Archived Fire Damage Blog Posts
Oregon Fire Disaster
Our SERVPRO of South Eugene/Florence, Extreme Response Team was called in to help with this large loss, due to smoke damage. An exhaust fan in a basement bathroom resulted in heavy smoke damage throughout the 1910 church building. Our SERVPRO of South Eugene/Florence, Extreme Response Team was brought in immediately to perform extensive cleaning, content manipulation and reconstruction and was able to meet a deadline so that they were able to open the church school in a timely manner.
Our SERVPRO of South Eugene/Florence, Extreme Response Team is ready to help anywhere in the United States at any given moment. Our team helps with any type of commercial, storm, fire, or water loss. Our trailers are loaded and ready to head out to help your business resume normal operating procedures ASAP.
According to FEMA, failure to clean home clothes dryers causes 34% of home dryer fires. Home dryer fires cause $35 million in property loss and can even cause injury or death.
To reduce the risk of dryer vent fires happening in your home, SERVPRO of South Eugene/Florence can help clean dryer vents and ducts that may have lint buildup.
Other tips for keeping your dryer vents clean from the National Fire Protection Agency include cleaning the lint filter before and after each load and making sure the outdoor vent flap will open and is not restricted by snow, a bird’s nest, or other potential obstacles.
For more information on cleaning dryer vents, contact SERVPRO of South Eugene/Florence Professionals at 541-345-0115.
Acid Smoke after Fire
SERVPRO of S. Eugene/Florence can help even in the toughest circumstances. By calling SERVPRO of S. Eugene/Florence, 541-345-0115, we will begin the process of restoring your property back to its preloss state.
The acidic ash residue left behind by fire and smoke will get even worse if it is not removed within a couple of days. The only way to do so is with a thorough cleaning. You should not try this on your own. Our professionals have access to special equipment and cleaning products to make the job much easier. SERVPRO of S. Eugene/Florence is ready to respond 24/7/365. During cleanup, the technicians will treat walls, ceilings and anything else that has been affected by ash. If smoke odors are present, and they usually are, they will also require removal to make it possible for you to inhabit your building once again. Smoke odors though, are extremely hard to removed and can't be done with standard equipment. SERVPRO of S. Eugene/Florence has specialized odor removal equipment on hand to counter noxious smoke odors. They can reach into all parts of the home, including inside floors and walls.
Do not delay in calling SERVPRO of S. Eugene/Florence to begin immediate restoration services.
Portable Fire Extinguishers
Portable fire extinguishers can be life and property saving tools when used correctly. Read the instructions on the fire extinguisher and become familiar with them before a fire breaks out.
In order to operate an extinguisher, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests remembering the word PASS:
Pull the pin. Hold the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.
Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
It is always a good idea to show EVERYONE in your household how to use a fire extinguisher in case of fire. You never know when or where the fire will start and having more than one person know how to use an extinguisher could save you from excessive damage to your home or save a life.
Kitchen Safety to Prevent Fire
According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. It’s important to be alert to prevent cooking fires.
Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.
Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food.
If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
Keep anything that can catch fire—oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels, or curtains—away from the stovetop.
If you have a cooking fire, consider the following safety protocols to help keep you and your family safe.
Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
Can't I Do This Myself?
Once your home has been damaged by fire, your top priority is getting your property cleaned and repaired. In many cases, this desire leads people to pursue DIY cleanup projects. If this were your planned method, you should reconsider this course of action. If the fire damage is of any consequence, many concerns need to be addressed. Can you do all of this yourself?
1. Water Removal: Standing water left behind the fire extinguishing efforts of the local fire department have several important ramifications. The resulting water damage can be furniture, electronics, clothing, drywall, ceilings, flooring, and more. Water removal must be done quickly. SERVPRO of South Eugene/Florence utilizes water pumps, wet-vacs, high-velocity fans and dehumidifiers to extract the water and moisture quickly thereby mitigating the damage. Fire damage unfortunately, has collateral damage.
2. Smoke Damage: The smoke damage that results from a fire can be quite substantive. In fact, the smoke left behind can become embedded in your furniture, flooring, carpets, and walls. If left unaddressed, this smoke damage can remain in your property for years. Soot, another by-product of specific fires, needs special attention for proper clean up to avoid staining of walls and furniture. Effectively removing smoke necessitates the use of professional procedures and products that fire restoration specialists from SERVPRO of South Eugene/Florence has in its arsenal.
3. Salvageable Goods: In many cases, homeowners who seek to complete the remediation process on their own will throw away items that are salvageable. Don't make this mistake. Instead, allow SERVPRO of South Eugene/Florence to assist you with this aspect of the restoration process. We will assess, inspect and issue you a Contents Claim Inventory Service form--CCIS. This inventories affected household items and classifies them into non-salvageable, salvageable or questionable lists. Items can be containerized and cleaned at our facility by our trained professionals.
