Recent Fire Damage Posts

Smoke Behavior is No Joke

2/22/2019 (Permalink)

Fire losses and the damage they leave behind can be an incredibly complex job to deal with. This is caused largely by the behavior of smoke. When our SERVPRO of Overbrook/Wynnefield professionals respond to a call for a fire job, their initial goal is to determine the extent of damage from fire itself, smoke, heat, and moisture. Not only do we deal with damage to building structures, but we work to clean a building's contents and your belongings as well.

Our SERVPRO trained professionals are trained to understand how smoke penetrates various cavities within the structure, causing hidden damage and odor. Our teams knowledge of building systems helps them investigate how far smoke damage may have spread. We know it can be stressful when you don't understand the issues facing your home, so take a moment to read up on the different kinds of smoke and soot that could potentially effect your property.

While there are technically only two different types of smoke - wet and dry, there are varying types of soot residue after a fire. Here's a handy glossary of smoke and soot types that might come in handy if you're ever faced with the misfortune of dealing with a property fire:

Wet smoke (plastic & rubber): Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. These smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry smoke (paper & wood): Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises and thus so does the smoke

Protein fire residue (caused by evaporation of material instead of fire): Virtually invisible discolors paints and varnishes, extremely pungent odor

Fuel oil soot (furnace puff backs): While "puff backs" can create havoc for homeowners, SERVPRO can, in most cases, restore your contents and your Baltimore structure quickly (thanks to their training)

Additionally, we do deal with tear gas, fingerprint powder, and fire extinguisher resides. These special situations require special care and evaluation.

Understanding and having the ability to differentiate between these different types of smoke and soot is part of SERVPRO's specific training which makes us a cut above any other Baltimore local restoration team. Trusting company to care about your home like you do can seem daunting and feel impossible, but when it comes to SERVPRO, trust that you're always in good hands. We make it, "Like it never even happened."

Safety Tips for Dryers

12/19/2018 (Permalink)

WASHINGTON — A rash of dryer fires in Prince George’s County, Maryland has sparked a warning from fire department officials in Maryland and Virginia. Fire departments are offering tips to residents for keeping their dryers working properly and safely.

In Prince George’s County in just the last 11 days, firefighters have responded to 20 residential and commercial dryer fires, fire officials say.

Keeping your dryer lint-free is a crucial step when it comes to preventing a fire. Lt. Mike Buffum, with the Prince George’s County Fire Department, said his department typically sees an increase in dryer fires in the winter.

 

“A lot of times that’s contributed to people not cleaning out the lint or the vents for the outside (are) blocked and that heat is building up,” he said. That’s when lint and build up can ignite.

Meanwhile, in Fairfax County, Virginia, Battalion Chief Will Bailey says so far this year, fire officials have responded to six dryer fires.

“Numerous times we’ve found the cause of a dryer fire to be there was no lint filter in the dryer,” Bailey said.

You can prevent lint from building up by limiting how many items you place in the dryer at once. If your clothes are taking longer than normal to dry, clean the lint out of the vent pipe behind the dryer.

“One of the biggest safety tips we like to let folks know is turn the dryer off if you leave home or go to bed,” Bailey.

Buffum also suggested pulling your washer and dryer away from the wall and giving the area a good clean. Checking the exhaust vent outside and making sure the pipe connected to your dryer is cleaned out are also crucial steps to preventing a fire.

Story by: WTOP

Thanksgiving Cooking Tips

11/19/2018 (Permalink)

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
  • Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
  • Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
  • Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

Tips provided by NFPA.org

Cooking With Caution

11/12/2018 (Permalink)

“Cooking with Caution”

  • Be on Alert. Do not cook if you are sleepy or have consumed any alcohol. This can potentially create dangerous situations. Do not use the stovetop or stove if you are under the influence.
  • Be sure to stay in the kitchen while frying, boiling, grilling or broiling food. Always turn off the stove if you have to leave the kitchen, no matter how quick you may be.
  • If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in your home while it is cooking, or use a timer so you do not forget about it.
  • Be sure your kitchen is free of clutter and no loose items are near the stove. This reduces the chance of anything catching on fire.

If you have a small grease/ cooking fire and decide to fight the fire…

  • On the stovetop, smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Leave the pan to covered until it is completely cool.
  • If the fire is inside the oven, shut the oven off and keep the door closed.

If you have any doubt about fighting a small fire…

  • Just leave the house! When leaving be sure to close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
  • Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number from outside the house.

Content & photo by: https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Campaigns/Fire-Prevention-Week/Safety-Tip-Sheets

Do's and Do Not's of Fire Emergencies

10/30/2018 (Permalink)

After a fire coming back to the house or building were it happened can be a very emotional experience. Here are some tips of what to do and what not to do in in your house after a fire.

