Recent Fire Damage Posts

5 Tips for Avoiding Candle Fires

12/12/2020 (Permalink)

Many homeowners light candles to freshen up a room or to have lighting during a power outage. However, candles still have the potential to create a fire that spreads throughout the building. Avoid a candle fire at all costs, and follow these helpful tips to stay safe.

1. Do Not Leave Candles Unattended

If you are leaving a room with a candle in it, first extinguish the flame. After all, you can always relight a candle if you desire.

2. Keep the Area Around Candles Clean

The shelf or stand where you place the candle should not have anything flammable on it. Additionally, you should avoid placing a candle on a nightstand near your bed. The bedding may catch fire if you are not careful.

3. Toss It Once It Is Less Than Two Inches Tall

You do not want to risk a candle fire by allowing the flame to get too close to the base of the candle. It is better to simply throw away a candle once it is less than two inches high. They are relatively inexpensive to replace.

4. Keep Candles Away From Pets and Children

Candles should be placed high enough that kids and animals cannot get them. It is dangerous for children to play with anything lit. If the candle is left on a coffee table, then a dog’s tail may accidentally hit it and cause it to fall onto the floor.

5. Do Not Put Out a Candle With Water

It is preferable to put out a flame by blowing on it rather than pouring water. The reason is that water can cause the wax to spill all over the place. The hot wax may still catch fire, causing flames to spread throughout a home in Northern Virginia. Candles are meant to be enjoyed, so always follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions to avoid a nasty candle fire and the impending smoke cleanup.

Residential vs Commercial Fire Damage

12/10/2020 (Permalink)

Commercial fire damage is very difficult to get rid of on your own, especially when you consider what goes into fire restoration. Fire restoration involves many different steps and processes, and this is why it is imperative that you hire a fire damage expert who can come to your home and do the cleanup for you. They will be able to come and take care of the electrical fire or utility room fire that has happened after firefighters have left using their fire trucks and fire hoses.

Along with having this type of commercial fire damage repair done, you may also want to consider a fire sprinkler system and fire suppression system along with fire restoration. Fire restoration alone is simply not enough, since you will want to prevent the issue from happening in the future using a fire sprinkler system and fire suppression system for your own needs. This is why a lot of people have made the decision to contact the experts after dealing with an electrical fire or utility room fire.

Another wonderful benefit hiring commercial fire damage experts and those who deal with basic fire damage is that they will take care of the smoke damage and soot damage that has been left behind. Both the smoke damage and soot damage is problematic for homeowners and business owners. This is why it is so important to call the fire damage experts and Commercial fire damage professionals after you have dealt with an electrical fire or utility room fire. Firefighters alone with their fire trucks and fire hoses are not going to be able to do the fire restoration for you.

The fire suppression system and fire sprinkler system is also important when it comes to ensuring that fire damage is no longer problem for your home. Firefighters will also recommend that you put in a fire suppression system and fire sprinkler system in order to prevent an electrical fire or utility room fire from getting out of hand in the future. They are not going to be able to put out a significant fire with their fire trucks and fire hoses alone. Smoke damage and soot damage can be handled by the professionals as well.

Once you have made the decision to hire the professionals to take care of the smoke damage and soot damage left behind after a fire, it is important that you work with the experts and understand what firefighters have recommended using their fire trucks and fire hoses. There are many different options available to you when it comes to hiring a professional company to come in and do the work for you. One of the main issues that a lot of people face is the fact that they cannot handle the issues on their own, so they are left trying to figure out how to handle it themselves.

Thankfully, there are tons of different reputable companies out there that will be able to help you in one way or another. This ensures that your home or business is put back to its former glory and that you will find it to be incredibly beneficial in many different ways. If you have some type of insurance on your property, you will also find that this is incredibly helpful when paying for the services that are rendered. It can be incredibly expensive for you to do the repair work on your own, so make sure that you consider this as an option and work with the professionals in a way that is going to be beneficial for you and your loved ones. You might be amazed at how inexpensive this type of work can be once you work with the right experts and have some type of insurance that will help to pay for the costs that are associated with having all of the work done on either your home or business.

What Are Some Resources to Contact After a Fire?

