Recent Fire Damage Posts

Restoring fire-damaged exterior surfaces and landscaping

4/19/2024 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO®, we understand the devastation that a fire can bring to homes and businesses. Beyond the immediate impact on the structure, fires can wreak havoc on exterior surfaces and landscaping. In this blog post, we'll guide you through the process of restoring fire-damaged exterior elements, providing valuable insights and tips for a thorough recovery.

Assessing the Damage

The first step in restoring fire-damaged exterior surfaces and landscaping is a thorough assessment of the damage. Inspect the siding, fences, decks, and any other exterior structures. Identify charred or weakened areas, and take note of the extent of the damage.

Safety First

Before embarking on any restoration efforts, prioritize safety. Ensure that the affected area is secure and free from hazards. Use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and consult with professionals if needed. Safety is paramount in any restoration project.

Cleaning Soot and Residue

Fire leaves behind soot and residue, which can adhere to various surfaces. Begin by cleaning these areas using appropriate cleaning agents and techniques. For exterior surfaces like siding, power washing may be effective. However, delicate landscaping features may require a gentler approach to avoid further damage.

Repairing Exterior Surfaces

Once cleaned, assess the structural integrity of exterior surfaces. For damaged siding or decking, consider repairs or replacement. Our SERVPRO experts specialize in restoring fire-damaged structures, ensuring a seamless transition from damage to recovery.

Landscaping Restoration

Fire damage often extends to landscaping, affecting trees, shrubs, and other greenery. Trim damaged branches and remove charred vegetation. Depending on the severity, consult with a professional landscaper to rejuvenate your outdoor space. Replanting with fire-resistant vegetation can be a proactive step to mitigate future risks.

Protective Coatings and Sealants

To safeguard restored exterior surfaces from future damage, consider applying protective coatings or sealants. These not only enhance the aesthetic appeal but also serve as a barrier against environmental elements. Discuss suitable options with our SERVPRO professionals for long-lasting protection.

Restoring fire-damaged exterior surfaces and landscaping is a meticulous process that requires careful consideration and expertise. SERVPRO is here to guide you through every step, ensuring a comprehensive recovery for your property. Remember, safety is paramount, and consulting with professionals can make a significant difference in the efficiency and success of your restoration efforts. Let us help you reclaim your outdoor space and restore normalcy to your life after a fire.

Assessing and Restoring Fire-Damaged Plumbing Systems: A Comprehensive Guide

12/4/2023 (Permalink)

A fire incident can cause extensive damage to your home, including your plumbing system. Assessing and restoring fire-damaged plumbing is crucial for getting your property back to its pre-fire condition. In this blog, we will guide you through the process of evaluating and repairing a fire-damaged plumbing system. By following these steps, you can ensure the safety and functionality of your plumbing while facilitating the overall restoration process.

Safety First

Before assessing your plumbing system, ensure that the fire damage has been fully extinguished and it is safe to enter the property. Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, masks, and goggles to protect yourself from potentially harmful substances and contaminants.

Assess the Damage

Inspect the plumbing system thoroughly for visible signs of damage, such as melted or charred pipes, fittings, or valves. Look out for soot, debris, or water damage in the area surrounding the plumbing.

Turn Off the Main Water Supply

  • Shut off the main water supply to prevent any potential leaks or further damage.
  • This will also allow you to work on the plumbing system safely without the risk of water flow.

Document the Damage

  • Take detailed photographs or videos of the fire-damaged plumbing as evidence for insurance claims.
  • This documentation will be useful for accurately assessing the extent of the damage and supporting your restoration efforts.

Clean and Clear the Area

Remove any debris, soot, or residue from the plumbing components and surrounding areas.

Use a vacuum cleaner or a damp cloth to eliminate any loose particles that may have accumulated.

Call a Licensed Plumber

Engage a licensed plumber with experience in fire-damage restoration to assess the damage and guide you through the repair process. They will identify any hidden damage, create a comprehensive repair plan, and ensure that all repairs comply with local building codes.

Repair or Replace Damaged Components

Depending on the severity of the damage, the plumber may recommend repairing or completely replacing damaged plumbing elements. This could involve replacing melted or charred pipes, fittings, valves, or even the water heater if it has been compromised by the fire.

Flush the System

After repairs or replacements have been made, flush the plumbing system thoroughly to remove any residual soot, debris, or contaminants. Open all faucets and flush toilets until the water runs clear and clean.

