Recent Fire Damage Posts

A SERVPRO Announcement: Play it safe this Fireworks Season!

6/18/2019 (Permalink)

With the 4th of July just around the corner, we are seeing the pop-up fireworks shops all over.  They have every type of firework you can imagine ranging from a smaller scale popper to a full-blown sky display for your viewing pleasure.  As beautiful as the sky may look lit up with all the colors of these fireworks, it is important that we are making sure we are taking the necessary precautions to keep our loved ones, neighbors, and surrounding homes safe on this holiday. 

Fireworks cause nearly 20,000 home fires each year! (NFPA.org)

This why it is safest to leave the firework shows to the professionals, but if you must put on your own show it is important to follow these recommended safety tips provided by Fireworksafety.org to ensure you are keeping yourself and your surroundings as safe as possible.

Recommended Safety Tips:

  • Obey all laws regarding the use of fireworks
  • Know your fireworks: read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting
  • A responsible adult should always be present to supervise all firework activities. NEVER allow fireworks to get into the hands of children
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.
  • Wear safety glasses when shooting off your fireworks
  • light one firework at a time, and move away quickly
  • Use fireworks outside in a clear area, away from all buildings and vehicles
  • Never relight a "dud" firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water
  • Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them into metal or glass containers
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks
  • Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trashcan away from any building or combustible materials until the next day
  • FAA regulations PROHIBIT the possession and transportation of fireworks in your checked baggage or carry-on luggage
  • Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department

Don't let a firework mishap ruin your Independence Day, be safe when handling any and all fireworks!

Residential Fires are the Second Most Common Fire

12/21/2018 (Permalink)

With the recent strong storms, you may have seen stories on the local news about homes catching on fire from lightning strikes. While that is possible, lightning accounts for a very small percentage of house fires. Lightning is still dangerous and you should definitely take cover if it is near, there are other areas and parts of your home that you should keep an eye on as common culprits of Indiana house fires.

In the article below we will go over statistics on house fires as reported in the U.S. Fire Administration's National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) by the fire departments throughout the country. The stats come from the residential fire incident reports from 2013-2015.

Residential Fires are the Second Most Common Fire

Residential fires, which include single-family homes, apartments, and condos, account for 30% of all fires reported. Businesses account for 8% and vehicles account for 15%, while outside fires (forest fires, grass fires, etc.) accounted for 41% of all fires. While home fires accounted for only 30% of all fires, they resulted in the most injuries, deaths, and dollar loss from property damage.

The Leading Cause of House Fires

Have you ever left something on the stove for too long that resulted in a small confined fire? Apparently, many of us have by the stats from the U.S. Fire Administration’s report. Cooking fires accounted for an astounding 50% of all house fires that occurred between 2013-2015. Cooking fires originated in ovens, on stovetops, and in microwaves. Most of these fires were contained to the food container (skillet, pot, cooking sheet) and were extinguished before the fire had time to spread.

The second leading cause of house fires is from heating equipment. Heating equipment includes space heaters, furnaces, fireplaces, wood stoves, and radiators. These fires account for close to 12% of all house fires. These fires, like cooking fires, can be easily prevented by not leaving a fire in a fireplace or wood stove unattended and keeping flammable objects at least three feet away from heat sources. If you use space heaters, be sure to turn them off before leaving the room or going to sleep.

Other leading causes of house fires include appliance fires, candles, smoking, and electrical malfunctions. All of these together only account for 16% of all fires. Fires from smoking and candles are usually due to carelessness while appliance and electrical fires are due to damaged equipment or overloaded circuits. With appliances and electronics, it’s always good to check the cords for damage or frays. Also, never overload a wall outlet with an excessive amount of appliances and equipment.

The Spread of Fires in Homes

Fortunately, most fires in homes are discovered quickly and extinguished before they spread. Around 55% of all fires are contained to the object that the fire originated at. This could be a pot or an appliance or a piece of fabric like a table cover or chair. While the fire damage is usually limited to the object, the smoke damage can still be substantial. Fires that take over a whole room account for 20% of all fires while fires that take over a whole home account for 17% of all fires. These fires are the most devastating to property and to the health of the occupants.