12/9/2020 (Permalink)

An unexpected fire in a home or fire in a business can cause extensive fire damage that is impossible to deal with without additional help. Luckily, there are a number of resources for property owners who require fire damage restoration to contact in order to get the help they need. Fire cleanup is a lengthy and complication process which should not be tackled alone, especially when there are a number of organization that specialize in fire damage restoration.

Financial considerations are usually the first thought to come to a property owner's mind after a fire in a home or a fire in a business. Commercial fire damage can be absolutely devastating to a small business. After the fire has been stabilized by the fire department, the first organization to contact should be the insurance company. Insurance can sometimes cover the costs involved in hiring a restoration company, which can ease the transition back to normalcy after all the soot damage, smoke damage, and fire damage has been dealt with.

After the coverage of a restoration company's services is discussed, a fire cleanup team should be scheduled. A professional from the restoration company will evaluate the extent of the fire damage caused by the fire in a home or the fire in a business. The costs of repair and replacement will be discussed, and all commercial fire damage will be recorded and itemized. The fire cleanup team will also collaborate with the local fire department to discuss safety concerns and any damage to the building's structural integrity.

If walls or roofs are compromised, temporary walls and roofs may be put up by the fire damage restoration team. Windows and doors are usually boarded up to prevent unwarranted access to the premises. This boarding up of entry points allows for the property owner to rest assured that his or her property is safe while fire damage restoration is still under way. Because commercial fire damage can often damage locks, boarding up the doors is generally a good idea.

Once the building is secured, it is essential that all personal belongings damaged or not be organized and itemized. Soot damage and smoke damage may render some items unsalvageable. These items are then disposed of by the fire cleanup crew using regulated heavy machinery. The soot damage and smoke damage that is present is also evaluated for sanitization and possible restoration.

Smoke smells can be removed from fabrics and other surfaces using a variety of techniques including heavy vacuuming, steam injection, ozone treatment, thermal fogging, ventilation, and others. The smoke smell may persist and require multiple treatments before it is completely gone. Some individuals believe that ventilation alone can reduce smoke smells, but it sometimes requires treatments with chemicals called counteractants.

Because water is used extensively by the fire department to put out fires, water damage containment is also necessary. A fire in a home or a fire in a business can often result in extensive water damage and mold growth. Therefore, a specialist who can dry out the property and prevent further damage is necessary and usually contracted by the restoration company.

Fire damage can cause the loss of important paperwork like passports, driver's licenses, marriage certificates, birth certificates, insurance policies, and medical records. It is important to contact the authorities managing these documents immediately to have them replaced.

The fire department will also need to be in contact with the property owner to maintain the safety of the premises. Smoke damage and soot damage can sometimes cause a property to be dangerous. The smoke smell may be cause for the fire department to investigate further. Commercial fire damage is examined particularly deeply.

Smoke and Soot Clean Up

12/8/2020 (Permalink)

Messy room A fire in a Northern Virginia home, caused by an old extension cord being used with a portable heater.

Smoke and soot are very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor.  Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.

SMOKE AND SOOT FACTS:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

 Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke - wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire.  Before restoration begins, SERVPRO will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred.  The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during the pretesting.  Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke - Plastic and Rubber:

  • Low heat,
  • Smoldering,
  • Pungent odor,
  • Sticky,
  • Smeary, & 
  • Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

 Dry Smoke - Paper and Wood:

  • Fast burning,
  • High temperature, &
  • Heat rises therefore smoke rises.

 Protein Fire Residue - Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire:

  • Virtually invisible,
  • Discolors paints and varnishes, &
  • Extreme pungent odor.

 Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?

Call Us Today.

Everything You Need to Know About Fire Damage

12/4/2020 (Permalink)

Fire damage is often much worse than people realize, and it has a lot to do with the unknown damage it causes. Soot damage, smoke damage, and the smoke smell that lingers for so long after a fire in the home or fire in the business occurs are some of the worst forms of damage. Fire itself causes ample damage to most structures, whether it’s commercial fire damage or a fire in the home. Add the soot damage and smoke damage to the mix, and the mess requires the help of a company that specializes in fire cleanup.

