Recent Fire Damage Posts

What Happens in Your Building After a Partial Loss Due to a Fire?

10/29/2020 (Permalink)

Emergency exit - fire in the building Fire in a building

It's a nightmare scenario that you don't want to even think about: a fire raging through your office building. The consequences could be disastrous. People could get hurt, and your business could suffer. If you suffer fire loss and discover that materials and equipment are damaged, you need to call on the right professionals for help. Experienced fire cleanup specialists can restore partially ruined items and help you get back on your feet once again.

Common Causes of Office Fires

Fires can start in your building even if you have safeguards in place to prevent them. Some of the most frequent examples of commercial fires that result in fire loss include:

  • Electrical fires from poor wiring or defective appliances or equipment.
  • Improperly stored flammable materials such as chemicals or solvents.
  • Kitchen or break room fires.

What Is a Partial Loss
As opposed to a complete loss where a fire would burn up an item and destroy it beyond repair, a partial loss in a fire can be repaired. In this case, it has not been burned but instead has suffered smoke damage or damage from ash and soot. Examples often include furniture, electronics, walls and ceilings, and personal belongings.

Your Next Steps
A disaster recovery company in La Crosse, WI, has the knowledge and training to respond to your needs. The company has the right tools to handle fire restoration, including repairing building materials and work equipment. After you get in touch with the company, technicians will get to work and let you know of the timeline until the project is complete.

The Process
Cleanup crews will tear out damaged items and carefully clean them. For severely damaged materials, the crew may need to replace or rebuild. After the restoration process is over, you should have confidence in using the previously damaged items again.
A fire loss can be devastating. However, you can feel at ease knowing skilled professionals are working to restore your building.

3 Tips for Space Heater Fire Prevention

9/18/2020 (Permalink)

Space heater Your space heater should come with instructions for use

Keeping Your Home Safe

If you’re worried about having a burned space heater in your Rockland, WI, home, then you may want to consider some of these fire prevention tips before it becomes necessary to contact a fire damage restoration service for a smoke cleanup. Here are three things you can do to help keep your home safe.

1. Choose a Heater With Safety Features

One way to keep your home safe when using a space heater is to use one with build-in safety features. These can help prevent a problem you might not catch in time. For example, many heaters have turn off features that will shut the unit off if it is knocked over or grows too hot. You may want to look for a heater that has certification for a testing organization as well as these agencies look at possible problems and safety features of each model they test.

2. Place the Heater Carefully

One way to help prevent a burned space heater in your home is to make sure it is properly placed. The floor should be level and made of a hard surface that is not flammable in nature. You should also ensure that the area around the heater is free of clutter and that children and pets are not in danger of knocking the unit over. Always unplug your heater when not in use.

3. Follow Proper Use Instructions

Your space heater should come with instructions for use. These are important to follow as doing so can help prevent some of the risks that could lead to a fire. These instructions should also be consulted for any maintenance or repair needs.

When looking for ways to prevent a burned space heater in your home keep these three tips in mind. Choose a heater that has safety features already built-in, make sure the space the heater will be placed into is safe, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use. Remember, if a fire does occur, a restoration service can help.

Cleaning Smoke & Soot Damage From Puff-Back in West Salem Home

8/5/2020 (Permalink)

White wall covered in dark spots Heavy fuel oil damage after a puff-back.

This home in West Salem, Wisconsin suffered from a fuel oil “puff back”, which is literally an explosion of un-burned oil in the combustion chamber of an oil-fired furnace.  It sends out heavy, oily, black soot through the ventilation system and into every room in the house. All belongings were covered and needed to be restored.  It is a devastating experience, but SERVPRO of La Crosse County works hard to clean and inventory all of the content. We are able to remove the oily soot, and even the smell from the home.  Our goal is always to make your home “Like it never even happened.”

