Rebuilding Dreams: A Guide to Fire Restoration and Reconstruction

Rebuilding Dreams: A Guide to Fire Restoration and Reconstruction

Rebuilding Dreams: A Guide to Fire Restoration and Reconstruction

fire restoration and reconstruction

Table of Contents

Restoring your property after a fire is a three-step process: safety first, then cleaning up the mess, and finally rebuilding. To make sure everything goes smoothly, it’s a smart move to bring in a restoration crew that knows their stuff. We will help you bounce back from the fire and get things looking like they did before the fire.

We take a systematic approach to restoration. In the case of our client’s story, it was imperative to handle the restoration process systematically because their fire damage resulted from arson.

Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church Fire

In May of 2023, we were asked to do a fire cleanup project for a church in Douglas, AZ. It was a historic church called Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church. This church had been a symbol of hope and unity for the community for 122 years. However, tragedy struck when an arsonist set fire to the beloved church on May 22nd. A church-owned house next door was also destroyed. No one was injured. Saint Stephen’s church and the church-owned house were a total loss. The walls caved in. The office was heavily damaged, and the parish hall was still standing but access to the building was limited.

The original goal was to restore St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church to its former glory. However, the damage was so intense, that those hoping to restore the place of worship said it just wasn’t possible.

CCR began cleanup procedures and the demolition of the 122-year-old sanctuary. Dealing with the aftermath of a fire can be an incredibly stressful and emotional experience, so it’s essential for us, as a restoration company, to offer more than just technical expertise.

When our cleanup began, Rick Bokal the project manager for Commercial Cleaning and Restoration, said he was in disbelief when he was able to recover the cremation urns. When he found the Columbarium, he was shocked that the religious object had no fire damage. Bokal said the finding was surprising considering they were found on the west side of the church which was the heart of the flames. The sanctuary’s cross which sat on its altar, the church’s bell, and its ambry, (where the Eucharist rests) also remained untouched by the flames.

Saint Stephen’s was fully demolished this month. There is a plan to build a new sanctuary. The current goal is to move services back to the parish hall, the part of the church not touched by fire.

Dealing with a fire incident can be overwhelming, but there are specific steps to take to navigate this challenging situation. Here’s what typically happens next:

EMERGENCY PROCEDURES FOR FIRE DAMAGE

  1. The first priority is safety. Make sure everyone in your household is safe and accounted for. If you haven’t already, vacate the premises and stay away until authorities confirm it’s safe to return.
  2. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately to report the fire. The fire department will respond to extinguish the fire and ensure it’s completely out.
  3. Call CCR. We are here for fire emergencies 24/7. Call our Emergency Hotline… 520 391-4615.
  4. Inform friends and family about the situation to let them know you’re safe and update them on any developments.
  5. Reach out to your homeowner’s insurance provider as soon as possible to report the fire and initiate the claims process. Provide them with all the necessary information and be prepared to document the damage with photographs and descriptions. If your home is uninhabitable, your insurance policy may cover temporary housing expenses. Discuss this with your insurance adjuster.
  6. Until the fire department and relevant authorities confirm it’s safe, avoid re-entering the property. Fire damage can weaken structures and pose safety risks.
  7. CCR to secure your property, which may include boarding up windows and doors or tarping wall openings caused by the fire. This needs to be done quickly because it will prevent theft and vandalism, or further damage from the weather.
emergency fire services including tarping up fire damaged walls

CCR FIRE CLEANUP ASSESSMENT AND PROCEDURES

Photos of a residential home showing the damage and debris left behind in a fire
fire damage and debris photo before CCR cleanup services
fire damage and debris photo before CCR cleanup services
fire damage and debris photo before CCR cleanup services

Fire damage often leaves behind a significant amount of debris, including charred building materials, personal belongings, and other fire-damaged items. Removing this debris is a crucial step in the fire damage cleanup and restoration process. Here’s what typically happens when it comes to removing debris and cleanup after a fire:

  1. The difference between big fire and small fire damage in restoration and cleanup primarily lies in the extent of damage and the complexity of the restoration process. Our restoration specialists will assess the extent of the damage.
    • Small fires usually stay put in one room or area. The damage is limited, affecting a relatively small portion of the property. In most cases, the fire damage is less severe, and structural elements may remain intact.
    • Now, when it comes to big fires, we’re talking about the ones that go beyond one area. These fires can really mess things up – we’re talking structural damage, everything getting covered in smoke and soot residue, and a whole lot of water damage from all the firefighting action.
  2. Our cleanup crews will wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect themselves from potential hazards, including asbestos and other contaminants that can be released during a fire. The debris is sorted into different categories, such as non-hazardous, hazardous, and potentially recyclable materials. This sorting is crucial for proper disposal. Debris is loaded onto trucks and transported to appropriate disposal sites.
  3. Often, fires are extinguished with water or other fire suppressants, leading to water damage. Cleanup involves removing excess water, drying affected areas, and preventing mold growth.

