While some structures will be directly affected by the heat and flames, many more are affected by the smoke and ask. If you have smoke damaged contents, do you want the same company who cleans your drapes and sofa to take a mop to your heirlooms, art collection and antiques? Check out this short educational video in this article.
You need help settling the claim for smoke damaged art, antiques and collectibles restoration after a house fire or wildfires. We have done evaluations and written proposals for disaster response companies and insurance claim adjusters for many hundreds of homeowners just during the last couple of years.
The video below shows an example of an heirloom painting that was declared a complete loss and a complicated collectible, near and dear to the family, that would have perpetuated health issues.
3 Valuable Tips
Expert, professional help to take care of smoke damaged paintings, art and antiques will save you tons of $ and distress. Take the coaching to heart and plan ahead to avoid bigger problems.
1st Story (Take note if you live in a condo or have art located in a business)
After the fire, a new roof on the old building was required. This obviously affected everyone under the roof. Even though the artwork in question next door to the fire was not damaged in the fire, the clean up and repairs were going to impact the art gallery. As the landlord and roofing company planned the work, it was clear they had no idea about protecting artwork or the value… and therefore the potential liability. (1st tip) It was the responsibility of the lessee to inform them of the precautions that needed to be taken!! In this case, the gallery owner had an art conservator that he knew and he related the detailed instructions and precautions to the roofing company… who ignored him. The response was, “This isn’t our first rodeo, we’ve done this before and know what we are doing.” Fortunately, the gallery owner did not back down and read the “riot act” to him, let him know he was going to be liable and related the dialog to the landlord. This up front dialog with all concerned (and a threatened law suit up front), saved the gallery owner the cost of a massive clean up when the roofing project “didn’t go the way the roofing company thought” which was a $25K bill plus reimbursement for downtime. (2nd tip) A specialized professional in the gallery owner’s pocket gave him credibility.
Just this morning, as I was writing this article, I got a phone call from a gallery in New York (I’m in CA). The fire next door to him smoked his inventory badly. He got lucky and was being assisted by the disaster response company, ServPro who had declined to handle and clean the artwork admitting that the liability was too high and that artwork is not within their training. Interestingly, when a company says this to a client, it inspires the client to believe that the contractor tells him the truth and can be trusted! (Tips #3) The gallery owner was doing exactly the right thing by searching out a professional art conservator with disaster response experience. The art conservator that he knew didn’t know anything about disaster response (handling lots of objects (possibly damaged) all at once which includes packing, safe handling, safe storage practices and may include handling items exposed to toxic materials). In our phone conversation I referred him to the website for the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) which has a referral program for someone closest to him.
We hope this article has given you the confidence to call our office to ask you questions and get some expert coaching.
Call 805 564 3438 or email@example.com
Scott M. Haskins, Oriana Montemurro, Virginia Panizzon Art Conservators
Andrew Jacobs, Disaster Response Service Coordinator
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