What To Expect:

When we visit your home after any type of fire loss, smoke, or soot damage, we will scope the affected areas to determine the extent of the loss. Our team will then always pretest affected surfaces to determine the type of smoke, and which products will help us recover the area most effectively. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your home. If a fire has damaged your home, call us right away at 608-786-0387.  SERVPRO of La Crosse County will treat you and your family with empathy and respect, and your property with care. 

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?

Call Us Today – 608-786-0387

4 Important Steps for Fire Damage Restoration

7/12/2020 (Permalink)

Building on fire. Each home fire is unique. Some houses are left with extensive smoke damage, while others have soot damage spread throughout the home.

A homeowner can see a number of difficult situations, but a home fire in Bangor, WI is definitely a big challenge. Once the fire has passed and everyone is safe, the nest step is fire restoration. At first, this can seem overwhelming. A homeowner can be faced with the following types of tricky damage:

-Damage from the flames in the form of burned walls, personal items and furniture
-Damage from the water and chemicals of the fire fighters
-Degradation from soot that coats many surfaces
-Damage from persistent odors

The unfortunate news is that none of this is easy to clean and repair. The cleanup process often requires the services of an experienced fire mitigation team.


A Proven Process


Each home fire is unique. Some houses are left with extensive smoke damage, while others have soot damage spread throughout the home. If the flames burned for a long time, large portions of the home will require fire restoration in the form of rebuilt rooms. A highly-trained team will follow a process that is flexible yet relies on proven techniques. A home inspection and assessment determines the scope of the damage to the home and is followed by a plan to remediate the impacted areas.

In some cases, a board up and roof tarp service is needed to secure the building from further harm and to protect people. If water damage is present, the water needs to be removed and areas dried. This is followed by soot and smoke removal and then cleaning and repair.


A Comprehensive Damage Cleaning


Professional fire restoration follows the highest standards of the cleaning and restoration industry. The best methods ensure that the home is returned to its original condition and all soot and smoke damage is eliminated to the best possible degree. A home fire is a challenging situation, but homeowners do not have to face it alone.

Fire! Fire! Now what??

7/10/2020 (Permalink)

Although a fire itself does a significant amount of fire and smoke damage to items touched by flames - smoke, soot residues and water damage or flooding from the fire department will affect other parts of your home. It is important to take all necessary precautions before entering your home after experiencing fire damage.

Besides natural hazards that may exist, entering your house can be 1) unsafe and 2) lead to secondary damages as movement or foot traffic can make some of your personal items unsalvageable. Protect your investment wisely and hire an established restoration contractor like SERVPRO of La Crosse County to help get you back on your feet after fire or smoke damage has affected your home.

SERVPRO has 24-hour emergency services available 365-days a year, including holidays. Our technicians have received the necessary IICRC certifications and follow all municipal and OSHA safety guidelines to perform fire damage restoration on your property.

Insurance companies choose SERVPRO of La Crosse County because we offer full-service to our clients. We manage your entire restoration project, providing customers with a detailed scope of work and schedule through each phase of the project while answering any questions you may have throughout the fire restoration process. 

Having a company like SERVPRO of La Crosse County on your side after a fire or water damage to your property can make a major difference in not only protecting the value of your investment but ensuring you have the best experience possible in dealing with a fire or water damage.


SERVPRO is a full service disaster restoration contractor serving the La Crosse Area. SERVPRO is faster to any size disaster providing 24 hour emergency service with direct insurance billing. Call us 608.786.0387.

Tallying the Total Damage From a Fire

7/5/2020 (Permalink)

Man using fire extinguisher. Remediation efforts can remove water, dry out wet areas and result in fewer items to throw away.

Even a short blaze in your home can cause a lot of damage. The flames can destroy wood, fabric and plastic, while soot and smoke can coat just about everything in the house. You might be tempted to just throw away everything, but professionals have a better idea of what can be saved. You should pay special attention to the following items:

-Food
-Clothes
-Cosmetics
-Medicines


Some items will become damaged if they encountered high heat. To be sure, consult with the experts of a local fire remediation team in Midway, WI. They can give an honest assessment of the viability of items after a fire, or direct you to other resources for a more definitive answer.


