Recent Fire Damage Posts
Smoke Damage is as Dangerous as Fire Damage
Smoke damage to Texas kitchen ceiling after a fire.
In a typical house fire, more damage is caused by smoke than by the actual flames. During a fire, the materials that burn produce toxic smoke filled with microscopic particles known as soot. These tiny particles become charged from the extreme heat and migrate to cooler air found in other parts of the house. Because this smoke is often scorching, it can cause additional damage away from the actual source of the fire by melting plastics, scorching fabrics, and textiles and spreading toxic gasses that will kill any living thing in its path. That's why smoke alarms throughout your home are critical to saving lives.
The Department of Homeland Security says, "In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house or for it to be engulfed in flames. Most deadly fires occur in the home when people are asleep. If you wake up to a fire, you won't have time to grab valuables because the fire spreads too quickly, and the smoke is too thick. There is only time to escape."
At SERVPRO of East Ft. Worth, our trained specialists know how to restore your belongings after a house fire. We hope you never need our services, but we will help you determine what can be restored and what needs to be replaced if you do.
Restoring smoke and fire-damaged items costs less than replacing them. Having your belongings restored, especially sentimental value items, helps most families recover from the trauma of a fire more quickly than otherwise possible. Call SERVPRO of East Ft. Worth at (817) 293-5553. We have helped hundreds of families recover from house fire damages.
Breathe Life Back into Fire Damaged Belongings
SERVPRO of East Fort Worth is always ready to serve you!
Although fires can be catastrophic, often, you can salvage a portion of your personal belongings from the ruins. However, even if your belongings are intact and functional, they may have absorbed stains and odors that can be difficult to get rid of. Many people can even grow ill from the smell of heavy smoke absorbed into belongings, and layers of dirt and ash can leave a mess everywhere if not cleaned properly.
That doesn’t mean your belongings are wholly lost. There are several options for cleaning and restoring fire-damaged possessions to restore their attractiveness and utility while eliminating that unpleasant burning or smoky stench.
Sterilization and Odor Removal
After a fire, many of your personal belongings may be coated in a patina of soot. While you may associate soot with wood ash, that soot can be particulates of plastic or any number of other substances that might pose a safety hazard upon contact. Even if touching the items is safe, the odor alone may be unpleasant enough to warrant getting rid of them. Content cleaning can be tricky in these instances and often involves specialized substances designed to cut through smoke residue, ash, and soot. You may consider hiring professional cleaners instead or using content storage services to set the task aside for later.
Dry-Cleaning for Smoke-Damaged Clothing
While not much can be done to restore fire-damaged clothing, it may be possible to restore clothing that suffered from smoke or ash. Smoke can infiltrate clothing fibers to leave behind an unpleasant and seemingly permanent smell, while both ash and smoke can leave stains that are difficult to remove, particularly from more delicate fabrics. Dry-cleaning can do a great deal to restore clothing and remove the effects of smoke and ash, particularly if you have your clothing cleaned by Fort Worth, TX, professionals specializing in restoring smoke-damaged garments.
Visit the SERVPRO of East Ft. Worth blog for more information on commercial fire damage.
Deodorizing Following Fire Damage in Fort Worth
SERVPRO of East Ft. Worth can rid odors in your Fort Worth home. Call today!
After a small fire in your Fort Worth home, you quickly start to assess the damages to the area. You visually inspect the furniture and walls. Even if there is no real, lasting damage, there is one problematic element that tends to linger for weeks after a fire: the smell. Odor removal is an often overlooked but significant aspect of fire restoration services.
While our SERVPRO team is well educated in restoration techniques and cleaning processes to restore your home areas that have been damaged aesthetically by an unexpected fire, the lingering odor that remains is often something that homeowners are less concerned with initially. It becomes more and more problematic as the home is being restored, but the smoke and charring scent of the fire’s destruction remains as powerful as ever.
Fortunately, our team of technicians has state-of-the-art equipment for removing foul smells from a residence or business. Deodorizing happens through the use of dense fogging machines. The machines can produce a heavy chemical fog that is sprayed throughout the entire affected area, ensuring that all affected structures and contents are also affected by the fog.
Though this chemical has no scent, it reacts on a molecular level with the foul-smelling odor molecules lingering in the air after the fire gets extinguished. This new chemical compound is entirely neutral, leaving behind no smell at all. The process is a far cry from traditional deodorizing techniques, which merely overpower the harsh smell with an overbearing new scent for the damaged areas. Fogging leaves the room smelling like nothing has ever happened, even if you are still in the process of restoration efforts for the damages.
Since formidable smells (like those left behind after a fire) are challenging to live with, speak with our technicians assigned to your residence about deodorizing the area as soon as possible. Fogging can happen alongside our cleaning and restoration efforts, making the entire process more streamlined and efficient.