Be Safe in Your Home with Working Smoke Alarms

One of the keys to catching a fire early and extinguishing it before it has caused extensive damage is to have properly working smoke alarms located throughout your home. According to the report, smoke alarms were only present in 43% of nonconfined house fires. Nonconfined fires are fires that spread from their original confined source i.e. cooking pot. While smoke alarms will not prevent a fire, they serve as an early warning device to alert the occupants that a fire is occurring. A smoke alarm gives them time to either extinguish the confined fire or evacuate and call the fire department if the fire is nonconfined.

It a Fire Should Occur at Your Indiana Home, Call the Fire Restoration Professionals

Even a small little kitchen fire can cause a lot of smoke damage. Whether you have experienced a small fire or an extensive fire, the fire restoration experts at SERVPRO can help clean up, repair and get your home back to normal as quickly as possible. They have the tools, equipment, and know-how to handle smoke damage, water damage, mold damage and fire damage -- all of which can occur from a house fire. Whether a fire happens during the day or in the middle of the night, you can call SERVPRO 24/7 to handle your home’s emergency.

Common Damages to Homes After a Fire

12/21/2018 (Permalink)

It’s usually not the actual fire that does the most damage to a home from a house fire. What causes the most damage to homes that suffered a fire is the smoke from the fire and the water from the firefighters. Below we will cover common damages that occur in a home after a fire.

Where You’ll Find Most Damage from a Fire

Obviously, you’ll find the most damage to a home at the source of the fire. In the case of a stovetop fire, this would be around the range hood, back wall, and ceiling above. In the case of a space heater igniting a curtain, the damage would be around the curtain and on the ceiling above the curtain.

While there will be flame damage right near the source, the majority of the damage will be from the smoke of the fire. If you’ve ever blown out a candle or roasted marshmallows over an open fire, you’ll know that smoke rises. When a fire occurs in your home, the smoke will also rise up and to the ceiling. If the fire is near a wall you might see discoloration up the wall with most of the discoloration right above the source of the fire on the ceiling.

As the fire continues to create more smoke, the smoke will spread across the ceiling and look for a place to escape and go higher. This could be up a stairwell or through ceiling vents. If the smoke has no place to go any higher, it will start to build up and start to come down closer to the floor like a fog. With smoke having the tendency to go up, this is why they say to get nearest to the ground when escaping a fire since there is usually less smoke.

The last area where you’ll most of the smoke damage from a fire is around windows and doors. As the smoke builds up in a house, it looks for the easiest place to escape outside. While this could be a chimney, smoke will also slip out through any cracks or drafts in windows and doors. In homes that suffer a lot of damage, you’ll usually find heavy discolorations around drafty doors and windows.

The Two Variables That Can Spread the Smoke Even Further

While we’ve discussed the typical behavior of smoke from a fire and where you’ll typically find the most damage, there are two variables that can change the behavior of the smoke and help carry it and the damage it causes even further throughout your home. The two things that can help spread the smoke even further are your ceiling fans and your central HVAC system. If your ceiling fans are on or your HVAC blower is on, then the smoke can be blown and carried throughout the house.

If your HVAC system is running then the smoke will most likely enter through the return vents and be spread throughout the duct system. This will not only carry the smoke and the smoke damage throughout the house, it will also cause smoke damage to your ducts. Your ducts might have dust throughout the system which can absorb the smoke meaning every time your air conditioner or heater turns on, you’ll smell the residual smoke for weeks and months after the fire. To remove the smoke from your ducts and HVAC system, you’ll need to have them professionally cleaned.

Battling Discoloration and Odor from Smoke

As you’ve read above, the most damaging part of a fire is usually the smoke. Smoke can discolor any surfaces it comes into contact with. This can include ceilings, walls, and floors but also furniture, clothes, toys, and other household objects. The smoke can seep through every little tiny crack and space discoloring everything in its path.

The second thing that smoke can do to many surfaces of your home is leave an odor. While surfaces that are smooth and not porous can be cleaned easily, the smoke odor can easily embed into porous surfaces like fabric furniture, clothes, curtains, carpets, sheets, electronics and non-sealed wood.

