Our Approach to Pack Outs After a Fire

After a fire who decides whether to replace or restore items in the home?

Fire damage can range from slight to total destruction. After minor fires, cleaning alone may remove all of the smoke and odor damage to personal property. After a severe fire, it is likely that very little and possibly none of the personal belongings are salvageable.

Well experienced homeowners’ insurance adjusters understand this and often will bring in an experienced restoration company to assess the damaged items to see what, if anything could be restored. Other times, the decision to replace rather than restore is made without the opinions of restoration professionals.

Sentimental Value of Items During a Fire Lose

One thing the insurance company does not consider when making value decisions is sentimental value. The reason for this is that things of sentimental value are typically of little monetary value. The insurance policy is a contract with language that states the obligation of the insurer after a loss which is essentially this; they owe to repair or replace whichever costs less.

At RestorTech, we understand what restoring sentimental items can mean to a family after a severe loss. It may only be a few things like photo albums, a year book from High school, a diploma or award plaque, a favorite stuffed toy, an afghan grandma hand knitted. Nearly every severe loss we encounter, and if our customers ask, we make it our goal to recover as many sentimental items as we can.

Why are some items more vulnerable to the effects of heat and smoke and how can items that look destroyed be safely and effectively restored?

Each fire is unique in the severity of the damage that it causes. The 3 principle damaging factors from fire are:


Heat from fire can melt plastics yet have little effect on ceramics or glass because they are fabricated at temperatures much higher than the combustion points of these other materials.


Typically, when a fire occurs, water is used to put the fire out, this can lead to moisture sitting in your home for days while the restoration project begins.

Fire residues produced and transported in smoke

Smoke contains water vapor and heated smoke interacting with cooler surfaces can cause condensation inside a burning building. Acids found in some fire residues are extremely corrosive to certain metals.

Understanding how these factors affect items of personal property, clothes, furniture, books, framed art, dishes, pots and pans, etc. will help to make decisions on how to proceed with a recovery.

For example, framed art behind glass is typically matted. The thickness of the mat creates a space between the surface of the artwork and the glass providing protection from direct exposure to the fire residues. The fire residues may be so thick the image is not visible through the glass yet when the frame is taken apart the art may be undamaged.

When searching for fire damage restoration services in Northern VA we are ready to help! Located in Herndon, VA, we serve Fairfax County, Northern VA, and the surrounding areas. Contact us 24/7 at (703) 204-0401 or request service online.