Recovering from a recent fire, regardless of its size, can be a complicated process. Contact us at SERVPRO of East Ft. Worth to walk you through the entire restoration process and help to bring these damages back to their preloss conditions. Call (817) 293-5553 today.
DFW - Smoke and Soot Cleanup
Smoke and soot damage can cause a pervasive odor in your home. Call SERVPRO of East Ft. Worth!
Smoke and soot are very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allow us to inspect and accurately assess the damage's extent 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 significantly 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 East Ft. Worth 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 slightly 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.
Dryer Fire Prevention Tips
The removable lint filter in your dryer doesn't catch it all. Lint buildup can cause house fires, and regular cleaning reduces this risk.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 2,900 dryer fires are reported each year. These fires lead to a staggering national average of 35 million dollars in property damage, 100 injuries, and five fatalities annually. You must understand what causes dryer fires and how you can prevent them from happening in your own home with so much at risk. To protect yourself, your family, and your house.
DO: Clean the lint filter.
A clogged lint filter is the leading contributing factor in residential dryer fires. The U.S. Fire Administration reports that failing to clean out the lint trap causes 34 percent of reported dryer fires every year.
Each time you unload the dryer, clean out the lint trap. Before putting the next load of clothes in, double-check that the lint trap is completely clean to lower your risk of fire. A clean lint filter allows the dryer to run more efficiently, too, thus drying your clothes faster while also preventing your machine from overheating.
DON'T: Dry clothes without the lint filter.
A dryer without its lint trap is an accident waiting to happen. The filter protects the dryer's inner workings from collecting lint. Without this defensive shield, a buildup of lint in the ducts can easily lead to a dryer vent fire.
To lower your risk, always use your dryer with the lint trap in place. If your existing lint trap is worn or develops any holes, replace it immediately at your nearest home supplies store.
DO: Inspect the ducts regularly.
Blocked ducts frequently cause dryer fires. To ensure your dryer is running correctly, check your ducts about once a month to ensure there are no blockages. Some telltale signs that your ducts are clogged include the following indicators:
- Your laundry is taking longer to dry
- Exhaust air is failing to exit the vent
- You suspect that your machine is overheating
Sometimes, a blockage occurs because the venting system itself is damaged. Other times, blockages may be occurring because of an accumulation of lint, animals building nests in the vents, or snow building up over the outside vents.
If you notice any blockages, clean them out before using your dryer again. To clean your ducts, disconnect them, remove the blockages and reconnect them. If you notice any damage to the venting system, call in a professional to repair the issue.
DON'T: Overload the dryer.
Stuffing too many wet clothes or bedding into a dryer can cause an excess of lint to accumulate. Since lint build up reduces a dryer's ability to ventilate, the machine may quickly overheat and cause a fire to break out. Read your owner's manual to determine your machine's maximum hold to ensure you aren't overstuffing it.
DO: Replace outdated ducts.
Older ducts made of plastic or foil are prone to sagging. These accordion-style ducts can easily trap lint in hard-to-reach spaces, increasing your risk of fire. To keep your home safe, replace your older models with new ducts designed with heavy-duty metal.
DON'T: Leave the dryer running unattended.
Never go to sleep or leave the house while your dryer is running. If a fire breaks out, your ability to extinguish it or call emergency services right away can make all the difference between damage to your laundry room and complete loss of your home.
Despite our best efforts as homeowners, accidents still happen. If your home has been damaged by fire and smoke, call SERVPRO of East Ft. Worth. Our team of highly trained technicians can help get your life back to normal as quickly as possible. With the proper training, innovative equipment, and helpful guidance, our expert technicians will be with you every step of the way to get you back on your feet. Water restoration after the fire department leaves to rebuild your home SERVPRO has you covered from soot removal.
Pets and Fire Safety
Follow these prevention tips!
No one wants to consider the possibility of facing a fire emergency in their own home, but it could happen at any time. Coming up with a fire plan is key to getting yourself and your family out safely. But what about your pets? Including pet preparation in your fire safety plan is crucial to get your furry friends out in time. Keep your furry companions safe by following these steps to create a fire evacuation plan for your pets.
- The best way to protect your pets from the effects of a fire is to include them in your family plan. This includes having their disaster supplies kit and arranging in advance for a safe place for them to stay if you need to leave your home.
- When you practice your escape plan, practice taking your pets with you. Train them to come to you when you call.
- If you must evacuate in the event of a disaster, the most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to evacuate them, too. But remember: never delay escape or endanger yourself or your family to rescue a family pet.
Prevent Your Pets from Starting Fires
The National Fire Protection Association estimates that nearly 1,000 home fires each year are accidentally started by the homeowners' pets.
- Extinguish Open Flames: Pets are generally curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. Ensure your pet is not left unattended around an open flame, and make sure to extinguish any open flame before leaving your home thoroughly.
