While I am in the hospital recovering from a hip operation, my wife tells there was a fire in my music room and all the components are covered in soot.
Does anyone know if equipment is recoverable after being covered by soot?
This is a vintage system with many modifications and can't be replaced

I would have to assume that they all can be gently cleaned and brought back on line, the heat from the fire to the equipment would be of bigger concern to me. So sorry for your issue with your system especially at a time when you need to be concentrating on your recovery. Good luck and please post your conclusion.
call your insurance agent

Pain in the ass though. :)

May only require external cleaning. Soot can be conductive, so any circuit boards/bare connections will need cleaning.


If you have vintage wood cabinets/horns I suggest you consider a woodworking restoration specialist. Sometimes found through architectural restoration.
  • Thank you for your response.
check for water or foam damage from attempts to put out the fire too

the real question is whether the ins. co. will pay willingly for repair, which will likely be more costly than replacement for a vintage system that ir irreplaceable - I hope you have an uncle who is a lawyer

can you post a list of what the gear is?

WAF not too good?
Not sure about the soot, but I send you good wishes for a quick recovery.
File an insurance claim!
Rega RP3 turntable, TT PSU, Rega white belt, Grado Sonata Reference cartridge, Conrad-Johnson P-11 pre-amp (modified), Oppo Blu-ray player ( used as transport), Theta D S Pro Prime DAC, Cardas cables and interconnects, NuForce 9 Mono Block amps (modified,), Dalquist DQ 20 Speakers (modified).

the heart of the system is vintage:   Conrad Johnson, Dalquist, Theta.

Wishing you a speedy recovery.  I too have been recovering from recent surgery. Can't wait to get back to my system.  Very very soon I am told yeah and hallelujah.
Sorry no knowledge of about soot.
Thank you for your good wishes.
it would be nice to come one to a clean room with working stereo.

I suspect each item can be replaced with time-consuming searches and then re-modified.

Back to cleaning - some firm cleans museum pieces after fires cause soot, water & foam damage, so it should  not be impossible.

A thorough inspection will be needed.

Good Luck!
Why would you not file an insurance claim and have the insurance company either replace the damaged components or contract out to a company that specialized in electronic remediation?

If you attempt the rectify the situation yourself, you may jeopardize your ability to file a claim at a later date because the insurance adjuster may not be able to differentiate between the fire damage and the damage caused by your failed attempt i.e. you made it worse.

File a claim and have the damage on record and don't attempt any repairs etc. until the insurance company has assessed the damage.
I would file a claim. And I would contact servpro. 

WHAT EVER YOU DO DO NOT ENERGIZE ANY OF THAT EQUIPMENT until each piece if fully cleaned!

The soot will be partially conductive and could at least destroy your gear from the inside. Worst case it may start a fire again.

Be certain the restoration firm really knows what it is doing as the wrong cleaners can actually cause the soot to get more embedded in the electronics. Also wrong cleaners can ruin contacts in switches, etc. Serious electronics assembly/repair houses have automated DI- based cleaning systems designed for electronics - the good ones will seal switches, etc. prior to wash with removable material.
Just a word of warning to our fellow music freaks.  If you have a high(er) end system, you should talk to your insurance agent.  Make sure you have FULL REPLACEMENT coverage on your house and contents.  Otherwise if you make a claim, they will prorate everything according to it's age and value.  Or you can have a rider attached to your home owners policy to cover the cost of replacing your system or any part of what's damaged.  I had the top half of a  tool box stolen from the garage, and with the full replacement insurance, they bought me $10,000 in Snapon tools, with no questions asked.
I would be concerned about the cause of the fire.  Did it start with the stereo system?  If so, there may be irreparable electrical damage.  As some one else said, soot is one thing, but heat from the fire is a real damaging event.  Heal up, good luck. 
Thank you for our good wishes. I'm doing better.
The fire started in the furnace room itself -- no flames just smoke.

i just found out that all of my thousands of CDs and LP's may not be recoverable  because of the soot.
A total wipeout of my musical life!
The components are in the hands of an electronics restorer. No word yet on whether they are salvageable.
The insurance should cover monetary losses.  But how do you replace thousands of LP's or a vintage stereo system?
rvpiano, just wondering how the soot got within the lp covers and cd cases?
You know, I'm not sure about the CDs, but the record covers are exposed to the air and the soot.
They are telling me that it infiltrates the CD covers too.
I will have to see for myself.

But how do you replace thousands of LP's or a vintage stereo system?
Who cares, especially when you factor in the fact that no one was hurt or killed in the fire. LPs and stereo equipment are just "stuff" that can be replaced.  Consider yourself lucky.
OUCH(I feel your pain)!   Best wishes on a fast recovery and complete system restoration.  
Thank you, Rodman.


excellent advice from the panel. Contact your Insurance agent to file a claim. Hopefully, it is faulty home wiring or something along those lines.
Seek out a specialist to clean your gear prior to any further listening.

Have a speedy recovery and Get Well Soon!
The insurance company is working on it and there is a company that restores electrical equipment with smoke damage on it too.
thanks for your good wishes.
We had a house fire in 1984, and I recovered my NAD receiver, but it was covered in soot. The soot didn't affect the operation (in this case, anyway - soot can be conductive), but the receiver smelled badly of smoke - something also to consider when reusing/restoring smoke-damaged equipment.
Thank you for your post.
 I'ts been over a month since the fire and I still have not seen my equipment. It was taken by an electrical restorer and not yet returned.  He's removing the soot and placing the stuff in an isobaric chamber for five days to get rid of the odor.

The music room was gutted by the contractor and is in the process of being rebuilt. The silver lining is that the contractor is installing built in the wall shelves for my 1000's of CDs and records which also were contaminated and had to be treated.

So, after a total of two months, hopefully, I can be back to normal.

Well best of luck with your recovery and getting your life back to normal again..

63 posts
01-25-2017 6:20pm
But how do you replace thousands of LP's or a vintage stereo system?
Who cares, especially when you factor in the fact that no one was hurt or killed in the fire. LPs and stereo equipment are just "stuff" that can be replaced. Consider yourself lucky.

No, he is unlucky that this happened to him, we are lucky that it didn't happen to us, so we care for his damaged collection that is irreplaceable as well as any risk of life!
I didn't realize it at the time, but we since found out that it was very close to life-threatening.  The furnace that caught fire is on the other side of an adjacent wall, inches away from where my wife was sleeping. If it had gone on longer the fire would have reached her.
As it turns out, the records and CDs have been treated and are probably playable.  The jury's still out as to whether the equipment is salvageable. It, too,  is being treated to see if it still works.

the only silver lining is that they are rebuilding the music room and are customizing it for in-wall media storage.