Guns in a house fire....what should I do?

Discussion in 'General Handgun Discussion' started by thefarmboy21, Apr 17, 2013.

  1. thefarmboy21

    thefarmboy21 New Member

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    About 3 weeks ago our house caught on fire. It's basically considered a total loss because of the vast amount of damage, HOWEVER only one room was totally torched, the others the ceiling just burnt our from under the metal roof. Just lots of water and smoke damage. Here's the lineup and a short description of what happened to each:

    1. Kahr CM9 (New, never fired) was on my night stand in a soft pocket holster beside my iPhone 4. Insulation fell on both and smothered them. As soon as the fire was out I found them....my iPhone was fairly dry and still worked and the rubber case wasn't melted at all. The pistol just has some smoke discoloration that has mostly wiped off. I'm saying this one is probably fine since my iPhone is also fine.

    2. Ruger LCP with lazer (2 months old) Was in my wife's purse in the living room that got totally torched. The purse was fairly crumpled, but her wallet was ok'ish. Credit cards slightly wavy and cash was wet but fine. Pistol was in a holder, handle and butt plate on magazine were slightly melted on one corner. It was stiff to drop the mag, but it did release and the slide was a little stiff but I un-chambered the round in the barrel with just slight more effort than usual. Lazer acted shorted out..I think water got in it. It wouldn't turn off. The slide ad barrel now has some rust, so it did get somewhat hot. This one I'm iffy about

    3. Taurus PT-99 Stainless. This was next to top shelf in closest on top of some clothes, right under all my ammo. Stainless and aluminum look fine. Rubber/plastic grips seem fine, but the trigger and hammer that were once black are all rust.

    4. Remington 870 12ga. Was in bedroom corner beside nightstand. Firemen evidentially knocked it into the floor while coming through window. Was under wet insulation for several hours during the fire and as we hauled stuff out. It was hard to unload at first and we thought synthetic stock was melted, but now it seems to look fine and cycle fine. The blued barrel looks rough but not awful and the main body was the matte black/rough finish. It seems ok but what was once black now seems silvery and thin. Also all 5 00 Buck shells look fine....plastic hulls don't show any damage.

    5. Old Stevens 87E .22 tube fed auto. In a corner behind my old Daisy BB gun, behind a door. This room was mostly smoke damaged. BB gun seems fine. The .22 looks rough, but it was super rusty before hand, so I'm not sure if it actually got damaged.

    Then there's all my ammo that was completely soaked. It was in the top of our closest, next to to roof but none went off and the boxes aren't burnt, they just got wet.

    So what's your advise? I think my Kahr is ok, but the others I'm uncertain about. The Ruger is definitely the worst of the bunch. Also my ammo....I had tons of NEW ammo that I scored cheap even through the big ammo shortage because I got lucky at Walmart a couple times after I got off my midnight shifts. I don't think I'll carry any of it, but I think I'll shoot it all after it dries out several weeks.

    Thanks guys!!!!
     

  2. winds-of-change

    winds-of-change The Balota's Staff Member

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    I can't offer you any advice but I do want to say I am so sorry this happened. What an awful personal loss.
     
  3. BULLET9992

    BULLET9992 New Member

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    If your a member of the nra they may cover your guns.
     
  4. Olympus

    Olympus New Member

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    Honestly, I'm have the guns looked at by a good gunsmith to determine their integrity. You may have to spend a couple hundred dollars, but it would be worth it.

    You might also try contacting each manufacturer and explain the situation and see if they will inspect the guns for you and replace necessary parts.

    Fire/heat really changes the integrity of guns. I'd want a better judgement than just asking us average Joes on the interwebs.
     
  5. okieboy

    okieboy New Member

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    If you can field strip each gun. Rust on the integrals and water damage is a bad sign. Even check the kahr. I agree with taking them to a gunsmith. Heat may have weakened the metal and made them unsafe.
     
  6. thefarmboy21

    thefarmboy21 New Member

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    Unfortunately, my wife and I had not joined the NRA yet. We had never got around to signing up. I had decided we were going to join just a couple weeks prior to this after we both purchased new pistols. Wife had a baby, put things on hold, etc.... I told her we are joining now lol. Baby was only 10 days old :/

    Anyway, my insurance said I could claim them. At first they wanted me to have them inspected by a gunsmith for appraisal purposes, but after the saw the house they said to claim everything that was inside. So I should get paid for them but I don't want to just toss them in the trash you know... I probably will take them to a gunsmith I I can find one local. I'm going to try and strip the Kahr and the 870 this week. Anyone have some good links to the instructions on how to detail strip each gun? Thanks guys.
     
  7. Olympus

    Olympus New Member

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    Honestly I'd let the gunsmith handle them all.

