When smoke damage has occurred, are all the belongings exposed to the smoke a loss, or can some be saved?

There are many items that we consider very important, and while we can’t cover every instance, hopefully this information is helpful in that sentimental items exposed to smoke damage have the potential of being saved and salvaged.
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Our homes in Sedgwick, Kansas, are filled with our memories, keepsakes, and sentimental items – losing those can be devastating. Does smoke damage automatically mean that these items can’t be saved? Or are there ways that these items can be saved? I wish I could say the answer was always a resounding yes, but the answer lies somewhere in the middle of yes and no.


Smoke damage is any physical or structural harm caused by smoke, not the fire itself. This is not a new fact; most of us know that this is what smoke damage is. There are, however, several types of smoke damage that can have different effects on the items that are exposed to the smoke.

These include:

  • Wet smoke – refers to fumes from low-heat, smoldering flames, particularly from burnt rubber or plastic products. The residue from wet smoke is sticky and dense, and has an unpleasant odor.

  • Protein smoke – refers to the fumes produced from burning organic matter. It is most commonly present in the kitchen. This type of smoke can permanently discolor surfaces and has an intense pungent odor.

  • Fuel smoke – arises from burnt petroleum, oil, or something similar. It is most commonly present in garages or warehouses that store petroleum. The residue left behind from this type of smoke damage is sticky and dense, it also has a very offensive odor.

  • Dry smoke – caused by high-temperature fires can spread quickly throughout properties. Leaves a powdery residue that is easier to remediate than other smoke residues, but is so small that it can literally get everywhere, including porous materials around the house.


  • Plastics

  • Food (perishable/non-perishable)

  • Hygiene products

  • Medicine

  • Cosmetics

  • Damaged fabric/clothes


This is where it gets a bit tricky, because each occurrence of smoke damage is going to be different and affect things differently in Sedgwick, Kansas. Also, what can possibly be saved is impacted a lot by the type of smoke damage the items are exposed to.

In regards to sentimental or keepsake items, the good news is that there are times when these items can be salvaged. It would depend on the circumstances, but it is a possibility.

  • Porcelain items and other non-porous items may be salvageable, but they could very easily break depending on how exposed they are to fire and smoke.

  • Iron and steel items have a good chance of being salvageable, as these materials are extremely durable.

  • Crystal glassware or crystal items may be salvageable, but like the porcelain items they may become easily breakable depending on how exposed they are to the fire and smoke.

  • Jewelry and precious metals can at times be saved, because pure gold or silver don’t burn; however, alloys made up in jewelry can melt. If the jewelry didn’t melt, there are times when the jewelry can be saved.

There are many other items that we consider very important, and while we can’t cover every instance, hopefully this information is helpful in that sentimental items exposed to smoke damage have the potential of being saved and salvaged. It was mentioned above that each instance of fire and smoke damage in Sedgwick, Kansas, is devastating and each is going to be different as well. So unfortunately there are no hard and fast rules about which items are salvageable and which aren’t. But just as with a lot of things involving a home, time is of the essence. The less time smoke damage has to permeate, the more chance there are that items will be salvageable.

If you or someone you know has unfortunately had a fire occur and is now needing help to clean up and restore their possessions, please contact us. We can help to create a plan for fire and smoke damage restoration, as well as help to restore as many belongings as possible.

“Very professional and do what they say they will do. Highly recommend.”

— Jason T. in Wichita, Kansas

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