4. Time Efficiency: If you attempt to complete the fire restoration process without professional assistance, the project will take a lot of time and probably lack positive results. However, hiring SERVPRO of South Eugene/Florence to put your home back in a healthy condition after fire damage enables you to feel confident of the restoration. Consider the effort, equipment, and training involved in successfully restoring your home to its pre-fire condition.
What to do until SERVPRO arrives
A fire can leave behind soot, smoke damage and a host of other problems. Ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting, and floors will often need a thorough professional cleaning. If your home or business suffers a fire, it is important to take the appropriate steps to prevent further damage until your SERVPRO of South Eugene/Florence professionals arrive. The following tips may help reduce damage and increase chances of a successful restoration.
Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet.
Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
If electricity is off, empty freezer/refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor.
Wipe soot from chrome kitchen/bathroom faucets, trim and appliances, then protect these surfaces with a light coating of lubricant.
If heat is off during winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures.
Change HVAC filters; leave system off until a trained professional can check the system.
Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.
Don’t attempt to wash any walls or painted
surfaces without first contacting your SERVPRO of South Eugene/Florence Professional.
Don’t attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting your SERVPRO of South Eugene/Florence Professional.
Do not attempt to clean any electrical appliances (TV sets, radios, etc.) that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.
Do not consume any food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water, as they may be contaminated.
If ceiling is wet, do not turn on ceiling fans. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock, and air movement may create secondary damage.
Don’t send garments to the dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set in smoke odor.
Always a Good Time to Check your Batteries
Fire Prevention Month is coming up in October, but it's ALWAYS a good time to examine emergency preparedness plans for your home and business, including your fire escape plan.
Do you have a fire escape plan? Have you changed your smoke alarm batteries within the last year?
The NFPA recommends installing smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of your home, including the basement. Did you know that roughly half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when most people are asleep? Smoke alarms save lives. In fact, having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half!
Stay safe and prepare now to ensure you are ready for any disaster.
Summer Fire Safety
CELEBRATE SUMMER SAFETY
Summer is a time to enjoy the great outdoors, but it is also important to keep safety in mind. Consider the following tips, provided by the National Fire Protection Association, to keep you and your family safe all summer long.
When using a charcoal grill, only use starter fluids designed for barbecue grills; do not add fluid after coals have been lit.
When using a gas grill, ensure the hose connection is tight; check hoses for leaks. Applying soapy water to the hoses will easily and safely reveal any leaks.
When camping, always use a flame-retardant tent and set up camp far away from the campfire.
Always build a campfire downwind from the tent area. Clear vegetation and dig a pit before building your fire. Extinguish the fire before going to sleep or leaving the campsite.
Store liquid fire starter (not gasoline) away from your tent and campfire and only use dry kindling to freshen a campfire.
SERVPRO of South Eugene/Florence wishes you a safe and happy summer!
Why it's Important to Have a Fire Evacuation Plan
We hear a lot about smoke detectors. They are VERY important in a home safety plan. But do not forget the full Fire Evacuation Plan.
Recently, a house in my hometown caught fire. The fire was intense and the fire department was unable to save the house. The fire happened in the middle of the night, with working smoke alarms, but unfortunately not everyone in the house made it out unharmed.
This brings me to the main reason for this topic. As my wife and I discussed the recent fire and how the smoke detectors save people’s lives, we both realized that a FULL PLAN of escape is necessary. My children grew up with a baseball bat at their bedroom window. I told them in an emergency do not hesitate to break out that window and escape. So, when was the last time you and your family practiced an evacuation drill? Maybe, it has been awhile. Please do not put this off any longer. The main point is, it’s easy to forget about your overall evacuation plan. Please, take a few minutes and go over a Complete Fire Evacuation Plan with your family.
- A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.
- Everyone in the household must understand the escape plan. When you walk through your plan, check to make sure the escape routes are clear and doors and windows can be opened easily.
- Choose an outside meeting place (i.e. neighbor's house, a light post, mailbox, or stop sign) a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they've escaped. Make sure to mark the location of the meeting place on your escape plan.
- Go outside to see if your street number is clearly visible from the road. If not, paint it on the curb or install house numbers to ensure that responding emergency personnel can find your home.
- Have everyone memorize the emergency phone number of the fire department. That way any member of the household can call from a neighbor's home or a cellular phone once safely outside.
- If there are infants, older adults, or family members with mobility limitations, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them in the fire drill and in the event of an emergency. Assign a backup person too, in case the designee is not home during the emergency.
- If windows or doors in your home have security bars, make sure that the bars have emergency release devices inside so that they can be opened immediately in an emergency. Emergency release devices won't compromise your security - but they will increase your chances of safely escaping a home fire.
- Tell guests or visitors to your home about your family's fire escape plan.
