Things Lost in The Fire: 3 Items to Toss Out After a Fire, No Matter What!

For anyone who has suffered the devastation of a house fire one of the hardest parts of recovering is trying to decide what is salvageable and what must be tossed out. From pictures, to stuffed animals, to family heirlooms that hold sentimental value nothing is truly easy to part with. Even items like food that get exposed to smoke seem like a waste to dump out. However, when you consider the cost of potential health benefits that come with keeping items that become toxic due to smoke exposure, restocking a pantry is far less costly. For your safety and the safety of your loved ones, please follow our advice and throw these 3 things away after a fire.

Non-Perishables That Have Been Exposed to High Heat, Smoke & Firefighting Chemicals

Most homeowners will find it obvious to toss out opened food containers or anything that is in permeable packaging such as thin Ziplock bags, cardboard boxes, or in opened containers. However, they often are unsure what to do with items in cans or jars. the fact is food safety is a huge issue after a fire and precautions should be taken to ensure that no contaminated or dangerous foods are fed to family members after a fire.

When it comes to foods that are still sealed up, they may appear to be okay & safe to eat. Looks however can be deceiving. If these foods were located very near flames from the fire and exposed to high heat they may be unsafe to eat. Heat can activate bacteria leading to food spoilage, and toxic fumes can seep into glass jars and aluminum cans making the contents extremely dangerous to eat.


It is important to be thorough when performing an inspection in your kitchen for smoke, water, fire extinguishing chemicals, and areas exposed to high heat. It is a good idea to throw out any food items unsealed or otherwise if you have any suspicion of contamination.

1) Any Medicines & Cosmetics

Due to price and frequency of use medicines and makeups/cosmetics are hard for most homeowners to part with after a fire. However, your medicine cabinets and makeup bags are very important places to focus on during your post fire contamination inspection. Signs of heat exposure, soot, fire extinguishing chemicals, or any other damage should be noted. If any item/s have come into contact with open flame, throw them out, no questions asked.

2) Burned  or Damaged Clothing

Clothing, blankets, bedding, dog beds, and any other textiles can often times be saved after a fire with proper cleaning and disinfecting. Physically burned items are a sure loss and should be tossed out straight away. When in doubt throw it out is a good rule of thumb here, be even stricter judgment when considering your children’s or baby’s clothing.

3) Wrapping Up

Never attempt to salvage any belongings that could put you or your families health at risk. Contacting a certified fire damage restoration company can save you time, money, and protect you & your loved ones.