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City Of Chula Vista
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  Fire Department
       
   

After The Fire

Assessment of Damage
Structural Damage
Security
Utilities
Smoke
Insurance
Tax Relief
Emergency Food and Shelter

Following a fire, a family or resident may experience many inconveniences and temporary changes to their life style. Hopefully, the information provided here will help expedite your recovery and provide you with some peace of mind when dealing with this difficult situation. If you need additional information or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact the CVFD administrative office during normal business hours at (619) 691-5055.

Assessment of Damage
Following a fire, property may not be suitable to live in. Check the insurance policy or ask the insurance agent about living expense coverage if the property is not suitable to live in. Insurance companies usually base this decision upon the safety factors listed below.
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Structural Damage
Fire can cause structural damage to roofs, ceilings, walls and floors. Fire Department personnel will contact the City Building Department if significant damage has occurred. The Building Department will conduct an inspection to assess the extent of the damage and determine which permits are required to make the necessary repairs.
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Security
Doors and windows may have been damaged or broken. Firefighters may have cut a ventilation hole in the roof to remove heat and smoke inside the structure.
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Utilities
Fire Department personnel may have shut off utilities to the property. This may include electricity, natural gas and water. The utilities cannot be turned on until the City Building Department has issued a clearance.
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Smoke Damage
The residual smoke and odor from burned material following a fire may be hazardous to health.
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Insurance
Insurance companies and insurance policies vary from one another. The following is general information to get started. The first thing to do is contact the insurance company as soon as possible. The insurance adjuster should be helpful in making necessary immediate repairs and with securing your home. If you are unable to contact the insurance company and immediate repairs or securing of your home is necessary, contact a licensed contractor. Refer to the telephone book under General Contractor or Fire and Water Damage Restoration Contractors.

If you are renting or leasing you must contact the property owner or manager. The owner's insurance will be utilized for the structural repairs. If you have renters insurance it will most likely cover personal items damaged inside the structure. The owner's policy may also include a renter's package that covers personal items.

Do not throw away any damaged possessions until an inventory has been made. Damage inventories are very important in developing an insurance claim. Pictures and receipts of damaged property are also very helpful.
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Tax Relief
Pursuant to State law, if the property incurred structural or fire damage of $5,000 or more the homeowner is eligible for some property tax relief if they file an application with the San Diego County Assessor's Office (619) 505-6262 within six months.

In addition, if the property is not insured, or if the insurance will not cover the losses, contact a tax specialist or the Internal Revenue Service for assistance. The Homeowner may be eligible for a casualty loss. Request publication #547 "Tax Information On Disasters, Casualty Losses and Thefts" to determine if the situation qualifies.
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Emergency Food and Shelter
The Fire Department will request the American Red Cross when residents are displaced from their homes.

The American Red Cross (619) 542-7400 and the Salvation Army (619) 231-6020 are available to assist families who have been displaced from their homes through a disaster. They are available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. They can provide food, clothing, and housing to those in need.

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