How to Clean Up Fire and Smoke Damage

Cleaning up after a fire, even a small one, isn’t as easy as cleaning up a spilled glass of liquid off the floor. Due to the chemical properties of fire and smoke, removing the discoloration can be difficult if not impossible in some situations. Removing the smoke odor can be even more difficult especially when dealing with electronics, fabric furniture, carpeting, and clothes.

The best step to take if you should regrettably experience a fire in your Indianapolis-area home is to call the fire damage repair and restoration experts at SERVPRO have the knowledge and equipment to remove all the fire and smoke damage and restore your home to how it was prior to the fire. They are a trusted leader in the restoration industry that business owners and homeowners have turned to for years restore and repair their property.

Keeping Your Valuables "Safe"

12/11/2018 (Permalink)

First Step: Fireproof Safety Box

We know how important it is to keep your belongings safe. The first step in keeping your valuables and important documents safe is purchasing a fireproof safety box. This box will make sure your items stay secure in case of a fire.

Items you might store in your safety box include:   

  • Birth certificate
  • Social Security cards
  • Property titles
  • Spare keys
  • Digital hard drives containing family photos
  • Jewelry  

What SERVPRO Can Do

If your home does suffer from a fire, SERVPRO can help make it “Like it never even happened.” SERVPRO of Branch and South Calhoun specializes in restoring contents damaged by fire. Our expertise and “restore” versus “replace” mentality can help you save money while preserving precious keepsakes that can’t be replaced. 

Don't Forget About Fire!

12/11/2018 (Permalink)

Fall and winter weather, coupled with seasonal holiday heating, cooking and decorations, typically brings about an increase in residential fire frequency.  SERVPRO of Branch and South Calhoun County fire damage restoration experts realize that people have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it's too late to get out.  In a matter of moments, a small flame can become a major fire, making it critical to be prepared with an escape plan in place.  Once a plan is developed, it is critical everyone in the home understands the plan; the best way to do this is by practicing the escape plan at least twice a year.

Working smoke detectors along with building and practicing a home escape plan increase your chance of surviving a fire.  The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) promotes steps to help you develop an emergency escape plan.  Simply having a plan for your home or business is not enough.  Your family and employees must be fully aware of the plan and practice it on a regular basis.

Not ALL Smoke Damage Comes Out With Soap!

12/6/2018 (Permalink)

When it comes to cleaning smoked-damaged contents after a residential or commercial fire, the variety of contents in a typical job requires restorers to utilize a variety of cleaning methods. Here is a quick description of each method of content cleaning:    

Dry Cleaning - Removes light to medium nongrease-based soils.  

Wet Cleaning - Removes moderate to heavy residues. The process involves cleaning using water, with or without a cleaning agent.   

 Spray and Wipe - Apply a cleaning product using a spray bottle. After spraying, wipe the surface with a clean white towel. This method is effective for materials possibly damaged if saturated with cleaning product.  

Foam Cleaning - Effective for light residues or delicate materials. Clean with the foam of a cleaning agent rather than the liquid    

Abrasive Cleaning - Agitates the surface being cleaned. Apply a cleaning product containing abrasive ingredients   

Immersion Cleaning - Dipping contents items into a bath of cleaning product. This bath is an ultrasonic tank filled with water and cleaning solution. High-frequency sound waves then create high temperatures and microscopic jet streams of fluid to agitate and scrub contents. SERVPRO recommends that you

DO NOT attempt to clean smoke-damaged surfaces or contents yourself.

 Call the professionals! SERVPRO of North Calhoun (269)-963-3033

Preventing Fires

12/6/2018 (Permalink)

October is Fire Prevention Month, and it is a perfect time to examine emergency preparedness plans for your home and business.  The 2016 theme for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is "Don't Wait - Check the Date!  Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years." 

According to the NFPA in 2014 fires caused 2,745 deaths, 11,825 injuries and $6.8 billion in property damage.  Roughly half of home fire deaths occur in fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.  Smoke alarms save lives!  In fact, having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire, in half!  When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected or dead.  Check your smoke alarms today to ensure your safety!

