What to Expect After a Fire

According to the National Fire Prevention Association, every year there are more than 350,000 fires in American homes. There are even more in businesses and other structures. No building is truly fireproof- accidents and disasters can happen to anyone. There are basic precautions that you can take to reduce your risk of fire. Among other things, you can

  • Electrical wiring inspected and updated
  • Fireplace and chimney inspected yearly
  • Install smoke or fire alarms
  • Adequate lightning protection

Even if you do everything right, you may end up with a fire-damaged home. Here at LaPointe Construction, we are standing by to walk you through the restoration process. With over 50 years in the business, our skilled team is here from first contact to finishing touches.

When the fire is finally extinguished, the fire department has finished its job, but the restoration process is just beginning. In the case of a small localized fire, the damage may be limited to the surface. A thorough cleaning may be enough to take care of the damage. If you have a large fire, however, the damage can be severe. Large areas of the home can be destroyed.

What’s Left Behind

The aftermath of a fire can vary based on the type of fire and how it was extinguished. You might be dealing with residue from fire extinguishers, water damage, soot, and smoke. All of these have to be handled differently to make sure that your property is completely restored.

Fire Extinguishers

There are several different types of extinguisher. Some can be cleaned up with a HEPA vacuum. Dry chemical extinguishers can be very corrosive to metal, so careful attention should be paid to metal surfaces. Older models used Halon, which does not leave a visible residue but needs to be cleaned carefully. Because some chemicals may be toxic, it’s important to clean even out of the way places like inside of drawers.


Larger fires are usually put out using water. Fire departments either connect their hoses to a nearby hydrant or, especially in rural areas, may pump from a tanker truck. They tend to leave a sludge of charred materials, soot, and water behind. In this case, the first priority is to remove the wet materials. Left too long, water damage and mold colonization become a concern.

Soot – Dry, Wet, or Oily

Dry soot comes from fires that burn fast and hot. This is the easiest to clean because it doesn’t smear when wiped up. Wet soot results from a slower burn at lower temperatures. It tends to be sticky and have a very strong odor. Soot that is oily generally comes from burned fuel, plastics, and grease. Like wet soot, it can be very hard to clean. Proper clean up of soot is important no matter what time. It can be dangerous to breathe in, and any time you are going to be around soot you should wear a mask or filter.


As the fire damage restoration project winds down, getting rid of lingering odors from smoke is one of the final steps. This can also be one of the harder parts of the process. We use air movers, commercial air scrubbers, and other tactics to remove residual smells.

Hopefully, you will never experience a fire. If you do, LaPointe Construction is here to help you. Call our 24 hour help line 978-447-5991 and we can help you to navigate the rough waters ahead as you recover from your fire.