Who pays when an apartment burns down

After the fire: and then?

Only stay in the affected rooms for as long as is absolutely necessary. Avoid spreading soot and ash into clean areas. Make sure that no children, sick or elderly people, who are usually sensitive to pollutants, are in the affected rooms. The same goes for pets. If pets have been exposed to the smoke from the fire, they may have to be presented to the veterinarian. In order to avoid the spread of pollutants from the soiled areas, you should keep the doors to the unpolluted rooms closed. Door slots must be sealed and unnecessary drafts into other rooms must be avoided. Corridors and entrance areas of soiled rooms should be covered with damp cloths if possible. Objects that are brought from the dirty area to the clean area must be cleaned beforehand. You should not eat, drink or smoke while in the polluted areas. Before consuming any food or luxury items, you should definitely take a shower and change your clothes. All areas affected by the fire should be well ventilated for several days. Please note that the supply air can also contaminate areas not previously affected by the fire. Also think about an appropriate anti-theft device for your property. Apart from valuables and important documents, do not take anything out of your home at first. Avoid soot carryover.


Apartment uninhabitable: If your apartment or house is badly affected by the fire and has become uninhabitable or if you feel unsafe in your apartment after the fire, you should find alternative accommodation with friends and relatives. The local fire brigade or police will - if necessary - arrange for accommodation to be arranged through the responsible regulatory authority to avoid the threat of homelessness. A hotel or a guesthouse can also be considered temporarily here. Any costs incurred should be clarified in advance with the building insurance company or other insurance company if possible. Secure your apartment or house against unauthorized access when you leave. The fire brigade and police will support you in this.


What to do with food: Food that has not been kept in tightly closed containers or has come into contact with smoke and heat should no longer be used. This also applies to food that is packaged in plastic or paper. Food in tightly closed metal packaging (cans) or in tightly closed glass packaging can be consumed if it has not been exposed to heat. Care should be taken to ensure that food is not contaminated when emptying the containers. If in doubt, do not use the food any more and dispose of it with the residual waste - do not compost! Cleaning of clothes, toys and other objects: The basic rule is: All objects must be cleaned thoroughly before use. The removal of visible traces of soot is the criterion for successful cleaning.

When using vacuum cleaners to remove loose soot and dust deposits, encapsulated industrial vacuum cleaners must be used. You can borrow these industrial vacuum cleaners from local tool rental companies (see yellow pages). For wet cleaning, we recommend cleaning with a warm detergent solution.


Particular care is taken when cleaning toys. Wooden toys should be sanded and possibly repainted. If in doubt, you should separate from these items (especially with toys for small children).

Garments that are tainted with fire residues or soiled must be washed separately at at least 60ºC before being used again. Cleaning wastewater contains pollutants and may only enter the sewage system in small quantities. It is therefore recommended to give the clothes to a cleaning company.

Waste disposal: Fire debris as well as all objects contaminated by the fire that are produced in “normal household quantities” from private households must be disposed of as problem waste.


Insurance: Immediately notify your landlord or house owner after a fire. As a house or apartment owner, get in touch with your building insurance and household insurance as soon as possible. In order to protect against financial disadvantages, discuss possible renovation measures as well as the renewal of the household items or possible accommodation costs with the respective insurance company.


When furnishing the refurbished apartment, you should think about your own safety. If not yet available, you should equip your apartment or house with smoke alarms. According to the statutory provisions of the state building regulations (LBauO), bedrooms and children's rooms as well as corridors through which escape routes lead from common rooms must each have at least one smoke alarm device. The smoke alarm devices must be installed and operated in such a way that fire smoke is detected and reported at an early stage. Having a fire extinguisher also contributes to safety. You can obtain further information on this from specialist companies for preventive fire protection (see yellow pages under the heading “Fire Protection”) or from your local fire brigade. According to Section 44 (8) of the State Building Regulations (LBauO), smoke alarms are mandatory in apartments!