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  • Trent Gabel

“We turned the corner to our neighborhood and saw fire trucks and chaos in front of our house.”

Sadly, this is a real scenario that many homeowners have lived through. A real-life nightmare: coming home after a nice relaxing vacation, or long day out shopping and meeting with friends or family only to find your house on fire.


There you stand watching in horror as firefighters covered in soot race in and out of your smoke and flame billowing home. Then you are stricken with fear and grief as you remember that Buster the family dog was kenneled in the kitchen. Suddenly you see a tall fireman coming out the front door carrying an exhausted, scared and quite dirty golden lab. Your heart is filled with relief and for a short time you are just so happy that Buster is Ok you temporarily forget about the house fire.


The entire scene is pure chaos, lights flashing, firefighters yelling direction to one another. Holes being punched in the roof and all with the entire neighborhood watching like a drama on late night television. The fire chief approaches you to discuss what they believe happened and what you will need to do after they have completely extinguished the fire.

He tells you that once the home is released to the family, getting the property boarded up and secured will be the first necessary step.


You notice that there are a couple company trucks there with names you don’t recognize. You know they are not with the fire department or the news, who are they… and how did they know to be here at this moment? The polite professional chief recommends a couple companies that could board up the home for you and suggests that the next call should be to your insurance carrier to file a claim.


You and your family stand in disbelief as neighbors come to give condolences, seedy salesmen from fire chasing mitigation companies throw complex terms and sales speak at you. You feel the pressure building, your home has just been burnt to an almost unrecognizable condition. You feel fear of uncertainty, embarrassment that this is happening to you, a demoralizing sense of unrest and unease build in your gut.


This is the time to take a step back, you do not want to rush into anything at this moment.

Many outside voices will try and persuade you in one direction or another, trying to make the situation more urgent than it is based on your feelings of chaos. The truth is things are not going to get much worse, the fire has ravaged the home and all the content you have inside. You and the family including Buster are all Ok which is the most important factor of all. This is the time to take a deep breath, tell the ambulance chasing companies thank you but no thank you, get back in the car and shut the world out.


We recommend that you go to a local safe place, a restaurant or coffee shop that you enjoy. A friend or family members home, or even a park. This will quiet the world down and let you center yourself to make proper decisions. The first call you make is to your insurance provider to start a claim and have them work on finding you and your family a place to stay temporarily. They will also confirm what the fire chief said about boarding up the home and securing the property, they will most likely recommend a couple companies for this; maybe even the same you were already given.


You call and get this step underway and begin to request referrals for a company that can guide you through the arduous task of restoring your home, a firm like Restoration 1 of North Seattle, ServiceMaster or even starting with the contractor like Tersuli Construction Services or others. These companies can guide you through the step-by-step process to get you back on track after a devastating house fire.


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