutely recommend Trevor 100per cent .read more
susan murphy
susan murphy
12:32 28 Apr 21
Trevor was a pleasure to deal with. He was very... professional at a difficult time in his own personal life. Without Trevor we would have never received a good settlement. I have no hesitation in recommending Trevor. Again thank youread more
Samantha Coombes
Samantha Coombes
11:26 07 Apr 21
We had an extremely bad leak in our home, which was very... stressful. We contacted Insurance Claim Solutions and dealt with Trevor. He was extremely professional, knowledgeable and cordial. He always answered our phone calls and texts promptly, which helped alleviate the stress and we are so grateful for all his help in a bad situation. I would highly recommend Trevor and ICS, without hesitation.read more
Brian Tighe
Brian Tighe
11:49 02 Apr 21
Trevor made it all very easy when making my claim to... insurance after gas boiler blew and considerable water damage resulted. Good to get someone knowledgeable on your side. My first time claiming from insurance.read more
Amanda Charters
Amanda Charters
14:36 23 Mar 21
We had a flood in our house a year ago. We contacted Trevor... and he assured us that he could still help even though our situation was slightly different in that the damage from the flood only became visible in the last few months. We gave Trevor all the details and he took over our case dealing with the insurance company. He kept us informed throughout the various stages of the claim and assured us all was progressing well. Within three weeks the claim was processed and we can now proceed with fixing the damage. He took all the stress away from dealing with Insurance Companies. I'm so glad we contacted Trevor, he's very friendly. honest and professional. I can't recommend Trevor highly enough.read more
Ali Safdar
Ali Safdar
23:18 15 Mar 21
Would highly recommend Insurance claim solutions. I have... used Trevor services after having a Fire Damage in my house.Trevor is brilliant. He took all the stress of dealing with my insurance claim and handled everything from day one professionally and efficiently keeping me updated the entire process. And managed to get money for accommodation straight away.Trevor is excellent at his job and I can highly recommend him to anyone with a property damage insurance claim.Thanks again for all your help.read more
Kenneth Hills
Kenneth Hills
12:33 27 Jan 21
Trevor (Insurance Claim Solutions) provided us with a... highly professional and friendly service throughout the claims process. He came highly recommended and we can see why. We had extensive damage caused due to a burst pipe in our boiler which occured only days before Christmas. Trevor responded to our urgent request to assess and submit a claim on our behalf. He took all the hassle and stress out of managing this claim ourselves. His expertise was invaluable in being able to identify all issues and to negotiate with our insurers to ensure all damages were accounted for. Thanks again Trevor.read more
Cynthia Kennedy
Cynthia Kennedy
10:21 22 Jan 21
Excellent service. I cannot recommend Claims Solutions... highly enough. We had a lot of water damage to our home. Trevor was so professional in the way he handled our case from start to finish. He took took the stress out of it completely for us. He was excellent at communicating everything to us. The whole process was completed very quickly. Thank you Trevor.read more
Tim O'Sullivan
Tim O'Sullivan
10:20 11 Jan 21
Trevor is an insurance claims expert and came highly... recommended. He didn't disappoint! After we had a fire at our premises we found ourselves to be under insured. We expected to have to pay for a considerable portion of the rebuild cost but Trevor managed to secure a settlement that covered the rebuild. Excellent work Trevor. Thank you!read more
Terence Herron
Terence Herron
14:39 05 Jan 21
Trevor is a true professional: efficient, thorough,... dedicated and trustworthy. He took care of all dealings with the insurance company. He managed the whole process in a positive, friendly and stress-free way. Highly recommended.read more
Stephen Kennedy
Stephen Kennedy
15:47 23 Dec 20
I was fortunate enough to come across Trevor in what was an... incredibly stressful time, having suffered severe flooding in my home. Trevor, was incredibly helpful, and acted without delay. Trevor, is a consummate professional with a wealth of knowledge in his field, who provides exceptional customer service. A true master in his field. Therefore, I would highly recommend Trevor without any hesitation.read more
Shauna Parle
Shauna Parle
09:47 27 Nov 20
Trevor was extremely helpful and provided an excellent... service throughout the entire process. He really worked to ensure the claims process was as stress free for me as possible by handling all of it on my behalf. I would have been lost without his service after such a traumatic event, couldn’t recommend him enough.read more
D C
D C
22:08 26 Nov 20
I would like to recommend Trevor Kelly for handling my... claim after I had a leak in the house which caused a lot of water damage. He took control and dealt with every aspect of the claim and made the whole experience stress free. I didn’t have to deal with the Insurance company at all, I just handed Trevor the forms and he took care of everything. I found Trevor very helpful and friendly all though the process and once again I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him.read more
Katherine Lyons
Katherine Lyons
21:45 25 Nov 20
Trevor was very professional and experienced. His... expertise made the whole process go smoothly. He made sure I was informed and put at ease from our very first conversation. I must have thanked him 100 times, it is hard enough to deal with the damage and emotions without having to deal with the stress of the claim also. I will be recommending him to family and friends with confidence. Quick and Professional service. I am delighted with my outcome.read more
