Dan and Ian head to 1342 Carroll St to check on the restoration process of the house after the neighboring house had caught on fire just a week ago. A fire—and the smoke that’s produced—impact certain parts of a house differently, and therefore each area may require a different method of sanitizing, restoring or rebuilding. You may not be able to see the extent of the fire damage because often it has occurred in areas that aren’t visible, such as behind walls and in the attic or it has affected the structural, electrical or plumbing systems. Even walls or surfaces that aren’t in the same room where the fire originated can be damaged. Surfaces with smoke damage and soot require special cleaning agents, as common household cleaning products can be ineffective or may even cause additional damage. If water damage occurs—from extinguishing the flames or if the sprinkler system goes off during the fire—then there is a potential for mold growth, which will also need to be addressed in addition to the fire and smoke damage. A trained fire restoration professional will be able to assess the degree of the fire damage and determine the areas and contents of a home that can be cleaned and restored and which ones need to be completely replaced. For this house, we used a local Baltimore fire restoration company: Restoration1 at www.restoration1.com We knew this job was outside of our expertise so we wanted to ensure it was done correctly the first time. Commonly used equipment: A significant part of fire cleanup focuses on purifying contaminated air and neutralizing odors caused by smoke. Most fire damage restoration services will use some of these pieces of equipment to help clean and sanitize the air and make a home safe to breathe in again. HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuum – A high-powered vacuum with filters that trap airborne particles like soot. It can be used on surfaces including ceilings, walls, and floors. Air scrubber – This machine helps eliminate odors and clean the air by using a filtration system to suck air in and filter it before releasing it back into the house. Negative air fan – Removes contaminated air that’s inside a home through ducts, creating negative air pressure (a vacuum effect). Ozone machine – Neutralizes odors and should only be used after a house is cleaned, emptied of all contents and vacated. The machine is typically used for a couple of days and the home must be ventilated for an additional 24 hours before reentry. No matter what you choose to use or do, we always recommend getting a professional to perform the task. For more tips and advice, get our free book (you just pay the small shipping cost). This book will provide you with advice from getting tenants to covering your property and assets.