There have been developments regarding local officials and the recent Marshall Fire. As an industry leader, Pure Restore needs to gather information and active cases to better understand how this event is affecting our community and their claims.
If you haven’t already been updated with the information below, it may be in the best interest of you and your family to understand the scope of damage we are dealing with because of this large-scale residential fire.
The Colorado Division of Insurance Town Hall Meeting
There are many inconsistencies in how insurance companies are treating claims involving soot, ash, and char. For your safety, we suggest learning more about the recent town hall meeting. This also addresses misinformation and other rumors about how fire and smoke affects an environment.
“The Colorado regulators were adamant about insurance companies paying for this special testing. Obviously, the policyholders complained that the insurance company adjusters were refusing to pay for these tests. Many insurance company adjusters are keeping quiet about this dangerous issue—keeping this claims issue secret may result in a lowered claim payment.” Learn More
Boulder County – Health Officials
Beginning Sunday, Jan. 16, Boulder County staff and representatives will be going door-to-door in Louisville, Superior, and unincorporated Boulder County to assess properties that were not destroyed but may have sustained wind and smoke damage from the Marshall Fire. Learn More
Cires (cires.colorado.edu) – Official Smoke Resources
– The post-fire smell is from VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). Some (but not all) are bound to particles and can be trapped by a particle filter.
– Those VOCs can deposit on walls and other surfaces, and will likely keep off-gassing for a long time (weeks to months). The off-gassing will be temperature-dependent: More VOCs will be emitted (off-gas) when it’s warmer, less when it’s cooler.
– There are a whole lot of VOCs both in active fire plumes, and that remain after. Some of these compounds are toxic (e.g., dioxins, benzene, formaldehyde, PAHs). Learn More
Safe Restoration Services
In the case of fire and smoke damage, restoration companies should be using a neutralizing agent like EasyDECON as opposed to ineffective techniques or applications such as bleach, standard disinfectant (which are not designed for these scenarios) and other cleaning agents or degreasers (Ex: Atomic).
Intelagard provides US EPA registered, military strength EasyDECON DF200 and its multipurpose delivery systems to a worldwide customer base that includes the US and international civil support teams, militaries, first responders, specialized teams, government agencies, disaster recovery & remediation specialists, commercial companies, dive teams and more.
A frustrating trend we are seeing is that some insurance companies and restoration companies are cutting corners by using inappropriate cleaning products or processes for fire/smoke remediation. Removing these carcinogens requires the proper process, technology, and chemical solutions.
Another major area of concern is that some contents cleaning companies or similar contractors are being directed to “clean in place” which means they are not removing items from your home, cleaning them, and returning them. Instead, they are cleaning items in the same contaminated environment.
If you’re working with another restoration company, ask them if they “clean in place” and how they are supposed to avoid cross-contamination while doing so. By not removing objects from a space for proper cleaning, it is virtually impossible to remove all harmful elements without cross-contamination.
FEMA Fact Sheet – Critical Points For Smoke
- Call your insurance agent as soon as possible to file a claim.
- Never attempt to salvage belongings at the expense of your own safety.
- Wear protective clothing―disposable nitrile or latex gloves, safety goggles, protective clothing (long-sleeve shirt, long pants, sturdy shoes or boots), and an N95 mask or face covering.
- Avoid breathing in or touching hazardous materials. Risks in fire-damaged areas can include particulates, exposed asbestos, lead-containing building materials (such as glass and lead paint), and chemical residues.
- If water has been used to put out the fire, mold may also be an issue and should not be inhaled.
Even though you will be sorely tempted, it is important to reduce the amount you handle or touch damaged items. Soot’s very fine particles stick to everything, and every touch will grind it further into the item.
Soot and ash are very abrasive and will further damage items through scratching.
Keep in mind that the longer the soot remains on the item, the harder it is to remove.
Do not use water―or any other cleaning solution! Water will drive soot and ash further into the surface of your item, and they will become impossible to remove.
The misinformation circulating (much of which downplays the severity of smoke hazards) does not benefit the homeowner. There is plenty of science and documented cases proving that toxic elements in ash/soot/smoke/char are extremely harmful and need to be addressed appropriately.
All links provided from official sources are for your own knowledge and benefit. Official sources have your health and best interests in mind.
Pure Restore is here to be a resource. If you are questioning the level of care you are receiving by your insurance or restoration company, feel free to reach out. We can answer questions anytime.
What is charring?
Something that is partially burned and is discolored or darker than it was before being charred.
What is soot?
Soot is the powdery or flaking black powder present as a result of incomplete combustion.
What is ash?
Ash refers to the solid remnants of a fire.
How bad is fire damage?
Serious fire damage threatens the integrity of a home’s structure. A substantial fire will require that engineers clear the environment as a safe space for entry. Most materials and surfaces need to be deep cleaned or disposed of (when unsalvagable).
How bad is smoke damage?
Smoke damage resulting from residential fires are extremely toxic for humans. Residential homes are filled with appliances, batteries, wiring, insulation, electronics, and much more. This leaves behind carcinogenic (cancer-causing) elements which can travel with smoke. Even if your home wasn’t on fire, having serious smoke odor (and trace amounts of soot/ash) is indicative of a serious problem that needs to be addressed to ensure the safety of all occupants.
Pure Restore Can Help
Pure Restore is here to help families recover from this weekend’s fires in Colorado. If you need to recover from fire or smoke damage, our team can help. We bill home insurance directly.
Don’t hesitate to call or text 720-919-4500 if you have questions. Our team is operating around the clock to help residents and business owners recover from this emergency.