Keeping Your Valuables Safe From Fire

12/11/2017 (Permalink)

First Step: Fireproof Safety Box

We know how important it is to keep your belongings safe. The first step in keeping your valuables and important documents safe is purchasing a fireproof safety box. This box will make sure your items stay secure in case of a fire.

Items you might store in your safety box include:   

  • Birth certificate
  • Social Security cards
  • Property titles
  • Spare keys
  • Digital hard drives containing family photos
  • Jewelry  

What SERVPRO Can Do

If your home does suffer from a fire, SERVPRO can help make it “Like it never even happened.” SERVPRO of Branch and South Calhoun specializes in restoring contents damaged by fire. Our expertise and “restore” versus “replace” mentality can help you save money while preserving precious keepsakes that can’t be replaced. 

Focus on Fire

12/11/2017 (Permalink)

Fall and winter weather, coupled with seasonal holiday heating, cooking and decorations, typically brings about an increase in residential fire frequency.  SERVPRO of Branch and South Calhoun County fire damage restoration experts realize that people have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it's too late to get out.  In a matter of moments, a small flame can become a major fire, making it critical to be prepared with an escape plan in place.  Once a plan is developed, it is critical everyone in the home understands the plan; the best way to do this is by practicing the escape plan at least twice a year.

Working smoke detectors along with building and practicing a home escape plan increase your chance of surviving a fire.  The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) promotes steps to help you develop an emergency escape plan.  Simply having a plan for your home or business is not enough.  Your family and employees must be fully aware of the plan and practice it on a regular basis.

Deodorization

11/29/2017 (Permalink)

Interesting fact about SERVPRO of Branch and South Calhoun, we can deodorize your home and business of the toxins that come from substances such as cigarette smoke!

Tobacco smoke is composed of numerous types of gasses as well as carcinogens and heavy metals, like arsenic, lead, and cyanide. Sticky, highly toxic particulates, like nicotine, can cling to walls and ceilings. Gases can be absorbed into carpets, draperies, and other upholsteries.

Many times hotels or realtors will call on us to come in and clean rooms that have been inhabited by heavy smokers. Your basic cleaning service is not going to have the expertise to effectively deodorize your home.

Take advantage of SERVPRO’s residential cleaning services to remove unwanted odors (including animal smells such as skunk and wet dog). Call us today 517 278 5261

Not All Smoke Damage Can Be Cleaned With Soap!

11/29/2017 (Permalink)

When it comes to cleaning smoked-damaged contents after a residential or commercial fire, the variety of contents in a typical job requires restorers to utilize a variety of cleaning methods.

Here is a quick description of each method of content cleaning:  

Dry Cleaning - Removes light to medium nongrease-based soils.    

Wet Cleaning - Removes moderate to heavy residues. The process involves cleaning using water, with or without a cleaning agent.

    Spray and Wipe - Apply a cleaning product using a spray bottle. After spraying, wipe the surface with a clean white towel. This method is effective for materials possibly damaged if saturated with cleaning product.   

  Foam Cleaning - Effective for light residues or delicate materials. Clean with the foam of a cleaning agent rather than the liquid   

 Abrasive Cleaning - Agitates the surface being cleaned. Apply a cleaning product containing abrasive ingredients    

Immersion Cleaning - Dipping contents items into a bath of cleaning product. This bath is an ultrasonic tank filled with water and cleaning solution. High-frequency sound waves then create high temperatures and microscopic jet streams of fluid to agitate and scrub contents.

SERVPRO recommends that you DO NOT attempt to clean smoke-damaged surfaces or contents yourself, and call the professionals!

Fire Prevention Month

11/29/2017 (Permalink)

October is Fire Prevention Month, and it is a perfect time to examine emergency preparedness plans for your home and business.  The 2016 theme for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is "Don't Wait - Check the Date!  Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years."  According to the NFPA in 2014 fires caused 2,745 deaths, 11,825 injuries and $6.8 billion in property damage.  Roughly half of home fire deaths occur in fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.  Smoke alarms save lives!  In fact, having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire, in half!  When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected or dead.  Check your smoke alarms today to ensure your safety!

Smoke and Soot Cleanup

9/22/2017 (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 Branch & South Calhoun 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.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – (800) 630-7119