City of Devils Lake - Devils Lake North Dakota
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After The Fire

Immediate Aid

Depending upon the extent of the fire, you may need shelter, clothing, food, or other services. The American Red Cross can be of assistance to you.

The American Red Cross
Minn-Kota Chapter
2602 12th Street N

Fargo, ND 58102

The American Red Cross has prepared the following brochure to encourage you to take precautions to help keep you safe and speed your recovery after a fire. It also offers ideas on what you can do to help make yourself and your home safer from fires in the future.

Picking Up The Pieces After A Fire


If you have insurance, you should contact your agent immediately. Your insurance company should see to it that your residence is properly boarded up to secure and seal your property and utilities restored when possible. The insurance company should also be able to recommend contractors experienced in repairing fire damage.

If you do not have fire insurance or your insurance coverage isn't adequate for your total loss, any uninsured portion of your loss may be deductible from your income tax. You should consult a qualified tax attorney, accountant, or the IRS for assistance on claiming fire loss.

If you have a camera and/or video recorder, it is a good idea to document your fire damage with still photos and/or a video tape. Do this as soon as possible after the fire. However, if the fire struck at night, you may have to wait until daylight to take good quality photos. Take numerous pictures of all damaged items and property.

Start and maintain a written log of any and all conversations pertaining to the fire.

Money/Bonds Replacement

Mutilated or melted coins are returnable at the nearest Federal Reserve Bank, or they may be mailed first class registered to:

Superintendent, U.S. MintMoney
Attn: Coin Redemption Section
PO Box 400 (Post Office shipments only)
151 N. Independence Mall East
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Contact the U.S. Mint by calling 1-800-USA-MINT
How to submit a claim for mutilated coin:

Damaged Currency - bills, half or more intact, should be taken to the Federal Reserve Bank or they can be replaced by the U.S. Treasury Department, Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

All mutilated currency should be sent by "Registered Mail, Return Receipt Requested." Insuring the shipment is the responsibility of the sender. A letter should be included stating the estimated value of the currency and an explanation of how the currency became mutilated. Series EE Bonds

The Department of the Treasury
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Room 344A
PO Box 37048
Washington, DC 20013

How to submit a claim for damaged or "mutilated" currency: U.S. Treasury

Mutilated or Destroyed U.S. Savings Bonds can be replaced by the U.S. Treasury Department, Bureau of Public Debt, or the bank that sold you the savings bond/s may be able to assist you.

How to submit a claim for "mutilated" or destroyed bonds - download Public Debt Form 1048: U.S. Treasury

Stocks And Bonds - for information about replacing stock certificates and bonds, contact either the broker that sold the stocks or bonds to you or the company which issued the certificates.

Documents and Records

If you receive AFDC or welfare benefits, notify your case worker if your ID cards were destroyed in the fire.

Copies of North Dakota birth or death certificates can be purchased through the State of North Dakota, Division of Vital Records. For all other states, contact the state in which the person was born.

How to order a copy of a birth or death certificate issued in North Dakota -

Copies of marriage records or divorce or annulment decrees issued in Ramsey County can be purchased through the Ramsey County Recorders Office by calling (701)662-7018 or by stopping by their office located at 524 4th Avenue NE, Unit 30 (inside Ramsey County Courthouse). For all other inquiries, contact the state and county in which the event took place.

To review other County Recorders Offices in North Dakota -

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Discard any food items exposed to fire, smoke, or heat. Even canned goods which have been exposed to heat may be unsafe.

Prescription Medications

Do not use any medication until you consult your doctor and/or pharmacist.
Clothing at Dry Cleaners

Smoke damage requires special cleaning techniques. Improper cleaning will set the stains and odor, making them impossible to remove. Check with your insurance company for a recommendation about a dry cleaner. When you take the clothing to a dry cleaner, make sure to explain that the items are smoke damaged and make sure the cleaner is experienced in treating smoke damaged clothing. If the clothes can be washed, the smoke stain and odor can often be removed by pre-treating. If the clothing can be bleached, a good mix for removing smoke odor is:

*4 to 6 tablespoons tri-sodium phosphate (available from any hardware store, home center, or paint supply store)
1 cup Lysol or household chlorine bleach
1 gallon water
Mix well, add clothes, let soak in the mix, rinse well with clear water and dry. Test colored garments before using any treatment
(*2 tablespoons sodium hypochlorite can be used as a substitute)


To prevent mildew, remove wet or damp objects from the house as soon as possible and allow to dry, preferably in the open air and sunshine. To remove mildew, wash the stain with warm, soapy water, rinse well and allow to dry in the sun. If the stain is difficult to remove, try washing with lemon juice and salt or one tablespoon of pesborate bleach in one pint of lukewarm water, or a diluted solution of chlorine bleach.

Walls And Ceilings

Allow soot to dry untouched for at least 24 hours. Trying to remove soot before it has dried will only spread the stain and make it permanent. After soot has dried, clean walls or ceilings with the same tri-sodium phosphate and Lysol mix described above for cleaning clothes. Wear rubber gloves and old clothing when washing with this mix. After washing, rinse with clean water and allow to dry. Commercial cleaning products, available from paint and wall paper dealers, can be used. Some commercial cleaners are very powerful. Always follow the recommended directions exactly. Washable wallpaper can be cleaned the same as walls and ceilings, but do not soak the paper. To avoid streaking, start at the base of the wall and work your way up. Do ceilings last. After you've washed the walls allow time for surfaces to dry before repainting.

