Fire


Fire Damage

All perils damage property differently and fire damage is no exception. Assessing fire damage claims requires more specialized training and experience than most any other type of claim. Accordingly, Epic has the best trained group of adjusters to understand how a fire, the smoke it creates, and the water used to extinguish it truly affects a building and the property within.

Q: Is a fire-damaged home ever the same?
A: Unfortunately oftentimes, it is not. A lot depends on the restoration techniques and methodology used. Often smoke stained attics, walls and ceilings are painted over with a product called KILZ. The use of this product is easily discovered upon the reselling of your home and may negatively affect the resale value. Other issues to consider include the negative and corrosive effect smoke has on electrical wiring, outlets, fixtures, machinery and appliances. Without complete replacement, one may be taking on the risk of another fire due to failed electrical components. Lastly, smoke odor abatement is a science that requires considerable training to perform and rarely is it ever 100% effective

 

Odor Abatement

After a fire, we have found that the smoke causes nearly as much damage as the fire itself. It leaves its mark on everything including furniture, walls, carpets, and clothing. Smoke can take on several different forms, depending on the material that is burning. Carbon based, protein based, and oil based are among the most common. These different types of fires produce a specific smoke that will require a variation in the cleaning method.

 

ASCR – Association of Specialists in Cleaning and Restoration

Along with a seasoned fire investigator, EPIC employs former restoration contractors with decades of experience in the fire restoration industry. These experts have managed thousands of fire restoration projects throughout their employment and have earned designations by the National Institute of Fire Restoration and the like; ensuring the most thorough and professional evaluation of your property.

 

Smoke Damage Remediation

Unfortunately, there is incredible subjectivity and differing opinion on the restorability of property damaged by the byproduct of fire – smoke.

FACT: Smoke can be much more devastating than the actual fire due in part to its corrosive properties. The most usual complication we encounter in fire damage claim adjusting is the age old question – can it be cleaned to pre-loss condition? The answer is usually not and almost always, not cost effectively.

When adjusting a fire damaged property, we have to consider the pre-loss condition of the property. EPIC will always advocate replacement of the damaged property as opposed to repair, if we can not be assured that it will be restored to pre-loss condition. Many times, toxic smoke residues can not be eliminated and will remain long after an attempt at cleaning has occurred. Ultimately this may compromise the life of the property cleaned or may leave a pungent odor of smoke that lingers for years.

SMOKE can be MORE DEVASTATING THAN FIRE to your property.

 

Remediation Techniques

A medium income household with two adults and three children will typically have tens of thousands of dollars in clothing, linens and wardrobe items such as belts, shoes, hats, etc. When smoke affects these items, a reflexive response is to send them out immediately to be laundered and “deodorized”. BE CAREFUL – Many times dry cleaning agreements are entered into without considering the costs. Be sure to get a quote and pick only the items you really want. Often the insured is better off buying new clothes than keeping the smoke damaged goods after an attempted cleaning.

In some cases, the chemicals used in cleaning and deodorization may compromise and or alter the life of the garment as well as the original color and texture of the material.

 

Arson

The act of arson is a very serious offense and an investigation that reveals the insured as a viable suspect will most likely lead to a very lengthy investigative process that could draw out the settlement of a claim for years. A causation report that rules out arson could save you months and even years of unnecessary delays in the settlement of your claim.

When arson is suspected, it is imperative to immediately engage a professional Cause and Origin Fire Investigator to investigate on behalf of the insured. The inspection should be performed immediately after the loss in order to limit the spoilage of evidence and outside contamination thus typically resulting in much more accurate findings and an overall more factual report. The investigation should be performed simultaneously with the insurance company’s investigator(s) and is often videotaped.

Epic employs a highly capable fire investigator with decades of experience who can organize and direct a causation investigation on behalf of EPIC’s clients.

If your loss is SUSPECTED TO BE ARSON, do not wait to INVESTIGATE! After the evidence is manipulated and tampered with it may be too late. If your loss is suspected to be arson, Epic Group can help you with the investigation.