    And I'd check with any local gunsmith to see what his level of expertise is related to fire damage. I have seen plenty of local smiths that I would not trust with anything other than small repairs. Find a good smith and don't skimp. Heaven forbid you lose a finger or two or have facial disfuguration due to a gun blowing up in your hand while shooting. Just depends on how much your fingers, hands, and/or face is worth to you.
     
  8. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    Firearms may also be covered in your insurance policy.
     
  9. purehavoc

    purehavoc New Member

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    ^^^^^ This^^^^ Your guns should be covered under your policy as personal property and should indeed be covered
     
  10. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    Re: Fire damage- In GENERAL, if a wooden or plastic stock got hot enough to BURN, then you should have questions about whether the heat treat of the steel has been altered. Does not sound like that in this case.

    Re: Insurance coverage- a Homowner's Policy usually DOES include coverage for firearms. HOWEVER- MOST will have a $$$ limit of coverage. Typically it is $2,000 for firearms AMMUNITION and ACCESORIES. However, you need to read YOUR policy in YOUR state.

    If you are an NRA member, you also have a small amount of insurance free thru them that pays after any other insurance pays.

    would have a smith check and clean the guns (get a receipt that says something like "cleaning smoke damage"- insurance company may want that.)

    Would get ammo out of any wet cartons, spread, get a fan on it. if not submerged, is likely OK.

    As much as I dislike WD-40, this is one of the few times I would use it- liberally. "WATER DISPLACING". It WILL get water out. Use it outdoors, keep it off your skin.



    And unrelated advice- hold your lady close. We had a BAD homeowner's loss in 1989. Tornado. None of us hurt, took 5 months to rebuild house. That is a major stressor on all involved. Rebuilding is going to add more stress, shopping for replacement stuff, more stress yet.
     
  11. hiwall

    hiwall Well-Known Member

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    Your guns should be perfectly safe but will need to be completely stripped, cleaned, and lubed.
    The very first metal thing that is damaged by heat are the springs and the easiest to check. They are either still springs or they are just wire.
     
  12. gr8oldguy

    gr8oldguy New Member

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    If you have homeowners, it should cover replacement of your guns. Get new ones. I talked about this with my agent a couple of months ago. You should be good to go. Sorry for your loss. Good luck
     
  13. Transman

    Transman New Member

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    I've found that things such as firarms,jewelry,art ect. need to be under a separate policy than your homeowners to insure proper replacement value.This can be expensive depending on the value of the insured items.Everytime I add a gun my damn rate goes up!
     
  14. hiwall

    hiwall Well-Known Member

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    This is kinda true. Your regular policy will cover a certain amount(like maybe $500 for jewelry) but a separate rider is needed if you have many guns or expensive jewelry.
     
  15. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    As I said- read YOUR policy. Even if you and I have the same company, polcies CAN be different. And while $2K may have been some serious money 20 years ago, it will not cover one high end AR, scope, half dozen mags, and 20 boxes of ammo in todays market.

    MOST policies will allow you add a rider for additional $$. If you are a NRA member AND IF YOU ACTIVATED THE INSURANCE COVERAGE- you have $2,500 in coverage at no charge. You can buy more.

    When all else fails, read the directions- or in this case, your policy. Not sure you understand it, call your agent.
     
  16. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    This would be a good time for everyone to understand why it is important to keep information about your firearms in a separate place.

    That $3500 1911 you are so proud of could get replaced. If left to the choice of the insurance company, a RIA 1911 is a good replacement.
     
  17. apwvsd40ve

    apwvsd40ve New Member

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    I cannot add to the knowledge as info had been well covered..bUT I am sincerely sorry to hear about your home being so badly damaged...at least you and your family are safe...the "stuff" can can be replaced!
     
  18. Ohio_Survivor

    Ohio_Survivor New Member

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    Many homeowner policies include a limit such as $2,500 for loss due to theft. But this limit does not usually apply for a loss due to fire. You will most likely be covered for the full value of your loss up to the personal property limits of your policy. Of course , these same limits are for all of your personal property (including your firearms).

    O.S.
     
  19. thefarmboy21

    thefarmboy21 New Member

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    Yes my guns are covered, not sure how much $$$ but they're only about $2000 worth anyhow. The insurance isn't fighting me yet. They said to claim everything including my guns. They don't even want me to have them checked out. I just personally hold sentimental value to a couple and wanted to know the best thing to do.

    PLUS it's not like the insurance will go buy me new guns....they'll write me a check for the contents of the house to do with as I please. I just know I'll need the money to buy stuff for a new house and new baby....not to spend on replacing all my guns right away. SO if I can save a couple to get me by I'd really like to. Know what I mean??? Lol. Thanks for the input this far.