The Effects of Fire Fighting


When fire fighting crews come into our home, they are focused on three things: saving lives, protecting property and putting out the fire. As such, their actions may cause damage to the home in the form of broken windows, holes in the roof and the residue of water and chemicals to put out the flames. All of this wreaks havoc, though it is less than if the entire home went up in flames. Many of these damages can be cleaned with the proper equipment and cleaning methods. Remediation efforts can remove water, dry out wet areas and result in fewer items to throw away.


The Process of Professional Restoration


Parts of the house that do not have extensive fire damage might nonetheless still have serious soot and smoke damage. A professional process will look to restore items that can be cleaned. It is usually less expensive to clean clothes and furniture than it is to throw away valuable items. The same is true for documents, paintings and electrical equipment such as computers, televisions and appliances. The overall damage from any fire is considerable. It is a challenging process to recover but there is always a way forward with professional help. 

5 Things To Know About Fire Damage

7/3/2020 (Permalink)

A fire destroyed five stores Commercial fire damage in La Crosse, WI

5 Things To Know About Fire Damage

If you need help with smoke cleaning after a fire at your La Crosse, WI, business, then you may want to contact a local fire damage restoration service. This can be important as a team of professionals should know all the ins and outs of what to look for when dealing with fire damage. Here are five things you may want to know as well.

1. It Can Lead to Multiple Damage Types

A fire can bring several forms of damage with it. In addition to the flames, smoke damage and problems with smoke odor can occur. Soot can also present a problem.

2. Fire Suppression Can Cause Damage As Well

The fire suppression measures used to put out a fire can also cause damage. A fire hose of overhead sprinklers can cause flooding and water damage. If left unattended, this can lead to problems with mold.

3. It’s Important To Take Protective Measures

In some cases, there may be several steps to repairing the property before the smoke cleaning and other repairs can take place. It’s important to protect the space until then. You can do this by using tarps or boards to help seal off the area from weather and other outside forces that could be a problem.

4. Items Can Be Restored

You may be comforted to know that in many cases a restoration service may offer content cleaning as well. This means that many office items can be cleaned and repaired for future use.

5. The Property Can Be Restored

A local restoration service should have access to the tools and equipment needed to fully restore your business property after a fire. With a little time and work, they can have it looking “like it never even happened.”

When dealing with fire and smoke cleaning, it’s important to contact a professional as a fire can have several damage types associated with it, including the water damage from the fire suppression efforts. It’s also important to protect the space until repairs can be made. Remember, with the help of these professionals your property and office items can be restored.

Fire Prevention Starts at Home in La Crosse County

10/8/2019 (Permalink)

A family home has been damaged by fire. Fires can be devastating. Once the fire trucks leave-not only do you have damage from the fire itself, but water damage from the firefighters.

They say good habits start as a child as they watch the adults in their lives.  October is the start of the heating season in most parts of our country.  Are you ready to flip that switch?  Let's find out...

Does every room including bedrooms, have a working smoke detector?  Half of home fire deaths occur between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.  Most people are sleeping at this time. 

Granted, 51.6% of fires in 2017 were started by cooking, and other causes include 9.1% from heating, 7.1% have been caused by unintentional carelessness,  and lastly, 6.5% from an electrical malfunction.  (According to  https://www.usfa.fema.gov/data/statistics/#causesR).

Change out your furnace filter.  Newer, cleaner filters will help your furnace run more efficiently.  

Inspect electrical cords and all heating equipment and that it is clean and in proper working order.

With Fire Prevention Week upon us, be sure to check and test your smoke alarms.  Be ready and prepared for whatever happens.  

SERVPRO of La Crosse County is Here for Your College Student

8/23/2019 (Permalink)

UWL Fire After a fire happened last year at UWL, SERVPRO of LA Crosse County was there to help make it "Like it never even happened."