Test for Leaks and Functionality

  • Once the system has been flushed, test each fixture and valve for leaks and proper functionality.
  • Check for any unusual smells, discoloration, or odd noises that could indicate hidden issues.

Reconnect Utilities

  • If the assessment and repairs have been successful, reconnect the main water supply and restore utilities to the affected areas.
  • Monitor the system for any leaks or abnormalities during the initial use.

Assessing and restoring fire-damaged plumbing systems is a critical step in the overall restoration process after a fire incident. By prioritizing safety, thoroughly assessing the damage, documenting it for insurance purposes, engaging a licensed plumber, repairing or replacing damaged components, flushing the system, and testing for leaks and functionality, you can ensure the proper functioning and safety of your plumbing system. Remember, professional assistance is invaluable during this process, so do not hesitate to seek help from experienced experts. By following these steps, you can effectively restore your plumbing system and move towards the complete recovery of your home after a fire.

Clearing the Air: How to Get Rid of Cigarette Smoke Odor in Your Home

8/7/2023 (Permalink)

Living with the lingering smell of cigarette smoke can be frustrating and unpleasant. Whether you've recently moved into a home with previous smokers or you're trying to get rid of the smell after quitting smoking yourself, there are steps you can take to freshen up your living space. In this blog post, we will explore effective methods for eliminating cigarette smoke odor from your home.

Open up windows and promote airflow

The first step to removing cigarette smoke odor is to increase ventilation in your home. Open windows and doors to let fresh air in and allow the stale smoke to escape. Use fans or turn on the HVAC system to circulate air throughout the space.

Clean fabrics and upholstery

Cigarette smoke can cling to surfaces, fabrics, and carpets, so a thorough cleaning is necessary. Start by washing all hard surfaces, such as walls, ceilings, and floors, with a mixture of warm water and a mild detergent. Consider using a scrub brush or sponge to remove any residue. Don't forget to clean light fixtures, ceiling fans, and window treatments as well.

Smoke odors can penetrate fabrics, including curtains, upholstery, and carpeting. Wash or dry clean these items according to the manufacturer's instructions. For carpeting, use a steam cleaner or hire a professional carpet cleaning service to remove deep-seated odors. Consider using odor-neutralizing products specifically designed for fabrics.

Utilize natural odor absorbers

Natural odor absorbers, such as baking soda and activated charcoal, can help eliminate cigarette smoke odor. Sprinkle baking soda on carpets and upholstery and let it sit for a few hours before vacuuming. Place bowls of baking soda or activated charcoal in various rooms to absorb odors over time.

Vinegar has natural deodorizing properties and can help neutralize smoke odors. Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle and lightly mist furniture, carpets, and other surfaces. Be sure to test on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn't damage the material.

Eliminate lingering odors with air purifiers

Investing in air purifiers equipped with activated carbon filters can effectively remove cigarette smoke particles from the air. Place them in rooms affected by the smoke odor to continuously filter and freshen the air. Regularly clean or replace the filters according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Cigarette smoke leaves behind tar and nicotine residue on surfaces. Use a nicotine and tar remover to clean walls, ceilings, and other hard surfaces that may have been affected by frequent smoking. Follow the product instructions and use protective gloves and ventilation when applying these cleaning agents.

The most effective way to prevent cigarette smoke odor from returning is to establish a smoke-free policy indoors. If you or someone in your household smokes, try to limit smoking to outdoor areas, away from windows and doors. This will help prevent smoke from re-entering your home and clinging to surfaces.

By following these steps, you can effectively eliminate cigarette smoke odor from your home and create a fresher, healthier living environment. Don't get discouraged if the smell doesn't disappear immediately; it may take some time and repeated efforts to completely remove the odor. Remember to be consistent with your cleaning routine and maintain good ventilation to keep your home smelling fresh and smoke-free.

Protecting Your Business: 8 Essential Steps to Prevent Fire Disasters

4/13/2023 (Permalink)

As a business owner, protecting your business from fire disaster should be one of your top priorities. Fire disasters can be devastating, causing physical harm to your employees, financial loss, and damage to your business's reputation. Therefore, taking steps to prevent fires and having a plan in place in case of a fire is essential. Here are some ways to protect your business from a fire disaster.

Conduct a fire risk assessment

The first step to protecting your business from fire is to conduct a fire risk assessment. This involves identifying potential fire hazards in your workplace, such as electrical equipment, flammable substances, and smoking areas. It also involves evaluating the risk of a fire starting and the potential consequences if one does.

