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Woolsey Fire in Malibu – Smoke Damaged Art and Collectible Salvage, Rescue, Restoration


Even though this house didn’t make it, other houses in the area “only” got smoked badly and the meaningful contents of family history, collectibles and memories can be salvaged, saved, restored and preserved.

As with any natural disaster, while there are homes etc that are at ground zero and get obliterated from which you cannot salvage anything except melted metals, there are 1000’s of homes in the surrounding area that got hit marginally and have the chance to save and protect the items they deem important, or treasure or are of some value.

Such is the case, as you can see, that as we made our first salvage efforts and pick ups in Malibu yesterday after the fire a few days ago, the scene is apocalyptic… but there is much to save, protect and restore. Not all is lost.

Smoke damaged artwork and collectibles can be saved.

While we wear masks and gloves while we handle art objects, this picture of my hands shows you what readily comes off the frames items we picked up. Person safety and health should be of primary importance whenever involved in cleaning up after a disaster, especially with mold. Yet, just the smoke smell in the house we visited caused a reaction in the throat and stomach, something that almost never happens to me. It was a good reminder that not all smoke is the same and no two situations are the same. Protect yourself always, whether in a major disaster like this one or from a small problem at home.

The items we picked up include family photos, photos of hobbies and athletic events, children’s drawings and paintings, certificates of accomplishment, nice paintings on canvas… all things that make up the story, heritage and memories of a family. It doesn’t all have monetary value but it all has emotional value important to future emotional recovery and it will be important to future generations.

In the downpour of rain the days after the fires that I experienced in OC, I was worried that Malibu might be ready to slide into the Pacific from mudslides. Malibu dodged that bullet in this storm with only minimal debris flow to be seen.

A more complete article on these services :http://www.fineartconservationlab.com/disaster-response-company-resource-smokefire-water-damage-earthquakes-hurricanes-tornados/?fbclid=IwAR2GjGxFiEAmoV2SPFU0mCrFtJgl3Zee4Sb0hIGWyKKxE7Wee1yFrC2-S1s

Perhaps you’ve seen the blog post about the use of the anoxia tent for odor removal. Other processes we will go through with the art related items that we picked up will be:

  • HEPA vacuuming of dust, debris and grime – wet or dry- (we remove up to 0.035 microns)
  • Sampling in case of lab testing (toxic materials and species ID)
  • Disassembly of artwork to clean into all hidden areas
  • Encapsulation or coating of surfaces with conservation grade resins that have absorbed particulates and odors
  • Reframing (rematting etc) of contaminated framed items
  • Replace all porous materials that are not part of the artwork (back boards and matting)
  • Anoxia Tent Oxygen Deprivation Treatments – Odor removal and kills mold spores

Without minimizing the apocalyptic conditions that resulted and the impact on personal lives and the community, Fine Art Conservation Laboratories provided professional services for saving, protecting and restoring collectibles, artwork and family history items. For Thomas Fire Recovery, FACL wrote over 60 insurance claims proposals for the cleaning and care of over 7,000 art related items. We are madly responding to the Woolsey Fire requests as I write this blogpost. I hope this blogpost has given you the confidence to call us and we look forward to hearing from you to answer your questions as a free service.

This year, we have prepared insurance claims for over 60 clients encompassing over 7,000 art related items.

Andrew Jacobs, Disaster Response Coordinator 

805 564 3438 ajabobsfacl@gmail.com

Art Conservators Scott M. Haskins, Virginia Panizzon, Oriana Montemurro 

805 564 3438

Here are some testimonials and examples of our work with other disaster response companies:

Smoke Damage (Testimonial): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMPlQ…

Smoke damage testimonial from PuroClean disaster response company: https://vimeo.com/250390252

Water Damage (Testimonial Mrs. Dau): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Umg_…

Water Damage (Testimonial Las Vegas): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_Yup…

Damage in Storage – Rip Repair: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2Jxo…

Expert Author – Tom Antion Hurricane Testimonial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwBbc…

Water Damaged Paintings: https://animoto.com/play/YGtMXOyRkR8Z…

Water damaged art treatment – blog: http://www.fineartconservationlab.com…

Smoke Damage – Elite Restoration – Blog Post: http://www.fineartconservationlab.com…

Smithsonian guideline for home collection care: https://www.si.edu/mci/english/learn_more/taking_care/mnm.html

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About Scott M. Haskins

Scott Haskins has been in professional art conservation since 1975, specializing in the conservation/restoration of easel paintings, murals and art on paper. FACL, Inc. is known nationally for doing A+ work no matter the size or difficulty of the project. We are happy to do a quick cleaning on a family heirloom. Our client list and resume is also full of very satisfied clients of large, difficult/complicated projects at remote locations. Excellent services are also available as an Expert Witness/Legal Testimony in art related matters. Consultation on art related projects occur regularly including extensive insurance evaluations for insured or insurer. Services are offered worldwide. Scott M. Haskins is also author of the “Save Your Stuff” series, educational information, materials and supplies to help people protect and save their treasured family heirlooms and collectibles at home and office. He can be reached at 805 564 3438. Video and written testimonials at http://www.fineartconservationlab.com/testimonials/

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2 Responses to Woolsey Fire in Malibu – Smoke Damaged Art and Collectible Salvage, Rescue, Restoration

  1. Josie Zils says:

    Hi Scott….It is a sad and tragic event, no one would wishful, but I bet it creates a lot work for you.

  2. Shameter Wicks says:

    You are truly Cultural saviors. Thanks for having the skill and willingness to do this painstaking work

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