Ventura, Santa Barbara Thomas Fire Smoke Damage and Montecito Mudslide Restoration of Artwork, Antiques and Collectibles

By Scott M. Haskins, Art Conservator




The situation was horrific and lasted for more than a month. Now that the danger is past, the entire area is recouping. After family members and pets are accounted for, the next items of concern are the family’s valuables and family history heritage items that make up the family’s memories. If insurance is going to meet the demands of the damage, then these items, sometimes of little financial value and cannot be replaced, become of great concern.


Fine Art Conservation Laboratories (FACL) experts haveprofessional methods, knowledge and a special division of services to offer families, business’, insurance claim adjusters and disaster response contractors to help respond professionally to the care, restoration and conservation of artwork, collectibles, keepsakes and antiques: Here’s a quick video (click on this link):



Disaster Response Art Restoration Experts





There are family heirlooms, art, antiques, family history items and treasures that can still be saved and preserved in very good condition in a house that is in this situation! Use care in the removal process. Their preservation can make all the difference for the owners in emotionally recouping from this disaster for years/decades to come. Wow, what a photo above!

Don’t know what to do, need help with questions about insurance claims?


ProBono, expert art conservation advice.


Call Andrew Jacobs on his mobile. 812 639 3681


Over 1000 structures were lost in the firestorm driven by 40-70 mph winds in the backcountry of Ventura and Santa Barbara, CA at the end of 2017. The Thomas Fire was classified as the largest wildfire (acreage) in the history of California. which threatened densely populated areas prompting the mandatory evacuation of more than 16,000 residents with many more voluntarily leaving for more than a couple of weeks. Even though the fire was not driven into the cities, the wind blew smoke and ash onto 100,000s of local residents and polluted skies northward past San Francisco, 600 miles away where I was visiting and saw first hand.


After a few days of the most aggressive advancement of the fire, 6″ of rain fell in a few hours in the mountains causing a catastrophic mudslide which pushed before it 10’ diameter boulders, autos, trees through houses in the Montecito suburb all the way to the beaches and closed the main artery 101 freeway for weeks. The final toll was 23 dead and billions of dollars of damage.


This mudslide in Montecito, CA was the result of extensive fires in the mountains above the city. When the rains came soon after, all of this came down onto the residential area.


Dozens of insurance claims to reclaim these types of items have been settled with the help of evaluations and inspections by FACL of smoked artwork, sculptures, family photos, model train sets, ceramics and collectibles… all of the cherished items that make up a family’s heritage and history.


Once such family has been in the railroad business for 4 generations and you can image that connection they feel with their family’s memorabilia! What a heartbreak to see the damage but what a wonderful moment to share with them how everything can be cleaned up to good and new.




We are prepared to handle the logistics and treatments of many items at once. We help compile inventories and reports for insurance reporting. We can re-hang the artwork and secure art objects for seismic safety.We are easy to communicate with and we can provide door to door service even over long distances.


Let’s Talk! Contact us:

Andrew Jacobs, Disaster Response Services Coordinator

812 639 3681 mobile




This painting required a double cleaning in order to remove the smoke and debris “safely.” No original paint was removed and the full value was returned.


Here are some testimonials and examples

of our work with other disaster response companies:


Smoke Damage (Testimonial):


Smoke Damage – Elite Restoration – Blog Post:


Water Damage (Testimonial Mrs. Dau):


Water Damage (Testimonial Las Vegas):


Damage in Storage – Rip Repair:


Expert Author – Tom Antion Hurricane Testimonial:



Andrew Jacobs, Disaster Response Services Coordinator

812 639 3681 mobile


We got our first call from a resident in the mudslide area today; 3 ft of mud… in the house! Unbelievably, they got out with the bare minimum… and their favorite painting… but there is a house of family memories to save as soon as they (and we) are let back in.

The mud on this painting smells like sewage. Its always a good precaution to protect your health when handling items from a mudslide in inhabited areas.




The mud etc can be removed safely from this artwork and is completely recoverable. Another day has passed and I’ve inspected about 25 works of art, all cleanable and can be returned to pre-disaster condition.


Scott M. Haskins, Virginia Panizzon, Oriana Montemurro

Art Conservators

805 564 3438 office

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