Install smoke detectors and fire alarms

Smoke detectors and fire alarms are essential in detecting fires early, allowing you to take action before the fire spreads. Make sure you have smoke detectors and fire alarms installed in your workplace and that they are regularly tested and maintained

Train your employees

Training your employees on fire safety procedures is crucial in protecting your business from fire disasters. Ensure that all employees know how to use fire extinguishers and evacuate the building in case of a fire. Conduct regular fire drills to keep employees prepared for emergencies.

Have fire extinguishers readily available

Fire extinguishers can help to put out small fires before they become big ones. Make sure that you have the right type of fire extinguishers for your workplace and that they are readily available in case of a fire.

Keep your workplace clean and tidy

Clutter and debris can increase the risk of fire in your workplace. Therefore, it's essential to keep your workplace clean and tidy, particularly in areas where flammable substances are stored.

Check your electrical equipment

Faulty electrical equipment is a significant cause of fires in the workplace. Regularly check your electrical equipment for signs of wear and tear, and make sure that it is regularly maintained by a qualified professional.

Have a fire evacuation plan

Having a fire evacuation plan in place is crucial in protecting your business from fire disasters. Ensure that all employees know the plan and that it is regularly reviewed and updated.

Invest in fire-resistant materials

Investing in fire-resistant materials for your workplace can help to prevent fires from spreading and minimize damage if a fire does occur. Consider using fire-resistant building materials, furniture, and decorations.

In conclusion, protecting your business from fire disasters requires a proactive approach. Conducting a fire risk assessment, installing smoke detectors and fire alarms, training your employees, having fire extinguishers readily available, keeping your workplace clean and tidy, checking your electrical equipment, having a fire evacuation plan, and investing in fire-resistant materials can help to prevent fires and minimize damage if a fire does occur. By taking these steps, you can protect your business from fire disasters and ensure the safety of your employees and customers.

How to prevent a Grease Fire

2/14/2023 (Permalink)

Grease fires are one of the most dangerous types of fires that you can encounter. They may not seem like much at first, but they can quickly spread throughout your entire home or business. Taking some simple steps to prevent a grease fire is important for everyone who uses the kitchen.

Fire Prevention

Make sure your cooking space is clear of all oil spills or food and supplies that could potentially cause a fire to ignite. All oils have different properties and respond differently to heat. Olive oil has a high smoke point and so it can withstand high temperatures without burning. Peanut oil is great for frying because it has more saturated fat than other types of vegetable oil. Canola oil also has a relatively high smoke point but has been genetically modified to not contain toxins.

How to Extinguish a Grease Fire

If a grease fire does break out in your kitchen, cover the top of the container with a lid. This is an easy way to control a grease fire, as it prevents oxygen from entering the container and feeding the flames. If you don't have an immediate lid, try using baking soda or another powder-based kitchen fire extinguisher to smother it instead.

Use salt or sand if you have enough of it. If there's any salt or sand nearby (such as in your garage), use this method in place of covering up with a lid because these materials can be more effective at quenching flames than lids are. Just sprinkle some over one side of the flame until it dies out completely!

Contact your local emergency services if the flames look like they may grow larger than expected or reach somewhere dangerous. You should never attempt anything more than controlling them yourself when dealing with such small sources of heat.

Shut off the Gas

If a grease fire is out of control, you may need to shut off the gas and electricity. Shut off the gas by shutting down your home's main valve at the source (usually located near where the piping enters your home). You can also check for an emergency shutoff lever on or near your stove top for quick access in case you need it. Shutting off both of these sources will cut off any more fuel from getting into the kitchen, which should help put out any flames that remain.

Open windows as soon as possible after turning off electricity and gas to let out heat and prevent further damage to surrounding objects if they're still burning. Call 911 once you've successfully closed all sources of fuel feeding into your kitchen, but don't wait until you've done this—the longer it takes for someone else to get there, the worse things could get!

Grease fire safety is an important topic because if you are not prepared, you can cause serious damage to your home and put your family at risk. If your home or business suffers from a fire loss, give SERVPRO a call immediately.

Steps to Prevent Commercial Kitchen Fires

1/9/2023 (Permalink)

Appliance with fire damage. A kitchen fire can be a dangerous and costly event.

Cooking is one of the most common causes of fires in commercial kitchens. With proper training and planning, you can reduce the risk of a fire by keeping your kitchen clean and maintaining your equipment.