What To Do After a Fire:

  • Keep hands clean so as to not furth soil an upholstery, walls or woodwork.
  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas
  • If electricity is off, empty the freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open
  • Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves.
  • Change the HVAC filter.

What NOT To Do After a Fire:

  • Do not attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
  • Don’t attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting your local SERVPRO.
  • Do not use canned or packaged foods or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water.
  • Do not turn on ceiling fixtures is the ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
  • Do not send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.

Content by: SERVPRO Corporate

Fire Damage Awareness

10/27/2018 (Permalink)

Fire can cause more damage than meets the eye. Of course, fire itself causes much of the damage to a home or business. Did you know that smoke can cause just as much damage too? Smoke and soot can permeate through walls, ceilings, upholstery, and air conditioning vents. Many of these spots are very hard to clean when not properly educated on the issues associated to fire damage.

Not only is there visible damage to the structure, but also damage that can be unnoticed. Structural damage can occur to support beams, weight bearing walls, and studs etc. and these are places that you would not check unless you know how to properly restore a structure after this type of loss.

SERVPRO uses our advanced cleanup methods and detection tools to check from closet to closet, room to room, and floor to ceiling, to detect all fire and post-fire damages. We know where to check to make sure your HVAC system will not spread smoke and toxins after a fire. We will make sure that your insulation is intact and that the structure of your home is safe. If we detect any need for replacement and restoration, we provide a range of services, including building services, that can take care of any fire and water damage and debris.

Because secondary fire damage, such as water use from firefighting efforts can also be an issue, our specialists pay much attention to a full, detailed analysis of your home’s damage before making a plan of action and beginning cleanup and restoration.
 
Contamination is not always seen by the untrained eye. It can be hidden in places such as your HVAC (air conditioning and heating) systems. SERVPRO inspects the home from attic to basement, to ensure that all vents and air circulating systems are completely clean. If you were to neglect this part of fire damage cleanup, there is always the possibility of blowing toxic dust, ash, and soot, even on the microscopic level, into your cleaned home, effectively re-contaminating it and exposing residents to its dangers.

Our 24/7 Emergency Service line is at your disposal. Contact SERVPRO of Overbrook/Wynnefield anytime at (215) 877-6653 for quick response to your fire emergency, or to ask questions.

Overbrook/Wynnefield Smoke and Soot Cleanup

10/24/2018 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot is 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 from 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 of Overbrook/Wynnefield will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during 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 temperatures, 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.

Fire Damage Needs a Meticulous Clean

10/19/2016 (Permalink)

The dangers of fire damage can last much longer than the initial fire blaze. Two of the most toxic types of damage are the fire itself and the resulting smoke damage. Smoke and soot can damage a home by permeating through the walls, upholstery, ceiling, insulation, air conditioning vents, and other hard to clean places.
 
This is why it is important to understand that fire damage in Overbrook/Wynnefield homes can present itself in many ways. Depending on the type of fire that attacks your home, not only are the apparent soot, ash, and fire damage unsightly, but possible structure damage and future contamination are possible.
 
Never Have Your Fire Damage Overlooked Again
For example, depending on where a fire burns in a structure, it can affect support beams, load-bearing walls, and it can wreak havoc on wiring and insulation. Even if your fire emergency seemed localized to a particular area in the house, remember, the attic must be checked for damage as well.
 
SERVPRO uses our advanced cleanup methods and detection tools to check from closet to closet, room to room, and floor to ceiling, to detect all fire and post-fire damages. We know where to check to make sure your HVAC system will not spread smoke and toxins after a fire. We will make sure that your insulation is intact and that the structure of your home is safe. If we detect any need for replacement and restoration, we provide a range of services, including building services, that can take care of any fire and water damage and debris.
 
Because secondary fire damage, such as water use from firefighting efforts can also be an issue, our specialists pay much attention to a full, detailed analysis of your home’s damage before making a plan of action and beginning cleanup and restoration.
 
Contamination is not always seen by the untrained eye. It can be hidden in places such as your HVAC (air conditioning and heating) systems. SERVPRO inspects the home from attic to basement, to ensure that all vents and air circulating systems are completely clean. If you were to neglect this part of fire damage cleanup, there is always the possibility of blowing toxic dust, ash, and soot, even on the microscopic level, into your cleaned home, effectively re-contaminating it and exposing residents to its dangers.

Our 24/7 Emergency Service line is at your disposal. Contact SERVPRO of Overbrook/Wynnefield anytime at (215) 877-6653 for quick response to your fire emergency, or to ask questions.