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A fire starting in a home on Charles Avenue in Pleasantville has left two residents injured. The fire, starting in the middle of the night, spread to the roof of the house. Firefighters initially arriving at the home called for a second alarm, and the fire still required 45 minutes to be put under control. Investigators are still unaware as to what started the fire. Of the two people injured in the blaze, one is in serious condition with burn injuries, and the other is stable.

Fires can be devastating and involve very personal loss to a family. After a fire in your home, knowing what steps to take next may feel overwhelming. Here are some ways to move forward after a house fire.

  1. Contact your homeowners' insurance company as soon as possible

Processing a claim can take time. Not only do you want to have your claim processed as soon as possible, but your insurer will require you to notify them promptly of your claim. Additionally, if you needed to escape your home before you were able to grab clothing or basic toiletries, you may be able to get an advance against your claim payout for those items from your claim adjuster. First, ensure that you have "replacement" coverage for your personal items, and not only "actual cash value" coverage. Be sure to save receipts for those items, as well.

  1. Ensure that your home is secured pending repair

Damage from the fire can include openings in walls or the roof, or windows or doors broken by firemen in the process of putting out the fire. Make sure that any entrances into your home are boarded up or otherwise secured so that your home isn't vulnerable to burglary until it can be repaired. Your insurer will also require that you take any reasonable steps to minimize additional harm to your property.

  1. Separate damaged from undamaged property

Go through your possessions to create an inventory of what was or wasn't lost in the fire. This inventory, along with how much you paid for the items and details about the items, will need to be provided to your insurer. This will also allow you to separate out undamaged property to keep it safe if your home is not entirely secure. If necessary, move your undamaged possessions to a secure storage unit to keep them safe while your insurance claim is pending; your insurer will likely reimburse the cost of the storage unit.

  1. Ensure that the insurance company acts on your claim quickly and completely

Insurance companies are obligated to respond to your claim expediently under the law. If your insurance company has not responded to the claim you submitted, consider filing a complaint with the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance. Additionally, if your insurer is refusing to pay what you believe should be paid under your policy, consider obtaining legal help to ensure you're fully compensated.

After experiencing the trauma of a fire in your house, find legal help that can ensure you can rebuild your life and home. Consult the experienced New Jersey fire and accident attorneys at Smith & Doran for a free consultation on your claims, at 973-292-0016.

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Smith & Gaynor, LLC
60 Washington Street, Suite 302
Morristown, NJ 07960

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