Make Sure All Cooking Equipment is in Good Condition

To prevent commercial kitchen fires, you should make sure that all cooking equipment is in good condition. This includes checking the age of the equipment and making sure it hasn’t been damaged by heat or water damage. You should also check that it operates properly and has been maintained properly. It should have proper safety features such as automatic shut-off switches or flame detectors, as well as fire protection features such as sprinkler systems or firewalls between areas where combustibles are stored and cooking areas.

Have Your Equipment Serviced Periodically

You will also want to perform regular maintenance on your equipment. Many cooks choose to have their gas ranges serviced annually, as this can prevent common issues like carbon buildup and clogged pilot lights. If you are using a wood-burning oven, it is recommended that you have it inspected every two years by a professional.

Other than having your equipment serviced, there are several steps that you can take in the event of an actual fire in the kitchen:

  • Call 911 right away if the issue is too big for yourself or someone else to handle on their own.
  • If possible, put out small fires with baking soda or salt — remember that water may cause electrical fires!

Keep the Kitchen Clean

Cleanliness is an important part of keeping your kitchen safe. Wiping down surfaces, especially those that are near grills or ovens, can help prevent fire from starting in the first place. It's also important to keep your grease traps clean and free of debris like food scraps and paper towels; if they get clogged with debris and start building up grease, you might end up with an even bigger mess on your hands. Make sure to regularly clean out any grease buildup in drains as well; this will help prevent fires from starting because there won't be enough room for excess oil when it drains down into the sink. Finally, make sure all exhaust fans are functioning properly so that smoke escapes but doesn't build up in your kitchen space.

Train Staff

Train staff on how to deal with fire emergencies. Your employees must know what to do in the event of an emergency, such as a fire alarm or kitchen fire. This includes evacuating people from the building and calling 9-1-1 for help.

Train staff on how to respond to fire alarms. Make sure everyone knows where their designated exits are in case of an emergency, including which doors should be opened first if there is smoke or other obstructions in the way.

Train staff on how to evacuate the building during an actual fire. If there truly is a kitchen fire, all employees should know exactly where they are supposed to go in order not only to provide them with enough information but also to make sure they're safe as well!

Create an Emergency Plan

An emergency plan is a formal document that details the procedures for handling an emergency. This includes identifying the different types of emergencies that could occur in your commercial kitchen and knowing what to do in each type of situation. The plan should also include a section on evacuating the building and contacting the fire department, police, or ambulance if needed.

A kitchen fire can be a dangerous and costly event. But if you follow these steps, you can prevent it from happening in your commercial kitchen.

How To Use a Fire Extinguisher

7/28/2022 (Permalink)

A Guide to Fire Extinguisher Use

A home fire can have many causes and can happen at any time. It's important for homeowners in Franklin, NC, to keep a fire extinguisher handy inside the home so a fire can be extinguished before it gets out of control. While the majority of homeowners have an extinguisher inside the home, research shows less than half actually know how to use one.

Being Prepared
A homeowner should not only be prepared to use a fire extinguisher at a moment's notice, but they need to know where to find it. If an emergency does arise, you'll be quicker to act on it. Situations in which you might need a fire extinguisher include:

  • When the fire is contained to one object
  • You feel confident in using the extinguisher
  • You have the right extinguisher type

While you should always call the fire department before using an extinguisher, you should get out of the structure if you're aren't confident in how to use the device. It's always best to put safety first, and during a fire is not the time to try to learn how to use an extinguisher. Fire damage can always be reversed during restoration.
Extinguishers are made for different types of fire. Some extinguishers are water-based, and made for common products such as wood, cloth, plastic, or paper. The majority of homeowners will only have a class A extinguisher. You wouldn't want to use a class A extinguisher on a gas burner during a kitchen fire.

Using the Extinguisher
You'll be confident in using your extinguisher if you remember the acronym P.A.S.S. This stands for pull, aim, squeeze and sweep. First, you pull the pin, then you aim the extinguisher, squeeze the handle and sweep from side to side.
If a fire happens, always think first. A fire extinguisher can be a powerful tool against devastating damage, but only when you know how to use it properly. It's a good idea to periodically refresh yourself on fire safety and proper usage of the extinguisher in your home.

After the Fire: 3 Actions Your Cleanup Crew May Take

5/24/2022 (Permalink)

Door frame and walls damaged by fire Fire damage in Ellijay, NC.

Restoring Your Property After a Fire

When a fire rips through your Ellijay, NC, home, viewing the aftermath can feel overwhelming. From charred belongings, smoke damage and flooding caused by fire hoses, you may not know where to begin with cleanup efforts. Calling in a professional fire restoration company can ease your woes, as its technicians can take several steps to restore your property.

