One of the biggest questions people have after surviving a house fire is whether or not they can still live there. The National Fire Protection Association recorded 358,500 home structure fires between 2011 and 2015. Home fires are a common occurrence, leaving some families displaced after the fire.
Returning after a home fire
In many cases, families can return to live in the same house following fire. They often cannot return right away, though. Restoration teams have to remove the dangerous smoke and soot left from the fire. Structures may be exposed if the roof collapsed or a wall had fallen down.
It’s not safe to return to the home until everything has been cleaned and restored. The Fire Department must also approve that it is safe to return.
The house needs to be inspected before families can return. Inspectors determine if the house is safe. If the fire started from an electrical problem, has the electrical problem been fixed? If the fire burned the roof or destroyed half the house, has the roof and that portion of the house been rebuilt? Contaminants like smoke and soot must also be fully removed before it is safe to return to the house.
Smaller, contained fires vs. all-consuming fires
In the case of a smaller, more contained fire, families can return to their home in a few days to a few weeks. The fire did not get so out of control that it destroyed property. Or, firefighters arrived before the fire spread throughout the house.
Maybe the fire only affected a portion of the kitchen. The kitchen undergoes restoration, but the rest of the home was untouched by the fire. Smoke can travel throughout the house, even if the fire stayed in one area. Removing and cleaning the smoke damage is important for health and safety reasons.
Sometimes fires consume an entire house. In this case, the family may have to rebuild the house from scratch. They might not be able to return to the same house if the fire was severe enough and caused irreparable damage.
Can a house be lived in after a fire? The short answer is that yes, people are often able to return to their homes. The longer answer is that it depends on the extent of the fire damage. Our restoration experts work with you and your insurance company to make your home safe again so that you can return.