Burning Down The House
Fire Damage Restoration
Burning Down the House
“Ah, watch out, you might get what you're after
Cool babies, strange, but not a stranger
I'm an ordinary guy
Burning down the house”
If you grew up around 1983 you no doubt recognize the above lyrics from The Talking Heads, Burning Down the House. The opening lines illustrate a normal, average joe, burning down a house. Ok, so it might not be literal, but in our line of business, we know it doesn’t take a small child, a master mind, or a forgetful Lucy to start a house fire. Anyone can become victim to a house fire, even an ordinary guy.
In the following blog, we will explain how and where fires begin in your home, how fire can damage beyond its flames, the three main areas to clean, our process, and why you would choose SERVPRO of Golden, Wheat Ridge, Evergreen.
How House Fires Happen
A house fire can start just about anywhere in your home, and from the smallest of sparks. However, there are the five most common places in your home that you can come to know and take special attention to.
First off, the kitchen. This is the number one place where house fires occur. Nearly half of all house fires start in the kitchen. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering most all of the cooking is done in the kitchen and most household appliances are located here. Among kitchen fires, grease fires are the most common, and that is due to neglect. Hot pans of grease are left unattended on the stove and become too hot. Once the oil is too hot, it will catch fire. If the cook is not there to see this happen, the fire builds and spreads. To help prevent kitchen fires take the following into consideration:
- Maintain all appliances, keeping them clean and in good condition.
- Unplug electrical appliances such as coffee makers and toasters when not in use.
- Install a working smoke detector in the kitchen and keep a fire extinguisher.
- Always use caution when lighting a piolet burner or gas stove.
- Never put metal in the microwave.
- Keep an eye on what you are cooking at all times.
- Do not over fill pots and pans with oil.
- Keep oven mitts, towels, and the like away from the stove.
Next up on the list is the bedroom. This is the location where electrical meets plush. The bedroom is full of plush items such as pillows, blankets, drapes, and a bed of course. A bed is especially prone to fire if it is not a new one. Any bed before 2007 is not likely up to fire code. The following are tips for preventing fires in the bedroom:
- Install a working smoke alarm in the bedroom and have a fire extinguisher near.
- Never smoke in bed.
- Replace mattresses prior to 2007.
- Keep lit candles away from bedding, drapes, papers, or anything flammable.
- Do not run electrical cords underneath the bed or trap them against a wall.(Heat can build in this way).
- Do not overload extension cords.
- Only use lab-approved electrical blankets.
The chimney is number three on our list. This one may seem like the obvious, but neglect to your chimney can result in a damaging house fire. Often, the fire place itself is serviced regularly because it is in sight. However, the chimney is forgotten. Whatever you are burning in the fireplace will travel up and stick to the inside of the chimney, whether it be ash from paper or sap from the wood. The coating on the chimney is flammable, especially if it is too thick. Clean out your chimney. It is recommended to clean out our chimney at least once a year or after 50 uses.
Fourth is the living room. This is another place for an electrical fire. The living room is often home to fire places, electronics, and like the bedroom, many plush items. Many of the same rules from the bedroom apply to the living room such as, installing a smoke detector, not running electrical cords underneath furniture, keeping lit candles away from flammable materials, etc.
Lastly, the laundry room. The main culprit here being lint in the dryer. Lint can get caught in the vents and filters of your dyer machine and the heat can cause the lint to flame. Additionally, the laundry room is often left unattended due to its passive work. Be sure to regularly clean out the filters and vents in the laundry room and avoid leaving the house if you have a load running.
The Black Stuff
Fire can completely destroy whatever is in its path. It can turn an entire dining table into ash, but that is only the beginning of a fires destruction. Soot and smoke can be very invasive and can penetrate various areas of your Golden, Wheat Ridge, or Evergreen home. Smoke travels up and to the coolest part of a room or home. It travels alongside piping, getting into the holes as it goes from room to room. It causes hidden damage to the naked eye and can leave a nasty odor. Even if the fire was contained in the microwave, the traveling smoke can affect your entire house, potentially leaving every room damaged.