Floors And Rugs

Linoleum must be handled delicately. When water seeps underneath, it can cause odors and warp the sub-floor. Check with an experienced flooring dealer for assistance on treating your linoleum.

Rugs should be removed, cleaned and dried. Carpets should be vacuumed with a wet-vac to remove as much excess water as possible, then clean, and dry the carpets. If odor persists, the padding may have to be replaced.

Wood Furniture And Fixtures Fire Damage To Wood

Clear off all mud and dirt. Remove all drawers and allow to dry thoroughly. Scrub with a stiff brush and cleaning solution. Wet wood decays and molds easily. Try to ventilate the room or, if serviceable, turn on furnace or run the air conditioner to dry the room. If the furniture can be removed from the room, you can dry it outside, but only in a shaded area. Never place furniture in direct sunlight.

Mold on furniture can be removed with a cloth soaked in a mixture of water and kerosene or borax dissolved in hot water. To remove white spots or other stains from wood furniture, rub the area with 4/0 steel wool polishing pads dipped in liquid furniture wax. Then wipe and buff the area with a soft cloth. Many commercial products for cleaning and restoring wood are flammable and exposure to the fumes may be harmful to your health. Read and follow all directions and cautions carefully.

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If your furnace still works, change the filter immediately. You may have to change the filter again after a few days because of air born soot, dirt, and other contaminants. Contacting a mechanical contractor is recommended.

Clean and protect chrome trim on kitchen appliances or bathroom fixtures with Petroleum Jelly or other light oil (unless not applicable).

Wash plants with clear water; take care to clean both sides of the leaves and the stem.

Do not operate any VCR, video equipment, TV, stereo, computer, or electrical appliance until it has been checked and cleaned. If a dry powder fire extinguisher was used and there is a film on any electrical or electronic unit, vacuum the powder off as soon as possible. Prolonged contact with the dry powder chemical can ruin electrical equipment.

If your electrical power was turned off for more than a few hours, discard all the contents of your refrigerator and freezer. Until the power is restored, use a roll of paper towels or a wad of newspapers to keep the refrigerator and/or freezer doors open and allow air to circulate. If the doors are shut and the units are not operating, permanent odors will set inside the units.

If the weather is below freezing and you cannot heat your house, pour anti-freeze into toilet bowls, sinks and tubs. Also drain the entire water system in the house. If you have hot water heating, have a plumber drain the system as soon as possible.

If your pets have been exposed to smoke, fire, or heat, have them examined by a veterinarian.

Water Damage Water Damage To Home

Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping, pumping, vacuuming with a wet vac, etc.

Remove and elevate wet upholstery cushions to allow even drying on all surfaces. (Check for possible color bleed).

Place aluminum foil, china saucers, or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.

In the summer, if you have air conditioning, run the A/C as much as possible to promote drying. In the winter, open the windows.

Remove paintings and other artwork and store them in a safe place until all repair/restoration work is completed.

Open suitcases and other luggage to dry, place in the sunlight if possible.

Do not go into any room where the ceiling is sagging.

Do Not

Don't leave wet fabrics in place. Dry them as soon as possible. Hang furs and leather goods separately at room temperature. If fur or leather goods have serious smoke damage, consult an expert on the best way to clean and remove the damage.

Don't leave books, magazines, or other colored items on wet carpets or floors.

Don't use a household vacuum to pick up water, only use a shop vac or wet vac, one that is capable of removing water.

Don't operate any electrical equipment when you are standing on a wet surface.

Cold Weather

Reminder that during cold weather, you should either arrange for temporary heat in your house or have the water pipes drained so that they don't freeze.

Vandalism And TheftCaution Do Not Enter Sign

As tragic as your loss is, there are those few who will find your tragic event an opportunity to vandalize or steal from your property. With your home being unoccupied you should attempt to protect it by having the property boarded up. Ask your insurance company to have your home boarded up as quickly as possible. Remove valuables to a safe location. If possible, ask your neighbors to keep an eye on your property until you can move back.

Fire Department Activity

Some damage may have been caused by the necessary fire suppression activities including breaking out windows and cutting holes in the walls and roof. When a fire burns inside a building, it creates a large mass of very hot gases and smoke. By opening the windows and roof, we "vent" the smoke and gases out of your house. This cools the fire and allows for us to put it out in less time.

You may also see openings cut on interior walls. These openings allow us to inspect inside the walls. We have to be sure that there is no fire behind your drywall or plaster. Often, people want to go back into their home immediately after a fire, even if it is just to look around. Unfortunately, it is unsafe to do this and we must prevent you from going in. However, if in our opinion, it is safe to enter your building we will escort you inside.

If your smoke detectors alerted you, we commend you for having these life saving devices. If your smoke detectors didn't work, please tell us.

Again, we are sorry that you suffered the devastation of a fire. If you have any questions, or if there is anything else we can do to help, please call us at (701)662-3913 or (701)662-8122, or stop by the fire station located at 621 College Drive North.

Private Insurance Adjusters, Contractors

Following the fire at your home or business, you will most likely receive visits or telephone calls from the following companies. Carpet and furniture cleaning companies, electrical contractors, general contractors, and private insurance adjusters. Before signing any contracts or agreements, contact your attorney or insurance agent for advice. The qualifications of contractors can be checked by calling your local building department. Private insurance adjusters are independent insurance adjusters who, for a fee, will determine your loss. Your insurance company will provide an adjuster and, with your assistance, can determine your loss at no cost to you. There is a possibility that these individuals will approach you prior to the departure of the fire department. If immediate action is required to secure and/or protect your property check with the Fire Official at the scene before making a verbal agreement with a private contractor.

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