Siobhain Tuckey
Siobhain Tuckey
10:06 25 Nov 20
I cannot thank Trevor enough for all his assistance with a... claim on my dads house. He made the process so simply and organized everything. Trevor was easy to work with and excellent at communicating so we understood the process at all times. I would highly recommend working with Trevor in relation to any insurance claims!read more
Natasha Smith Menton
Natasha Smith Menton
21:53 21 Oct 20
I contacted Trevor on behalf of an elderly family member... who had a leak resulting in water damage in his house. Trevor reassured me from the very first call that I was doing the right thing by using his service. He was extremely professional and very thorough in his assessment. We didn't have to fill out any hefty paper work or bounce back and forth with the insurance company. Trevor took care of all that. I couldn't believe how quickly it was processed and settled. Amazing work Trevor. We can't thank you enough for the time and effort that you put in. We can concentrate on the repairs now 👍read more
Sarah Carroll
Sarah Carroll
18:38 16 Oct 20
Trevor Kelly was referred to me by our insurance broker... after complications arose with our claim for water damage to our home. Trevor was not only extremely thorough and experienced with his advice but was also helpful, kind and compassionate. He alleviated so much of the stress endured by the situation by handling absolutely everything for us.Without Trevor's expertise, our claim which was initially declined would never have been approved. His advise was fundamental to the success of our claim, which surpassed all our expectations financially. Thank you so much Trevor for all your wonderful work, I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending your service to anyone who might need it.read more
Louise Cleary
Louise Cleary
12:25 15 Oct 20
I could not recommend Trevor Kelly enough. I was so... stressed out trying to deal with an insurance claim for the first time. Upon recommendation, I contacted Trevor and it was the best decision ever. Thanks to his professionalism, his calming nature, his re-assuring words to me and also to his in depth knowledge of the business, I was able to leave all dealings with my insurance company to him knowing that I was in very capable and safe hands. Thank you again Trevor for looking after me so very well.read more
Lucas Vazquez
Lucas Vazquez
18:11 14 Sep 20
Trevor is one of those really good professionals you are... lucky to cross paths in live. An absolute gentleman from day one , he took all pressure and made it so easy ( it was our first insurance claim ever) .Trevor many thanks for your help! There is not way for thanking you enough and it is being a pleasure to meet you. High recommend to anyone whos in the mist of an insurance claim.! ( nev and lucas, dublin )read more
Riona Mc Grath
Riona Mc Grath
20:35 07 Sep 20
The whole experience was so efficient, easy and honestly... made what should have been an ordeal into a positive experience! Trevor went above and beyond and worth his weight in gold. I would highly recommend Insurance Claims solutions to anyone facing into a claim!read more
Allish Oconnor
Allish Oconnor
20:34 04 Apr 20
Thank you Trevor so much for all your help with my recent... insurance claim. Trevor looked after all paperwork and communication with my insurance company. The claim was processed very efficiently and was totally stress free for me, considering that we had a serious leak in the house. Trevor actually recommended a builder to complete the work and we are extremely satisfied with the job. Do not hesitate to contact Trevor if you find yourself in the need of accessing your insurance! All the best Trevor.read more
Mar O'Donoghue
Mar O'Donoghue
13:08 30 Mar 20
Excellent service. Very difficult case arising due to water... egress from damaged pipe work causing significant subsidence. Insurers attempted to frustrate the claim, without Trevor's help we would never have been able to navigate the claims process successfully. We are forever grateful and would never attempt a home insurance claim again without engaging Trevor first. We cannot recommend his services strongly enough.read more
Antoinette Tierney
Antoinette Tierney
19:18 20 Mar 20
Thanks a million @insurance_claim_solutions_ for looking... after my mam and dad insurance claim after a flood wrecked their bathroom and sitting room. Thank you Trevor for making sure she got fixed up even after the job was finished they would have had no idea how to claim and probably would have left it without claiming, and you took over everything for them. They now have a beautiful wet room which is a godsend to my elderly parents I would highly recommend you in the future and have passed your number on. Thanks again for making a huge difference to their lives greatly appreciated From Antoinetteread more
Miryam Harris
Miryam Harris
09:36 21 Feb 20
Trevor was recommended by our neighbour when we had a water... leak before Christmas. He was just amazing from start to finish and took the hassle way from us having to deal with the insurance company.At all times he was very professional, knowledgeable and courteous.The whole process was seamless from start to finish.I would highly recommend Trevor from Insurance Claims Solutions to anyone.read more
Fidelma Heeney
Fidelma Heeney
14:27 20 Feb 20
Trevor assisted with a claim due to a flood which caused... quite an amount of damage to the property. His calm knowledgeable presence reassured me throughout the process. His professionalism and attention to detail was exceptional and nothing got overlooked. I cannot say enough positive things about his way of working and cannot recommend him highly enough.read more
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