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Common Emotions After a House Fire

Common Emotions After a House Fire

If you have suffered the tragedy of a house fire, you may wonder whether the range of emotions you’re experiencing is normal.

After a house fire, there are several emotional phases, including initial shock, anger, and a longer-term sense of despair and hopelessness. These feelings are similar to bereavement because this is a loss — the loss of your home.

Your home is a place of safety, security, and sanctuary. A fire uproots all these concepts.

While the physical injuries may heal, losing something you worked so hard for and irreplaceable personal items is difficult to deal with.

There are many emotions common to those who have experienced a house fire. This shared journey encourages victims to know there is recovery and light at the end of the tunnel.

Common Emotional Reactions After House Fire

There’s no one-size-fits-all emotional handbook for someone who’s experienced a house fire. Below are some of the common emotional reactions you may experience.

  • Shock
  • Disbelief
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Loss
  • Despair
  • Hopelessness

Can You Have PTSD From a House Fire?

Yes. The identification and recognition of PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – began in the armed forces and was a condition many service members suffered from following frontline experiences in war zones.

However, PTSD is not confined to military personnel and is now a recognized condition that can affect anyone who has experienced a stressful, frightening, or distressing event.

People who have gone through a house fire can develop PTSD. PTSD is characterized by flashbacks and nightmares, a sense of isolation and dislocation from the world, and often irritability and guilt.

Symptoms range from mild and occasional to severe, sufficient to disrupt daily life. PTSD is successfully treated even if the original cause was long ago.

How To Recover From the Emotional Trauma of a House Fire

Release Emotions

Allow yourself time to feel upset, cry, and rage. Talk to friends and family who will be keen to support you as you release negative emotions.

Don’t bottle things up by putting on a brave face, particularly if you have upset children who also need support.

Spend Time with Family and Friends

Your family and friends will be ready to support you. Take advantage of their practical help and emotional assistance. Being isolated will only increase negative feelings.

Talk to them about your ordeal and how it has made you feel. Vocalizing what has happened is an essential part of releasing negative emotions.


In times of trauma, it’s easy to overlook self-care. Look after yourself and try to follow normal daily routines, so eat well and make an effort to rest and get a good night’s sleep.

Self Care

Stress-Reduction Techniques

Take time each day to practice techniques like breathing and meditation. Physical exercise helps with pent-up negative emotions, improves your sense of well-being, and even helps with sleep.

You may feel exhausted after the fire and too tired to exercise, but even walking with a friend will have positive mental and emotional benefits.

Take Control

Making decisions, even small ones, or doing small acts, help you feel that you’re finally putting yourself back in control of your life.

Put off any major life decisions until things have settled down and you feel like your old self.

Allow Yourself to Feel Good

It’s a classic bereavement pattern in which you still have sunny periods and moments of humor amid a dark time. Embrace these and don’t feel guilty for losing the negativity, even for a short time.

Don’t Try and Resume Normal Too Quickly

Daily routines help to normalize us after a traumatic event or experience but don’t try and go back to a busy life too quickly.

The emotional trauma, plus any physical injuries, will make you exhausted, possibly for weeks or months. Step down what you would normally do so you have time to recover.

Return to work but work shorter days or go part-time for a while. Let friends and family help you with some of the daily and weekly chores, like shopping and laundry.

It’s common to try and reimpose that routine to prove that you’re okay and coping. Routine is excellent, but it’ll need to be tailored to allow recovery.

Community and Professional Support

There are plenty of support networks in the community and professional help available via your doctor if you need counseling or psychotherapy.

Talking therapy starts with your family and friends. It’s also helpful to speak to someone who has been through the same experience and can share their recovery journey with you.

The US Fire Administration has lots of help and advice and will signpost you to other valuable organizations.

Let All Dry USA Help

All Dry USA is a specialist fire and smoke damage restoration company. We cope with the aftermath of a fire at properties throughout the US. Prompt action will increase how much you salvage from the property.

We deal with homes with the care and empathy the situation deserves. We’ve managed numerous house fires and understand the shock and devastation you’ll be feeling. We aim to make our work quick and stress-free. Please get in touch if you need help with fire damage restoration.

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