There are 2 types of smoke that fire creates, wet smoke and dry smoke. Each one varies in odor and level of damage. It also great affects the restoration process. The two require different measures in order to restore the damaged area to like new again. Our SERVPRO team pretests the smoke to determine the type and course of action.
This type of smoke usually comes from a fire that was left unattended or unnoticed. It comes from a slow burning fire that is of lower heat and from its smoldering. An example of a wet smoke fire would be from an iron that was left on after you left the house. During a slow burn fire, fewer air currents are created. With less air currents, the smoke has more time to enter into cavities around the home. Often times these crevices are harder to reach and therefore, harder to remediate. The odor it leaves behind is very pungent. The smoke itself is sticky and smeary on surfaces.
This type of smoke comes from a very hot quick burning fire often wood or paper being the primary source. This type of smoke occurs when there are sufficient amounts of oxygen present, unlike a wet smoke situation where the fire was oxygen starved. Since this smoke is dry, it carries with it less deposits and aerosols, and is easier to clean. Additionally, the odor from a hot fire is less pungent and requires less aggressive cleaning methods.
While we cannot fix a dining table that has turned into ash, we can fix almost everything that the smoke it produced damaged. Even your remaining furniture can be restored. Restoring items after the damage of smoke is far less expensive than replacing it. Plus, it can help to save a family heirloom.
3 Areas in Fire Damage Restoration
The first step in the remediation of a fire is structural cleaning. After fire and smoke has made its mark on your home, ceilings, walls, flooring, and woodwork will need a thorough cleaning. After the pretest, our SERVPRO team of Golden, Wheat Ridge, and Evergreen will use the appropriate cleaning chemicals for the type of smoke and specific surface it is on. Often times, our specifically designed chemicals can completely remove the damaging smoke from the structure so that repainting or refinishing is not necessary, saving you money. If we cannot clean the surface completely, we will restore it to a “prepare for paint” condition. This process deodorizes and ensures that the new coat of paint will adhere properly.
Area rugs, furniture, draperies, upholstery, and all restorable personal items in the affected areas will be professionally cleaned and deodorized. Some items can be cleaned onsite, but many are packed up and cleaned in-house. The type of cleaning will be determined upon a pretest and an inventory list of all items will be made so our franchise and the home owner can keep track of them.
After the structures and contents of the home have been cleaned, the home itself will also be deodorized. We do not merely mask the smells, we seek the source and eliminate it. SERVPRO teaches IICRC technical classes in the proper removal of odors, and our specialized equipment cannot be beat.
The 7 Step Process
Each fire situation is unique and will require its own specific steps in restoration. However, we follow a 7-step process for a typical fire damage emergency. Here it is below so you may better understand what will take place.
Step1: Emergency Contact
Step 2: Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment
Step 3: Immediate Board-Up and Roof Tarp Service (if needed)
Step 4: Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present)
Step 5: Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces
Step 6: Cleaning and Repair
Step 7: Restoration
Why Choose SERVPRO of Golden, Wheat Ridge, Evergreen For Fire Damage Restoration
SERVPRO is an industry leader in fire restoration. We use advanced equipment and techniques to remediate the damage quickly and efficiently. We are a locally owned and operated family business, so customer care is our number one goal. We live where we serve! Heck, we might even be your neighbor.
We provide extensive training to our employees and are highly specialized in fire damage restoration putting great emphasis on monitoring and documenting the entire process until completion.
We are a preferred vendor to many national and local insurance companies making the claims process easy and painless for the homeowner.
