Data Recovery From a Fire


THE RECOVERY OF DATA FROM FIRE-DAMAGED HARD DRIVES IS OFTEN DIFFICULT, BUT NOT IMPOSSIBLE.There are a multitude of variables that can affect the outcome of the data retrieval attempt. Some of these variables include if the hard drive or computer had direct or indirect exposure to the fire and the time duration of the exposure. Other factors that can affect the outcome of the recovery efforts will also include if the device was exposed to water, such as from a fire sprinkler system, or hosed down with heavy water pressure by Firefighters that may have combated the flames.

Zero Alpha has recovered data from bushfires, house fires, electrical fires, computer power supply burnouts and wiring burn outs. We have the experience and the equipment to recover any hard drive that still has a complete set of intact platters, including fire damaged drives.

getting data back from a hdd fire

Flame and heat aren’t the only attributes of a fire that may damage a computer and its data storage. Water used to put out a fire, debris, soot and chemicals such as flame retardant can all cause additional damage.

Water and flame retardant, used by firefighters on isolated single-family home fires and other comparatively smaller incidents may be absent from devices recovered from a wildfire. This is because, once the wildfire is contained, houses toward the middle of the fire will simply burn out, or run out of fuel and extinguish on their own without aid from water or flame retardant, before firefighters are physically able to get to it.

Fire Damaged Hard Drive Problems

In a fire, the controller board electronics could be melted, either completely or partially. It would take a lot of heat to get through the solid metal drive case, but there is a risk that the heat could damage the magnetic coating of the discs. The discs are normally mirror-smooth but if they bubble or warp they will crash the heads. That would be an impossible recovery.

If the hard drive was powered-on during the fire, there could also be stuck mechanical parts internally. It would be a good idea to check the inside of the drive before applying any power.