 

Photos of the same residential home after CCR cleanup procedures

photo of a fire damaged room after fire cleanup
photo of a fire damaged room after fire cleanup
photo of a fire damaged room after fire cleanup

After debris removal, the cleanup crew conducts a thorough cleaning of the property to remove remaining dust, ash, and residues. This prepares the site for the next phases of restoration.

  1. Clean and remove smoke and soot residue from surfaces, including walls, ceilings, floors, and personal belongings. Specialized cleaning techniques and equipment may be required.
  2. Eliminate lingering smoke odors using methods such as air purification, ozone treatment, or thermal fogging.

FIRE RESTORATION PROCEDURES – RECONSTRUCTION

Fire damage doesn’t always require reconstruction, but whether reconstruction is necessary depends on the extent of the damage. In some cases, minor fire damage can be addressed with cleaning, repairs, and restoration efforts without the need for significant reconstruction. The primary factor that influences the need for reconstruction is the safety and structural integrity of the property. If the fire has compromised the structural stability of the building, reconstruction becomes essential to ensure the property is safe and habitable. Here’s a breakdown:

 

Minor fire damage
example photo of a home with minor fire damage
moderate fire damage
example photo of a home with moderate fire damage
MAJOr fire damage
example photo of a home with major fire damage
  • Minor Fire Damage: If the fire is small and doesn’t spread much, and there’s not too much damage to the structure, you might not need to go all-out with reconstruction. Instead, we can mainly concentrate on cleaning things up, getting rid of any lingering odors, fixing up minor damage, and getting your space back to the way it was before the fire.
  • Moderate Fire Damage: If the fire causes some moderate damage, like messing up a few rooms or giving your home a bit of a rough time, we might need to do a bit of reconstruction. That could mean fixing up walls, ceilings, floors, and other structural elements or replacing damaged electrical wiring.
  • Severe Fire Damage: In cases of extensive fire damage, where a significant portion of the property is affected, or there is extensive structural damage, reconstruction is often necessary. This can involve rebuilding entire sections of the property, including walls, roofs, floors, and electrical wiring.

Insurance coverage can also play a role in determining whether reconstruction is feasible and covered by the policy. Insurance adjusters will assess the extent of the damage and the cost of restoration versus reconstruction when determining coverage.

In some cases, property owners may choose to pursue reconstruction even if it’s not strictly necessary for safety reasons. This decision may be based on personal preferences, such as making improvements to the property during the restoration process. This reconstruction costs are taken on by the home owner and not covered completely by insurance.

Ultimately, the need for reconstruction after fire damage depends on the unique circumstances of each fire incident. It’s essential to work with experienced restoration professionals who can assess the damage accurately and recommend the appropriate steps, whether that involves cleaning, repairs, restoration, or reconstruction, to restore the property to a safe and habitable condition.

Insurance Coverage

Insurance coverage can also play a role in determining whether reconstruction is feasible and covered by the policy. Insurance adjusters will assess the extent of the damage and the cost of restoration versus reconstruction when determining coverage.

In some cases, property owners may choose to pursue reconstruction even if it’s not strictly necessary for safety reasons. This decision may be based on personal preferences, such as making improvements to the property during the restoration process. This reconstruction costs are taken on by the home owner and not covered completely by insurance.

Ultimately, the need for reconstruction after fire damage depends on the unique circumstances of each fire incident. It’s essential to work with experienced restoration professionals who can assess the damage accurately and recommend the appropriate steps, whether that involves cleaning, repairs, restoration, or reconstruction, to restore the property to a safe and habitable condition.

Fire and Water Damage Restoration • Roof Repair
Water Cleanup • Emergency Tarping

At Commercial Cleaning & Restoration, we want the best for you and your home and we will work to prove it to you.

We also clean carpets, area rugs, and upholstery.

CALL US TODAY TO SCHEDULE YOUR APPOINTMENT

(520) 214-4376 or Contact us by Email

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