Please give us a call for any of your home restoration needs! (303) 279-8055
Or visit our website at https://www.SERVPROgoldenwheatridgeevergreen.com
Wildfire ready...a Public Safety Reminder
With warmer weather, the threat of wildfire danger in the front range will be greater. We at SERVPRO of Golden/Wheat Ridge/Evergreen urge everyone in our community to be cautious and aware of their surroundings. Practicing basic fire safety is a must for everyone, from proper disposal of fire place ash and being aware of local fire restrictions to not tossing cigarette butts out of car windows. The other piece of the fire danger puzzle is being prepared for an emergency. Last years catastrophic fires in California are a prime example of the speed at which one’s escape can be cut off. Having an understanding of what is needed to remain safe can make a difference in the outcome of such an emergency. The following is a Fire Evacuation Check List that may prove helpful:
Attire and Equipment
- Wear only cotton or wool clothes
- Wear long pants, long sleeved shirt or jacket and boots
- Carry gloves, a handkerchief to cover your face, water to drink and goggles
- Keep a flashlight and portable radio with you at all times
- Tune in to a local radio station and listen for instructions
- Evacuate all family members
- Make sure to designate a safe meeting place and contact person
- Relay your plans to the contact person
- Evacuate pets
- Place vehicles in the garage, pointing out with keys in the ignition
- Roll up the windows
- Close the garage door, but leave it unlocked
- Disconnect the electric garage door opener so that the door can be opened manually
Inside the House
- Close all interior doors
- Leave a light on in each room
- Close fire-resistant drapes, shutters and venetian blinds
- Turn off pilot lights
- Move overstuffed furniture (couch/chair) to the center of the room
Outside the House
- Place combustible patio furniture in the house or garage
- Shut off propane at the tank or natural gas at the meter
- Close all exterior vents if possible
- Prop a ladder against the house to provide firefighters access to the roof
- Make sure that garden hoses are connected to faucets, nozzles set to ‘spray’
- Close all exterior doors and windows, leave exterior door unlocked
- Turn on outside lights
- If you have an emergency water source (pool/pond) clearly mark it
Essentials (to place in the car)
- Important documents (bank, IRS, trust, insurance, birth certificates, etc)
- Credit and ATM cards
- Prescription glasses
- Driver’s license
- Computer backup files
- Inventory of home contents (photograph all rooms and contents of drawers, closets, cupboards)
- Address book
- Cell phone and charger
- Personal toiletries
- Change of clothing
- Family photo albums and video/DVD’s
- Family heirlooms
- Pet food, water and bowls
This is a sample and fairly simple evacuation list; more detailed lists can be found online. Part of your evacuation plan should be to identify routes to safety from your home. If you live in a mountain community with limited access remember that also means limited escape routes. Please plan accordingly for traffic when all your neighbors reach the same conclusion to evacuate at the same time.
If possible and space allows many of these ‘emergency items’ could be packed in bins placed for easy access and quicker evacuation. The more organized the plan, the quicker it can be put into action.
From all of us at SERVPRO of Golden/Wheat Ridge/Evergreen to you, have a safe and fun summer!
After the fire…..
Flames and smoke cause different damage. Call the professionals at SERVPRO of Golden, Wheat Ridge, Evergreen to help!
After you hang up with your insurance company, after the fire trucks pull away and you stand there looking at a charred room and realize your entire home smells of smoke thinking “Now what?”
Pick up the phone and call SERVPRO of Golden/Wheat Ridge/Evergreen as soon as possible.
The first 48 hours after a fire loss can make the difference between being able to salvage materials and starting over from zero. Our seasoned team can start by boarding up windows or holes if necessary, to secure your structure.
We understand there is the loss from fire, loss from smoke and soot, and the loss from water and chemicals used to extinguish the blaze. We understand each of these losses have their own remediation protocols and are trained and experienced in handling all these varied issues. Our crew will remove damaged building materials, clean remaining surfaces, eliminate odors and pack out your damaged belongings. We will then assess and, if possible, clean each remaining item and communicate with your insurance when belongings cannot be saved.
When we are finished your home or business will be ready for reconstruction, fresh paint and finally, your move back in to reclaim your space “Like it never even happened.”
A Tale of Damage: Fire, Water, Soot and Smoke
Smoke and soot cause extensive damage in Evergreen home.
Crackling fire in the fireplace? Warming, cozy and GOOD.
Crackling fire in the hallway? Frightening, dangerous and BAD.
As devastating as fire can be, once it’s put out is when ALL the damage becomes apparent.
Sure, there will be damage from the flames. There will also be damage from materials used to douse the flames, be that chemical suppressant or water. Damage from smoke and soot will quickly become apparent as smoke carries its oppressive odor everywhere it goes and soot sticks to every surface it crosses.