Many students and staff are moving back into the dorms over the next few weeks.  With the excitement of it all, many important details can be missed throughout the whole process.  Do you talk about fire safety with your student?  Do you talk about being prepared if an emergency should happen on campus?

Apartment and dorm safety all begins with a plan. 

  1. First and foremost, create an escape plan.  Practice your plan. 
  2. Count the number of doors there are between yours and the fire exit.  Memorize the number in case you have to find your way in the dark. 
  3. Know where all the exit doors and stairs are located on your floor.  

STAY CALM!  In the event an evacuation is needed due to fire, run your plan as you have practiced it.  

  1. If your door feels warm to the touch, DO NOT open it.  Call 9-1-1.
  2. Stuff the cracks around the door with towels, bedding, tape, and etc.  Cover vents.
  3. Wait near a window and signal for help with a flashlight or white cloth.
  4. If your door is cool enough to open, do so slowly.  STAY LOW.  If it is safe, follow your evacuation plan.  Never use the elevator!

Stay and wait outside for help to arrive.  SERVPRO of La Crosse County can be on site within a short amount of time to respond to a fire.  We can provide everything from board-up services to emergency mitigation.  

608-786-0387

Got your Grillin' On this Summer in La Crosse County?

8/1/2019 (Permalink)

On average 8,900 home fires are started by grills each year.

"It doesn't take long to prepare your grill for safe cooking, but it can take months to recover from a fire and the resulting flame, smoke, and water damage.  Invest a few minutes now to get your outdoor cooking equipment clean and ready to go, and then spend your summer enjoying good times and great food, not dealing with the destruction and heartbreak of a house fire."  

According to the NFPA, the top three causes of grilling fires are:

  1. Failure to clean the grill
  2. Leaks in gas hose lines or breaks in the grill body itself
  3. Proximity to flammable objects.  

There are some general safety guidelines that should be practiced with any grill. 

  1. Check the cleanliness of your grill.  Remove grease or fat buildup from the unit and the catch trays.  
  2. Position your grill away from home and deck railings-10 feet- and out from under eaves and low hanging tree branches.
  3. Keep children and pets away.
  4. Never leave a grill unattended.  

With propane grills, check for leaks and open the lid before lighting.

Only use charcoal starter fluid or a charcoal chimney with this type of grill.  Never add starter fluid or any flammable fluid to the fire.  Lastly, dispose of coals in a metal container until they have completely cooled.  

If your grill happens to start a fire that you were not anticipating, please let SERVPRO of La Crosse County know so we can be there to help make it "Like it never even happened".  

Heat and Humidity-How's Your Dehumidifier Holding Up?

7/11/2019 (Permalink)

One small dehumidifier caused whole home devastation.

Summer is officially upon the Midwest.  Betcha you are running your dehumidifier all the time, aren't you?  Keep an eye on it just like you would any other small appliance.  

Since 2013, mechanical issues with the Gree and Midea built dehumidifiers have been known to overheat and burst into flames.  These were sold under dozens of brand names and the numbers are in the millions.  

The overheating of the units has caused hundreds of house fires according to the Chicago Sun Times dated April 12, 2019. Many people still have these dehumidifiers in their homes and are unaware that they have been recalled.  

SERVPRO of La Crosse County has been to numerous homes after a dehumidifier has caused a fire affecting the whole home.  You should check the recall list to see if yours is on it.  

As always, you can call your #WeAreLocal GREEN #cleanexpert Team for help. 

  • Board-ups
  • Emergency extraction of water
  • Soot and smoke cleanup
  • Content pack out and cleaning

Here's to Having a Safe Summer

5/2/2019 (Permalink)

Safety is important during the summer months.

Every year, almost 8,600 Americans are injured by fireworks and almost 5,000 people are injured by charcoal/wood-burning and propane grills.  Summertime should be a time where memories are made and the outdoors are enjoyed.  