Fire damage is devastating, and there is nothing homeowners or business owners can do but hope their belongings can be salvaged. If fire damage didn’t destroy personal effects when a fire in the home or fire in the business occurs, the soot damage and smoke damage might have done the job instead.

If commercial fire damage occurs, it’s even more imperative people call for professional fire damage restoration. Attempting to restore the property themselves can have even worse results either due to incorrect processes, or additional revenue loss from business interruption while the process is taking longer than needed to clean up . When fire damage occurs, it’s imperative home and business owners call for professional fire damage restoration.

What Happens After a Fire in the Home or Fire in the Business

When fire occurs, so many things happen. Items in the home or business are damaged because of several issues commonly associated with fire. Soot damage occurs when soot from the fire lands on the items in a home or office. Soot damage can stain or destroy items, and it’s not easily cleaned without the help of a professional. Smoke damage is another issue. Smoke damage can cause things to never smell the same, it can destroy artwork and books, and it can destroy clothing.

The smoke smell might never come out of furniture or clothing without professional fire cleanup. Most people can’t just wash the smoke smell out of things, which is why calling for professional fire damage restoration is so important.

A professional has the ability to work miracles such as removing the smoke smell from virtually everything. Don't let a home or office go uncared for after a fire because it's intimidating to start.

Removing Smoke Odors from a Local Library

12/2/2020 (Permalink)

book on fire Fire damage to your local library can make it close for a while. Contacting SERVPRO can provide remediation services for your library.

Fire damage odors can be a considerable obstacle for restorers, and there are multiple deodorization strategies to help.

When even a small fire ignites in a Northern Virginia library, there are many potential obstacles and hurdles that fire restoration companies like our SERVPRO team must overcome. While much of these initial steps involve the mitigation stages such as debris removal and surface cleaning, in many ways, lingering odors can pose the most significant challenge to making fire losses "Like it never even happened."

While fire damage restoration for public structures involves a careful union of advanced cleaning techniques and containment strategies, libraries add further challenges with so many volumes of literature to preserve and protect. These contents are as crucial in many ways as the structure itself, as this represents the borough's investments into the education of its residents. While smoke residues and ash can present immediate threats to these books and works, odors can become a lingering concern that stays trapped in the paper pages and covers of these novels stocked on the shelves. Removing odors often falls to several capable pieces of equipment in our inventory, including:

  • Thermal Fogging
  • ULV Fogging
  • Hydroxyl Generators
  • Ozone Generators
  • Air Scrubbers

Is Fogging the Best Odor Removal Approach?

While each of these deodorization approaches can have its ideal use in fire restoration cleanup and recovery, few have the versatility of thermal and ULV fogging. By creating a mist or vapor of deodorizing compounds, they can penetrate porous surfaces and contents to neutralize smoke and burning odors already embedded there. With the lightweight portability of fogging units, they are among the most widely used in odor removal approaches. Fire losses can be a challenge for public buildings like the library when contents become exposed.

Top 3 Fire Damage Safety Tips

12/13/2019 (Permalink)

Radiator next to window Make sure your heating equipment is in working order and has been inspected before you start to use it.

As weather starts to change, so should your fire safety considerations in your McLean home. Preventing fires is important all year long, and focusing on the appropriate fire safety tips for the season can make your efforts more worthwhile.  Here are a couple of things to keep in mind as the temperature gets cooler and the leaves start to fall.

1. Candle Safety- You might be tempted to start bringing out your favorite fall scented candles soon. There’s just something about a beautiful, fragrant candle that feels comforting on a fall day. Candles come with their own safety considerations, however. Keep candles 12 inches away from anything that can burn and blow out candles when you are leaving the room. Never use a candle if there is oxygen being used in your home for medical purposes; electric candles are a safer option.

2. Heating equipment- Make sure your heating equipment is in working order and has been inspected before you start to use it. Since this equipment has been out of use for the last several months, it’s important that you follow the appropriate steps to make sure the unit is clean and functioning properly. If you use space heaters, make sure that they are surrounded by three feet of empty space and that they are turned off when you leave the house or go to bed.

3. Chimney inspection- if you have a usable fireplace, it’s essential to make sure that it is cleaned and inspected before you start using it to prevent built up creosote from previous fires. Cozying up next to a beautiful fire might be a quintessential part of your fall, but make sure that you do so as safely as possible. Also, consider using a screen to prevent sparks from igniting a fire somewhere in your home.