- Remove Stove Knobs: Be sure to remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before leaving the house - a stove or cooktop is the number one piece of equipment involved in your pet starting a fire.
- Invest in Flameless Candles: These candles contain a light bulb rather than an open flame and take the danger out of your pet knocking over a candle. Cats are notorious for starting fires when their tails turn over lit candles.
- Secure Young Pets: Keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home, such as in crates or behind baby gates in secure areas.
Help Firefighters Help Your Pets
- Keep pets near entrances when away from home. Keep collars on pets and leashes at the ready in case firefighters need to rescue your pet. When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near entrances where firefighters can easily find them.
- Affix a pet alert window cling and write down the number of pets inside your house and attach the static cling to a front window. This critical information saves rescuers time when locating their pets. Make sure to keep the number of pets listed on them updated.
Be Prepared. Have a Plan.
- Know their hiding places! During a fire, your pets will be terrified, and they'll most likely run to the places they feel most safe. If you don't know their common hiding places, you could run out of time to save your furry, scaly, or feathered friend.
- Map it out! Find their hidey-hole and niches. Map these out on a piece of paper, and include the map in your fire escape plan.
- Always evacuate your pets on a leash or in a pet carrier. Pets will panic at the smell of smoke and may bolt when outside, making them impossible to find.
- Prepare an emergency kit for each of your animals. The kit should contain your pet's food, veterinary paperwork, prescription medications, and an updated photo and description of each animal. You may have to board your pet at a kennel or other facility until you get settled after a fire, and they will require proof that your pet has current vaccinations.
- Have an evacuation plan. If you have to evacuate your home, and you cannot return for a while, have a plan of action!
Dealing with Smoke Damage After a Fire
SERVPRO of East Ft. Worth specializes in fire and odor remediation. Call today if you have a disaster. We're available 24/7.
If you’re dealing with fire damage, it’s time to call the professionals at SERVPRO of East Ft. Worth. Several little-known facts are crucial to smoke damage restoration procedures. Put your health and property first by learning more about the recovery period.
Ventilation is the First Step
Immediately following a fire, focus on ventilation for the home. The professionals may not be on-site yet, but you can improve the situation right now. Open the doors and windows. Use any fans within the home to move air out of the structure. Our Technicians will bring in industrial fans for this purpose, but get the process started yourself.
Consider your health when it comes to ventilation too. Wear dust masks if you must be inside the home. Remove children, pets, and older residents from the premises. The particles in the air can be irritating to some people.
Odors Don’t Dissipate on Their Own
There’s a misconception about fire damage cleanup and ventilation. You might believe that fire odors will dissipate with enough fans blowing in the house. Soot and other fire byproducts are chemically based substances. Unless they’re physically removed, they’ll continue to react with the drywall, wood, and other materials.
Our smoke damage restoration professionals will clean, remove and service the structure as necessary. They’ll deodorize rooms with careful attention to humidity and corrosion issues. There shouldn’t be any remaining odors after a professional cleanup job. Subtle odors equate to dirty conditions that will only grow stronger over time.
Soot Moves into Every Crevice
Cleaning off the walls and ceilings is only the beginning of the fire damage cleanup process. Most people don’t realize that soot is an excellent article. It floats and lands on nearly every surface. If you have light fixtures near the damaged area, be sure to remove the bulbs and clean them. Soot finds its way into the threaded base. Hazards arise if you turn the fixture on without cleaning it first. Soot can be a fire hazard if it’s not cleaned away in its entirety.
Smoke Damage Restoration Applies to Electronics and Antiques
If soot can find its way into light fixtures, your electronics might fall prey to it too. Discuss fire damage cleanup about your televisions, audio receivers, and other devices. It may take time to restore these items, but it’s worth the effort when it’s done right.
Think about any antiques that you might have as well. SERVPRO’s restoration experts can bring these items back to life. When an antique has either sentimental or monetary value, restoring it should be part of your recovery process.
Did you know working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half?
While SERVPRO of East Ft. Worth is here to help if you suffer from a fire. We still want each of our customers to be as safe as possible. Here are some tips to make sure your house is prepared in the event of a fire.
The Different Types of Smoke Detectors
There are two main types of smoke detectors: those that use photoelectric detection and ionization detection.
Ionization detectors are more common because they are generally mass-produced and typically inexpensive, but photoelectric detectors are fairly affordable.
Ionization detectors are best at detecting flaming fires, while photoelectric alarms are usually more sensitive to smoldering fires. The best idea is to either have a combination of the two types of alarms or find one alarm that utilizes both detection types.
How Many Smoke Alarms Do I Need?
For maximum protection, one smoke alarm per room except for the bathroom, kitchen, and garage. Heat alarms may be considered where fumes from cooking or smoke from cigarettes or open fires could lead to unwanted alarm activations.