Being mindful of the following tips, will help your summer end on a happy note:

  • When using a charcoal grill, only use starter fluids designed for barbecue grills-DO NOT add fluid once the coals have been lit.
  • When using a gas grill, be sure that connection hoses are intact and tight.  Using soapy water along the hoses is a great way to safely identify any leaks.
  • Be sure to extinguish all smoking materials when finished with them.
  • When camping, always use a flame retardant tent and set it up away from the campfire.  Only use battery operated lights and lanterns inside the tent.
  • ALWAYS build a campfire down wind from the tent area.  Clear vegetation and dig a pit or use a certified fire ring.  
  • Consider leaving firework use to trained professionals and keep a safety area of at least 500 feet from displays.

Your #WeAreLocal GREEN Team wants everyone to have a safe and happy summer!

Industrial Fire Leads to Major Water Damage

10/16/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO helps Industrial and Commercial Businesses rebound with minimal business interruptions.

An industry leader in building materials recently experienced a fire on one of their machines inside the factory. Although the fire itself was small, contained, and quickly extinguished, the smoke triggered the automatic water sprinkler system. The result was a very wet building, including their entire inventory of doors, trim, and other wood materials. SERVPRO responded immediately to help extract the water, and set air movers and dehumidifiers. This quick action helped prevent potential secondary damages to their wood products, and ultimately their profits.

Management stated, “We were very satisfied with the overall service provided by SERVPRO.”

In just two days, they were back up and running at 100%. SERVPRO  is always happy to help businesses make it “Like it never even happened”. We offer 24 hour emergency services nights, weekends, and holidays.

Fire Breaks out in an Apartment Complex

10/16/2018 (Permalink)

Fire caused major damage in an apartment complex.

Once the fire is out and all the firemen have left, you are alone and unsure of your next step.  Where do you turn?  Who do you talk to?  Let SERVPRO help you.  We work with insurance to make your claim as stress free as possible.

We are here to help make it "like it never even happened" and to put your home or business back to preloss condition.  This particular fire started due to a lightening strike to the roof.  The tenants are escaped unscathed, but a lot of their belongings did not.  

Thanks to your #WeAreLocal GREEN team, we were able to go in and do the water mitigation first, then followed up with the cleanup from the fire itself, which affected three apartments.  Cleanup was slow and tedious, but everyone was patient and we finished the whole project from start to finish in about 8 weeks.

Fire damage?  Water damage?  Storm damage?

608.786.0387

Once the Fire is Out-Who do You Call?

4/13/2018 (Permalink)

A fire can be devastating to everyone in the home.

Although a fire itself does a significant amount of fire and smoke damage to items touched by flames - smoke, soot residues and water damage or flooding from the fire department will affect other parts of your home. It is important to take all necessary precautions before entering your home after experiencing fire damage.

Besides natural hazards that may exist, entering your house can be 1) unsafe and 2) lead to secondary damages as movement or foot traffic can make some of your personal items unsalvageable. Protect your investment wisely and hire an established restoration contractor like SERVPRO of La Crosse to help get you back on your feet after fire or smoke damage has affected your home.

SERVPRO has 24-hour emergency services available 365-days a year, including holidays. Our technicians have received the necessary IICRC certifications and follow all municipal and OSHA safety guidelines to perform fire damage restoration on your property.

Insurance companies choose SERVPRO of        La Crosse because we offer full-service to our clients. We manage your entire restoration project, providing customers with a detailed scope of work and schedule through each phase of the project while answering any questions you may have throughout the fire restoration process. 

Having a company like SERVPRO of La Crosse on your side after a fire or water damage to your property can make a major difference in not only protecting the value of your investment but ensuring you have the best experience possible in dealing with a fire or water damage.


SERVPRO is a full service disaster restoration contractor serving the La Crosse Area. SERVPRO is faster to any size disaster providing 24 hour emergency service with direct insurance billing. Call us 608.786.0387.

