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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Don’t Risk Your Health; Toss These Items After a House Fire

2/9/2018 (Permalink)

House fires can cause devastating damage and can take months, if not years, to recover from. In addition to the structural damage and damage to personal items, you will find that items not burned to a crisp have been severely damaged by high heat, water and smoke. If you run across these items, your first instinct may be to clean them and save them, but in many cases, doing so may be a bad idea. The fire restoration team in Temple, TX, warns homeowners against keeping all non-ruined items and advises them to throw away many seemingly “fine” objects.

While some objects, such as clothing, furniture and household items, may be salvageable with proper cleaning, there are others that you should toss after a house fire, no questions asked. Those items are the following:

• Nonperishable foods
• Perishables left at room temperature for too long
• Medicines
• Cosmetics
• Burned clothing

Search your cabinets and refrigerator for any opened containers and anything stored in permeable packaging (think cardboard boxes or thin plastic bags). You may be able to salvage canned or jarred foods, unless they were extremely close to the heat. Canned foods exposed to high heats may not be edible anymore, as the heat can activate bacteria that causes the food inside to spoil. It is better to throw away those items than to risk consuming them and getting sick.

Toss out fruit, vegetables, bread and any other food items left out and vulnerable to the smoke in the air. Perishables left inside your refrigerator may be salvageable, depending on if your power went out, and if so, for how long it was out. Refrigerators are well-sealed and can generally keep items cold for up to four hours after the power is cut. However, each situation is different, and the best thing you can do is open your own fridge and check for the following:

• Smoky smell
• Other odd odors
• Soot in the fridge
• Frozen foods that no longer feel cold

If you notice any of the above, throw away all food in the fridge, no questions asked.

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