Professional assessment of fire and smoke damage is vital to the recovery of your home or business. Smoke and soot damage can vary depending on what materials were burning, improper handling of the clean-up can result in permanent staining, odor retention and surface damage.
As soon as the danger has passed, call SERVPRO Golden/Wheat Ridge/Evergreen at 303-279-8055 24/7 for help clearing the damage so you can rebuild. From boarding windows and securing your building to testing the smoke residue and implementing the proper method of cleaning, SERVPRO Golden/Wheat Ridge/Evergreen will help you through the process of recovery from fire.
Wildfire Awareness in Golden, Wheat Ridge, Evergreen
The Front Range has had another dry winter. The Department of Agriculture has found that as of February 2018, 70 percent of Colorado is in a moderate drought or worse. With much of our communities considered to be ‘wildland urban interface’ and the effects of drought, even a moderate one, it is wise to be as ready as possible when it comes to wildfires.
Local fire departments suggest home owners take measures to create a ‘defensible space’ around their homes. Such a space would include removing trees and shrubs, piles of slash, woodpiles and outdoor clutter for up to 30 feet around the structure. Gutters should be cleared and raking yards to clear them of fallen pine needles and leaves would be beneficial too. Residents could also work to limb and thin trees beyond the 30-foot measure.
Doing this mitigation yard work won’t guarantee fire will bypass a home, but it will give firefighters a better chance of saving the structure if the time comes.
SERVPRO Golden/Wheat Ridge/Evergreen wishes everyone a safe and fire free season.
AFTER the fire
What happens after the fire is put out? Make one of your first phone calls to SERVPRO Golden/Wheat Ridge/Evergreen 303-279-8055 for our professional help. Our trained technicians will be on site right away to help assess what can be restored and what cannot. A fire squelched with water will leave behind water damage as well as fire damage. Once the water damage is addressed, we can begin to tackle the fire damage. Smoke will have invaded every surface of your home leaving behind soot and odor.
It is important to seek professional help as soon as possible. The first 48 hours after a fire can make the difference between restoring and replacing your property and personal belongings.
Soot is caustic and the longer it is in contact with surfaces in your home the more pitting and staining can occur. Attempting to remove the soot with improper methods will result in adhering the soot particles permanently to your homes surfaces. Improper cleaning methods of smoke filled fabrics can lead to set in odor that cannot be removed.
Our crew will properly wipe all surfaces clear of soot and use ozone treatment to break down remaining smoke particles in the air and clear the smell. Before the heating or air is turned on after a fire, we recommend our crew clean the furnace and duct works to remove smoke, debris or chemical sediment remaining from the initial fire. After the cleanup is finished walls can be repainted and the structure restored.
Fire and Smoke Damage
This customer forgot to open the flu for the chimney when they started the fire.
Soot and Charring.
Smoke damage causes black marks and discoloration to your walls and ceiling. Soot is the residue left by smoke. Charring is the actual burning of the paint. You should first assess the extent of the damage and determine whether cleaning is a reasonable option.
SERVPRO of Golden, Wheat Ridge and Evergreen has experience in cleaning Smoke and Soot Damage. We have procedures in place that will effectively make it "Like it never even happened."
Cigarette smoke, on walls ceilings and textiles....is an offensive odor that need to be handled by professionals.
Let SERVPRO of Golden, Wheat Ridge and Evergreen be those professionals!
As experts in deodorization, SERVPRO of Golden, Wheat Ridge and Evergreen are trained to identify and eliminate offensive odors. These odors can come from a number of sources both inside and outside a structure.
SERVPRO teaches IICRC technical classes in the proper removal of odors. Masking and other short cuts don't work when your odor problem is serious or persistent.
We have the training and equipment to identify and eliminate these offensive odors. By identifying the cause of the odor and determining the conditions in which it contact any surfaces, the odor can often be removed over time without a trace. Our technicians have access to several odor removal products capable of penetrating surfaces to neutralize an unpleasant odor thoroughly.
The science of identifying and eliminating odors can be a tricky thing, so give us a call, and leave the restoration to us.