1. Mitigation
Once your home is deemed safe to enter, your restoration techs will survey the property to take immediate action that will help prevent further damage and help you save time and money during the cleanup effort. This may include draining away standing water left behind by fire hoses to lower the risk of mold growth and examine the degree of soot damage to your belongings. Then you can begin salvaging important items and setting aside those that you want to preserve.

2. Soot Removal
Soot can stain building materials, furniture and other objects in your home. Your restoration professionals may use a variety of techniques to clean each room and remove soot from places brooms and small vacuum cleaners may not reach. They may also use commercial-grade cleansers on surfaces where the soot is especially thick.

3. Smoke Odor Removal
One of the most difficult problems you might face in the aftermath of a fire is the removal of smoke damage, as stains and the stubborn odor can linger for weeks after a house fire. A smoke cleaning and fire restoration service can assist you with air-cleaning ozone machines that trap and remove odor-causing molecules instead of simply masking their smell.
Facing the aftermath of a fire at your Ellijay, NC, home can feel like the end of the world. Calling professional smoke damage technicians to assist you with the cleanup process can help offer you peace of mind as you move ahead with plans to restore and rebuild.

Do You Have Enough Fire Alarms in Your Home?

4/7/2022 (Permalink)

Soot on a wall after a fire. Make sure you test your alarms frequently.

A fire alarm helps to keep your family safe in Cullowhee, NC when a fire breaks out. Most people think one or two alarms are sufficient, but the National Fire Protection Association recommends that the number of alarms you install should be based in large part on the size of your home.

How Many Alarms Do You Need in Your Home?

The NFPA strongly suggests that alarms be placed in the following rooms to avoid devastating fire damage:

  • One alarm should be installed in each bedroom. An additional alarm should be placed in the hallway near the bedrooms. If the bedrooms are situated in different areas of the home, you will need an alarm in each hallway.
  • Place one alarm in the kitchen as well.
  • Install at least one alarm on each additional level in your home. Don’t forget the basement since a fire can ignite near or inside the furnace.

How Should the Alarms Be Installed?

The fire alarm can be placed on the ceiling, but it also works well attached to the wall. Just make sure it is situated no more than 12 inches from the ceiling since smoke rises quickly during a fire. Alarms positioned in the kitchen should be at least 10 feet away from the stove and other cooking appliances. Smoke damage caused by kitchen appliances can be very difficult to remove, so call a fire restoration service if you need help with the cleanup. Alarms should never be placed too close to windows, fans, or vents since these devices may interfere with fire detection.

Make sure you test your alarms frequently to ensure they work when you need them. Change the batteries twice a year as well. A good rule of thumb is to change them when you change your clocks.
Keep your family safe with a properly installed and maintained fire alarm in each important room in your home.

How a Lightning Strike Can Affect your Home

2/16/2022 (Permalink)

What Can A Lightning Strike Do To Your House?

If you live in Franklin, NC, you may be wondering if it’s possible for a lighting fire to strike your home. While this force of nature may seem alarming, the odds of having your home struck is roughly 1 in 200.

Facts to Know About Lighting

Understanding this force of nature can help you know the risks to your home.

• Most strikes occur outdoors in open areas
• A strike always takes the path of least resistance to the ground
• A lightning rod can provide a straight path and help protect your home
• Only 18 percent of strike related fires were house fires
• Most strike related fires start in the attic or around electrical wiring
• A strike may result in power surges

What to Do if Your Home is Struck

If your home is hit during a storm it’s best to call the fire department regardless of if you see a lighting fire. Tell them your home was hit by lightning so they can send someone to inspect it and look for any signs of damage or possible fire. They will tell you if the house is safe. Afterwards you can call your insurance and have a licensed electrician look over the building’s wiring.

What Should be Done if a Fire Occurs

In the event your home is struck resulting in a house fire, it’s important to get everyone out as quickly and safely as possible and call the fire department. Once the fire is out you should contact your insurance company and any fire damage restoration services they may recommend. These professionals can conduct any clean up and repairs that may be needed, and the cost is usually covered under most homeowner's insurance policies.

A lighting fire can be just as damaging as any other kind. Fortunately, precautions like a lightning rod may help. If your home is hit it’s important to call the fire department for an assessment regardless of if you have an obvious fire. Afterwards you can make any repairs necessary to the home.