- Be fully prepared for a real fire: when a smoke alarm sounds, get out immediately.
- Once you're out, stay out! Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning building. If someone is missing, inform the fire department dispatcher when you call. Firefighters have the skills and equipment to perform rescues.
A Great Time to Check Your Smoke Alarms
Sunday, March 12 marks the beginning of daylight saving time and serves as a good reminder for Oregonians to test their smoke alarms. The Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal is urging residents to test their smoke alarms before automatically changing the batteries.
"Smoke alarm technology has advanced and many now come with 10-year batteries and some are tamper-resistant," said State Fire Marsha...l Jim Walker. "So, I encourage residents to test their alarms before changing the battery."
Oregon law requires ionization-only smoke alarms that are solely battery powered to come equipped with a hush feature and a 10-year battery. Because of this technology, the national slogan "Change your clock, Change your battery" may not apply to Oregon residents who have these ionization-only smoke alarms.
Other types of alarms are also being sold with either a 10-year battery or a standard-life battery.
"Ensuring you have working smoke alarms in your home is the single most important step you can take to increase your family's safety from a home fire," adds Walker. "Also, be sure to replace any smoke alarm that is 10 years old or older."
To test your alarm properly we recommend you:
1)Push the test button to be sure the battery is working.
2)When replacing batteries, follow the manufacturer's instructions for the correct battery type to use.
3)Always retest alarms after installing new batteries.
4)Replace any alarm that fails to operate after installing a new battery.
5)Inspect your alarms to determine if they are 10 years old or older, and replace any smoke alarm
10 years old or older. Look for a date on the back of the alarm. If there is no date, your alarm is more than 10 years old and should be replaced.
6)Follow the manufacturer's instructions for regularly cleaning your alarms of dust and cobwebs.
Working smoke alarms provide a critical early warning to a fire, allowing you vital minutes to escape, which increase your chances of survival. Additional safety tips:
* Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, in each bedroom, and outside each sleeping area (hallway).
* Never disconnect or remove batteries from smoke alarms for other uses.
* Use the smoke alarm's hush feature to silence nuisance alarms.
* Make a home fire escape plan and practice it with family members.
* Practice you home fire escape plan at least two times a year at different times of the day/night.
* Children, older adults, and people with disabilities may need assistance to wake up and get out. Ensure that someone will help them.
Recovering after a fire
Glide High School, Glide Oregon
Recovering from a fire can be a physically and mentally draining process. When fire strikes, lives are suddenly turned around. Often, the hardest part is knowing where to begin and who to contact. You will need a professional company to help you navigate through the process.
SERVPRO of Douglas County, SERVPRO of S. Eugene/Florence and SERVPRO of Springfield/E. Lane County are those professionals.
Our trained technicians will walk you through exactly what we can do for you. From securing your property, to the cleaning of the structure and your belongings. Inventory will take place on-site. Once the inventory is complete, we will pack your items and transport them back to our facility. These items will be cleaned, packed and stored at our warehouse until your home is repaired.
We will work with your insurance company daily. This keeps the process going with no surprises, and get you back in your home quickly.
A fire in your home or business can be devastating, but we will make it "Like it never even happened."
A fire in your home can cause serious damage. Many of the items in your home may have been badly damaged by flames, heat, smoke and water. You may see the items that did not burn, but are now ruined from the smoke and are soggy with water.
Cleanup will take time and patience.
Please use caution and understand the risk to your safety and health even after the fire is out. Be careful if you go into your home as it can, and will be, dangerous.
Do not eat, drink or breathe in anything that has been near the flames, smoke, soot or water used to put out the fire.
Contact your Insurance Company.
Contact SERVPRO of Douglas County, SERVPRO of S. Eugene/Florence or SERVPRO of Springfield/E. Lane County. We will start the process to get your home and life back to normal. We will have a technician meet with you and go over your options and help you make your next step i.e. Securing your home, estimating the damages, discussing restoring vs. replacing, inventory of your items, cleaning of your items, returning your items once repairs have been completed on your home.
Smoke & Soot Clean up
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 Douglas County, SERVPRO of S. Eugene/Florence and SERVPRO of Springfield/E. Lane County 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 – 541-459-3987 or 541-345-0115
Fire damage is often one of the most destructive forces that can take over a home. Many different things can cause a fire, from forgotten cooking appliances and heating devices, to faulty electronics and unexpected failures. Regardless of the cause, fire damage can affect many things and places in a home, even if the fire itself never reaches them. Below are some of the most common results of fire damage you may encounter outside of the burned area itself.
Soot and Ash on Objects
Ash may often travel across a home, coating things well away from the fire in a dirty, dark sheen. This may reach into crevices and crannies of an object, severely affecting things such as electronics or fabrics. Objects with smooth or solid exteriors can typically be wiped or washed off, and fabrics should be hand-washed before being put into a machine wash cycle. Although the technology involved is not complicated, large service teams such as those sent out by SERVPRO will typically expedite the cleaning process and mitigate fire and smoke damage. Electronics may often not be salvageable, although any data on them can usually be restored by data restoration specialists.