Untreated Fire and Smoke

4/6/2018 (Permalink)

Fire damage that sat for a while before being cleaned up.

Fire and smoke damage can wreak havoc to your personal property and structures. A quick reaction can help you minimize the impact of the destruction as some of your household goods can be cleaned and salvaged if treated immediately. You should, therefore, hasten the process of hiring a professional to help you manage the damage in a correct manner. Conversely, if left untreated, smoke and fire damage can be more devastating in the following ways:

The restoration cost increases

When the treatment process is extended, the damages begin to get worse and more difficult to deal with. If smoke goes untreated for long, the odors become more persistent and more difficult to neutralize. These challenges make the treatment process harder and more time consuming and ultimately more expensive.

Extensive damage

Smoke and ash can mix with water to produce a very corrosive element. If not cleaned quickly, this corrosive substance begins to slowly corrode away walls, floors, ceilings and any other surfaces in your home. Cleaning up quickly with soap and water is not enough. The substance requires proper cleaning with appropriate chemicals to remove it completely in order to contain the damages.

Soot deposits

Neutralizing of soot residual and deposits is an effective first clean up step. If left for long, soot can easily travel and penetrate into other rooms that weren't affected by the fire, staining the wall paint, carpet, furniture, drapes, clothing and any other household items.

Permanent damage

Your property can suffer permanent damage if not treated in a timely manner. Damage begins to set in within hours and prolonged exposure may cause permanent harm to your walls which turns yellow, metal surfaces begins to corrode, clothes stain permanently and wooden furniture which may need refinishing. It also damages the floor which may need replacement.

Following a fire, it is necessary to seek smoke treatment immediately to save yourself from the effects of prolonged exposure to smoke and to make it easier for you to restore your home. In case you suspect some smoke damage in your residence and need smoke cleanup, water damage cleanup or storm damage repair contact your #wearelocal GREEN team, SERVPRO of La Crosse.

How Old is Your Fire Extinguisher...?

4/6/2018 (Permalink)

A kitchen fire.

Fire extinguishers last between five and 15 years but they all ultimately expire and become ineffective, no matter what fire-fighting substance they contain. Household fire extinguishers—which are typically filled with dry chemicals (carbon dioxide or halon)—lose their charge over time. Those with compressed gas can leak contents slowly as their seals weaken, while those with ammonium phosphate will solidify over the years, rendering the entire device unusable.

Read on to get a handle on the age and effectiveness of your fire extinguisher, plus tips on how to extend its life, get it serviced, and dispose of it correctly if necessary.

Store a fire extinguisher in a clean, indoor location can help extend its life. Exposure to sun, UV radiation, wind, or rain can cause corrosion, rust, and deterioration. If the canister is dented or bruised, or if the tamper seal and pin are missing, there’s a possibility that it might explode unprompted. Examine the entire unit and if it’s not in good shape, properly dispose of it without delay.

Burning Supper Can Have Lasting Affects

4/6/2018 (Permalink)

A fire in the kitchen can be devastating to the whole home.

Why does the last 5 minutes of a football game on TV seem to take an hour? You decided to make that salmon dish your uncle was telling you about so you prepped for it first thing this morning.

Start of the 4th quarter you decided to put it into the oven right as your team fell behind 14 points and the game seemed over.

That's when the magic started!  The rookie they just drafted gets put in the game and the biggest comeback in franchise history starts.

They tie up the game with 10 seconds left as the wide receiver torched the defender.  Torched him so bad you can smell the burning as if you were there.

Wait.....that's not torched defender...that's your Salmon burning in the oven!

It's happened to us all, we see it every day.  If this happens to you call SERVPRO and we'll come out, asses the damage, and help return your home back to 'Like it never even happened'. 

Not all smoke and soot are the same, and trained professionals like we have at SERVPRO know how to deal with each type that occurs.

    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 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.