Fire, Smoke, Heat and Soot are different elements of a fire claim but are not the same. Each must be understood and evaluated separately, the estimated and treated separately as part of the total estimating and repair process. Fire is the deterioration of a substance by oxidation or burning. It reduces or compromises the structural integrity of the item being burned, and it is easily identified and estimated. Smoke is both an odor and a coating (often unseen) of contaminates on surfaces. The heat often propels the smoke into crevices and surfaces beyond what is expected or obvious. Depending on the material that burned, some odors can be particularly difficult to eliminate and may require specialty services to counteract. Heat can cause damage that is often hidden. Wood framing can become brittle, wiring can be compromised but look intact, plumbing solder can melt out of connections. It takes an experienced eye to understand and allow for these issues. Soot is a by-product of an incomplete burning process and its nature can change depending on the materials that burned. A high amount of plastics adds to the amount of acids in soot. Plastics also make the soot stickier and less easy to clean. This acid content can etch or corrode surfaces if left untreated long enough. Humidity within the structure adds to this corrosive process. Understanding these issues, as well as the circumstances surrounding the fire event, along with a careful inspection of the damaged areas are essential to determine the possible extent of these damages. A lack of understanding of these facts leads to a poor evaluation and an inadequate repair estimate. Don't take a chance with your most valued possessions, your home or your business. Call ERS when fire strikes.