Smoke can remain as a strong odor for years after a fire, even if there are no visual signs of it. Smoke particles are incredibly small, and can embed themselves in the walls and ceilings of the house itself. A simple scrubbing job is most often not enough to fully remove smoke, and specialized equipment is necessary. Thermal foggers, ozone machines, and ULV foggers are both examples of smoke-removing or masking machinery that may be used in a fire restoration project.
Stuck Doors and Windows
Some doors and windows may frequently become stuck or resistant to movement after a fire. This is due to small amounts of ash and dust becoming embedded in hinges and tracks. This may take anything from a simple dusting to a removal of the door itself to fix, but shouldn't be particularly difficult. If an area or opening needs to be boarded up temporarily or permanently, SERVPRO Professionals can apply boarding materials and tarps as needed to prevent secondary fire damage to your structure.
Assessing Fire Damage
In many cases, homeowners are tempted to start the cleanup process for themselves after a fire has impacted their property. Don't make this mistake. Instead, you should first contact your insurance agent to determine the extent of your coverage for the damages. The insurance company will also need to perform an inspection to your property to attain a clear estimate for repairing damages. You will also need to get in contact with a professional fire damage restoration company. Both SERVPRO and the insurance adjuster will complete the fire damage assessment. The assessment is effective in determining the extent of the damages, whether it is safe for you to reenter the property, and which equipment and materials will be necessary to complete the restoration process. Here are some of the primary components of the assessment process:
Assessing Superficial Damage
Following a fire in your home, a restoration expert will check your property for superficial damage. During this process, the remediation professional will start with the exterior and look for things like missing shingles, damaged chimneys, melted objects, and fire-damaged items. Additionally, the specialist will check your roof, yard, and other exterior regions of the property. Throughout the assessment, it's a good idea for you to use a video recorder or camera to take pictures of these items, only if it can be done safely. This visual evidence will help you in the event that you have challenges with achieving appropriate insurance restitution.
Assessing Internal Damage
After analyzing the property for superficial damage, the fire damage restoration professional will inspect the interior of your house for damage. This inspection of adjoining rooms for smoke, soot, and water damage will aid in determining an action plan for restoration.
The Cleanup Process
Once the SERVPRO specialist has completed the fire damage assessment, the cleanup process can start with water removal (if need.) This process diminishes the growth of mold on your property. The primary purpose of this cleanup process is to prevent further damage from adversely impacting your home
If your home has been partially destroyed because of fire, it's important that you allow a fire damage restoration company like SERVPRO to restore your house to its pre-fire condition. We offer round-the-clock assistance by our highly trained technicians using the most cutting-edge equipment available.
Fire Damaged Property
Once your home is damaged by a fire, your top priority is getting your property cleaned and repaired. In many cases, this desire leads people to pursue DIY cleanup projects. If this were your planned method, you should reconsider this course of action. If the fire damage is of any consequence, many concerns need to be addressed. Can you do all of this yourself?
1. Water Removal: Standing water left behind the fire extinguishing efforts of the local fire department have several important ramifications. The resulting water damage can be furniture, electronics, clothing, drywall, ceilings, flooring, and more. Water removal must be done quickly. SERVPRO utilizes water pumps, wet-vacs, high-velocity fans and dehumidifiers to extract the water and moisture quickly thereby mitigating the damage. Fire damage unfortunately, has collateral damage.
2. Smoke Damage: The smoke damage that results from a fire can be quite substantive. In fact, the smoke left behind can become embedded in your furniture, flooring, carpets, and walls. If left unaddressed, this smoke damage can remain in your property for years. Soot, another by-product of specific fires, needs special attention for proper clean up to avoid staining of walls and furniture. Effectively removing smoke necessitates the use of professional procedures and products that fire restoration specialists from SERVPRO have in its arsenal.
3. Salvageable Goods: In many cases, homeowners who seek to complete the remediation process on their own will throw away items that are salvageable. Don't make this mistake. Instead, allow SERVPRO to assist you with this aspect of the restoration process. We will assess, inspect and issue you a Contents Claim Inventory Service form--CCIS. This inventories affected household items and classifies them into non-salvageable, salvageable or questionable lists. Items can be containerized and cleaned at our facility by our IICRC-trained technicians.
4. Time Efficiency: If you attempt to complete the fire restoration process without professional assistance, the project will take a lot of time and probably lack positive results. However, hiring SERVPRO to put your home back in a healthy condition after fire damage enables you to feel confident of the restoration. Consider the effort, equipment, and training involved in successfully restoring your home to its pre-fire condition.