Methods of Fire Restoration

12/13/2019 (Permalink)

Food on Fire Team SERVPRO® Uses Appropriate Cleaning Methods When Dealing with Soot and Other Damage After a Fire

Team SERVPRO® Uses Appropriate Cleaning Methods When Dealing with Soot and Other Damage After a Fire

After a fire damage incident, the smoke particles that move around the structure can negatively impact ceilings and walls in many ways. To prevent permanent or further damage, you need to take immediate action, and it is not advisable to do the cleaning by yourself. Not all fire events are the same, and that calls for professional help to determine the most suitable restoration procedures for your property. 

Specific factors guide our SERVPRO® technicians when selecting the most appropriate technique after a fire damage incident. For instance, if we are cleaning walls and ceilings, we look at the type of smoke residues, the nature of the surface, and whether the area is dry cleanable or wet cleanable. Peroxide active cleaning, wet cleaning, and dry cleaning are the primary cleaning methods that we use. 

Our SERVPRO® technicians use dry cleaning when cleaning surfaces that have non-oily smoke residues. In this method, we use a dry clean sponge to do the job, and it is among the initial steps that we perform before extensive cleaning starts. If we need to remove light to heavy smoke residues from wooden, metal, and painted ceilings, then wet cleaning is an option. 

Peroxide active cleaning is a suitable method for cleaning greasy particles that are on acoustical ceilings and other forms of nonporous and porous ceilings. We prefer this method when there are chances of dissolving the coating on textured ceilings through aggressive wet cleaning methods. The method also preserves the appearance of blown tiles. 

When our SERVPRO® technicians are dry cleaning your property, we usually start by cleaning the ceilings before moving to the walls to avoid introducing dirt to clean areas. To avoid streaking the walls with the cleaning solution during wet cleaning, we start by cleaning the walls and then move to the ceilings. We also clean walls from the bottom to the top when performing wet cleaning. 

Fire Prevention in the Outdoors

12/14/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Prevention in the Outdoors

Unlike many natural disasters, most wildfires are caused by people—and can be prevented by people, too. People in fire-prone areas should plan ahead and prepare to evacuate with little notice. Here are some tips on how to prevent wildfires and what to do if you're caught in the middle of one.

How to Prevent a Wildfire

  • Contact 911, your local fire department, or the park service if you notice an unattended or out-of-control fire.
  • Never leave a campfire unattended. Completely extinguish the fire—by dousing it with water and stirring the ashes until cold—before sleeping or leaving the campsite.
  • When camping, take care when using and fueling lanterns, stoves, and heaters. Make sure lighting and heating devices are cool before refueling.
  • Avoid spilling flammable liquids and store fuel away from appliances.
  • Do not discard cigarettes, matches, and smoking materials from moving vehicles, or anywhere on park grounds. Be certain to completely extinguish cigarettes before disposing of them.
  • Follow local ordinances when burning yard waste. Avoid backyard burning in windy conditions, and keep a shovel, water, and fire retardant nearby to keep fires in check. Remove all flammables from yard when burning.

Evacuation Tips

  • If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Know your evacuation route ahead of time and prepare an evacuation checklist and emergency supplies.
  • Wear protective clothing and footwear to protect yourself from flying sparks and ashes.

Holiday Home Safety

12/14/2018 (Permalink)

Holiday Home Safety

Safety for Holiday Decorating

  • One of every four home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.
  • On average, one of every 32 reported home Christmas tree fires results in a death compared to an average of one death per 143 total reported home fires.
  • A heat source too close to the tree causes one in every four Christmas tree fires. So keep your Christmas tree away from heat sources and room exits.
  • The top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Christmas Eve.
  • Candles start two out of five home decoration structure fires.
  • Water your live Christmas tree daily to keep it from becoming dry.
  • Only use decorations that are flame-retardant or not flammable.
  • Check holiday lights each year for frayed wires or excessive wear.
  • Don’t link more than three strands of holiday lights.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended. Consider using battery-operated flameless candles.
  • Find more information at www.usfa.fema.gov