For minimum protection, one smoke alarm for each level/floor of your home.
Test Your Smoke Alarm Often
Test your smoke alarm at least once a month to ensure it is functioning correctly. Most alarms have a test button. Hold the button for a few seconds and see if the alarm sounds. If you don’t hear it or faint, it’s time to replace your batteries. Keep your family safe by remembering to check your alarm regularly.
If you don’t change your alarm’s batteries, you’ll likely hear that annoying high-pitched periodic chirp until you do. While the sound is grating, it does an excellent job reminding you when the battery is low and it is time for a fresh one. If you’re unsure whether or not the battery is dead, test it in a non-safety device.
When in doubt, throw it out. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. It never hurts to give your fire alarm a fresh new battery, even if you aren’t sure if the last one is dead. Consider writing the date on the new battery with a permanent marker so when it dies, you can see how long it lasted and know approximately how long each battery will work in your particular alarm.
Experts recommend you change your smoke alarms about every 10 years. When it comes to your family’s safety, you’ll want to make sure your equipment is functioning well and that you are using the latest technology to warn of fire danger.
Combination Alarms are Available
Arguably even more dangerous than a fire is carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide gas is odorless and tasteless, yet extremely toxic, and therefore very dangerous. It is produced by vehicles and gas-powered furnaces, and unsafe levels cause hundreds of deaths each year. If possible, look for a fire alarm that also includes a carbon monoxide sensor.
Know Your Evacuation Plan!
The purpose of a Smoke Alarm is to give an early warning of an outbreak of fire! You and your family must know exactly what to do when the Smoke Alarm activates.
Plan an escape route, then run fire drills. If possible, figure out two ways to exit every room, even if that means out a window. Make sure everyone in the household understands and can run through the escape route. The practice should include the post-exit meeting place outside.
- Practice drills during less-than-desirable times: in the middle of the night, in very cold weather, etc., as well as under more ideal circumstances.
- Tweak the plan as necessary. Who may be capable of actually sleeping through the alarm? This should be addressed. Make sure that an escape plan is in place for physically disabled occupants, babies, and pets.
- Purchase a folding ladder in case an escape through an upper window is necessary.
Preventing Electrical Fires in Your Ft. Worth Home
If your property experiences fire damage, contact SERVPRO of East Ft. Worth.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 47,700 home fires in the U.S. are caused by electrical failures or malfunctions each year. These fires result in 418 deaths, 1,570 injuries, and $1.4 billion in property damage. Overloaded electrical circuits are a major cause of residential fires. Help lower your risk of electrical fires by not overloading your electrical system.
Overloaded Circuit Warning Signs
- Flickering, blinking, or dimming lights
- Frequently tripped circuit breakers or blown fuses
- Warm or discolored wall plates
- Cracking, sizzling, or buzzing from receptacles
- Burning odor coming from receptacles or wall switches
- Mild shock or tingle from appliances, receptacles, or switches
When choosing to light for your home, it is essential to understand that some light switches have more functions than merely turning on lights. These added features such as timers and dimmers can make your home more convenient and efficient. If you are thinking of making a switch, contact a qualified electrician to ensure that the lighting you choose is compatible with your home. And remember, all light switches should be installed by a professional.
Don't Take These Warning Signs Lightly
- The wall plate is hot to the touch.
- There is discoloration of or around the switch plate.
- Lights dim and/or flicker without cause.
- You hear crackling, popping, or buzzing from your outlet.
- Often Breakers trip or fuses blow when the switch is turned on.
- You detect an odor when a switch is used.
- The switch leans to one side or feels loose when operating.
- You often experience a shock when operating the switch.
- Lights get brighter or dimmer when other appliances turn on or off.
- The home is over 40 years old and has aluminum wiring but has not recently undergone a safety inspection by an electrician.
If any of the above characterizes your lighting control points, have your home's electrical system inspected by a qualified electrician as soon as possible.
How to Prevent Electrical Overloads
- Never use extension cords or multi-outlet converters for appliances
- All major appliances should be plugged directly into a wall receptacle outlet. Only plug one heat-producing appliance into a receptacle outlet at a time
- Heavy reliance on extension cords is an indication that you have too few outlets to address your needs. Have a qualified electrician inspect your home and add new outlets
- Power strips only add additional outlets; they do not change the amount of power being received from the outlet
Hopefully, these tips can help keep your home safe and protected from fires caused by an electrical malfunction, though accidents do occur. Our crews here at SERVPRO of East Ft. Worth see a handful of electrical fires each year, especially during the summer when extra fans and a/c units are plugged in and in winter when plug-in heaters are in use as well as holiday lights.
If your home or business is affected by an electrical fire. SERVPRO is ready 24/7 365 to help deal with the smoke and fire damage that can occur and get your house back to pre-fire condition.