Recent Fire Damage Posts

Understanding Structural Damage from Fire and Smoke

4/17/2024 (Permalink)

SERVPRO working on fire remediation In this blog, we will explore the impact of fire and smoke on the structural integrity of a building.

Experiencing a fire in your home is a traumatic event that can cause significant structural damage. Understanding how fire and smoke damage can affect the structure of your property is crucial for effective fire damage remediation. In this blog, we will explore the impact of fire and smoke on the structural integrity of a building and provide valuable insights on what to do if you experience structural fire damage.

How Fire and Smoke Damage Cause Structural Damage

  1. Direct Fire Contact: When a fire spreads throughout a building, it can directly affect the structural components such as walls, floors, ceilings, and beams. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures weakens these materials, compromising their strength and stability.
  2. Thermal Expansion and Contraction: The extreme heat generated by a fire causes materials to expand, putting stress on the structural elements. As the fire is extinguished, the rapid cooling causes contraction, which can further damage weakened components.
  3. Weakening of Load-bearing Structures: Fire can weaken load-bearing walls, beams, and columns, compromising the overall structural integrity of the building. This can lead to structural collapse if not properly assessed and repaired.
  4. Smoke and Soot: Smoke and soot, generated by burning materials, can penetrate the structure, settling on surfaces and within void spaces. These particles can corrode metal, stain surfaces, and emit harmful odors. Additionally, the acidity in smoke can accelerate the deterioration of materials over time.

Responding to Structural Fire Damage

  • Ensure Safety: Before entering a property that has experienced a structural fire, ensure that it has been deemed safe by professionals. Fire damage restoration experts, such as SERVPRO®, can evaluate the safety of the structure and provide guidance.
  • Document the Damage: Take detailed photographs or videos of the structural fire damage, including affected areas and individual components. This documentation will be essential for insurance claims and fire damage restoration processes.
  • Secure the Property: If the structural damage is severe, make sure to secure the property to prevent further damage or potential theft. Board up broken windows and doors, and cover openings in the roof to protect against the elements.
  • Professional Assessment: Contact a reputable fire damage restoration company to assess the extent of the structural damage. Trained technicians will conduct a thorough inspection, identifying compromised areas and developing a comprehensive restoration plan.
  • Structural Stabilization: In cases of significant structural damage, stabilization may be necessary before the restoration process can begin. This may involve temporary supports or shoring to ensure safety during repairs.
  • Restoration and Repairs: Once the structure is safely stabilized, the fire damage restoration process can start. Skilled professionals will remove debris, clean and sanitize affected surfaces, repair or replace damaged structural elements, and restore the property to its pre-fire condition.

Structural damage from fire and smoke can have a lasting impact on the safety and stability of your property. Understanding the causes and effects of fire damage on the structure is vital when responding to a fire incident. Promptly documenting the damage, securing the property, and seeking professional assessment are crucial to ensure a safe restoration process. Partnering with a trusted fire damage restoration company like SERVPRO will ensure that the structural fire damage is addressed comprehensively and efficiently, helping you restore your home to its pre-fire condition.

How To Prevent and Respond to Kitchen Fires

12/13/2023 (Permalink)

A room with severe fire damage. The kitchen is the heart of the home, but it's also one of the most common places for household fires to start.

The kitchen is the heart of the home, but it's also one of the most common places for household fires to start, so it's essential to prioritize kitchen safety. In this blog, we'll share valuable tips on how to prevent kitchen fires and what to do if one occurs.

Preventing Kitchen Fires

Never Leave Cooking Unattended 

One of the leading causes of kitchen fires is leaving food unattended on the stove or in the oven. Stay in the kitchen when cooking, and if you must step away, turn off the heat.

Keep Flammable Objects Away

Ensure that flammable objects such as dish towels, oven mitts, and paper towels are kept away from the stove, oven, and other heating appliances.

Install a Smoke Detector

Make sure your kitchen is equipped with a functioning smoke detector. Regularly check the batteries and replace them as needed.

Fire Extinguisher

Have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen and know how to use it. It can be a lifesaver in case of a small fire that can be contained.

What to Do If a Kitchen Fire Occurs

  1. Stay Calm: In case of a fire, the first rule is to stay calm. Panic can make the situation worse.
  2. Turn Off the Heat: If the fire is in a pot or pan, turn off the heat source. This can prevent the fire from spreading.
  3. Never Use Water on Grease Fires: For grease fires, never use water as it can cause the flames to flare up. Instead, cover the fire with a metal lid or use a fire extinguisher.
  4. Evacuate Safely: If the fire is spreading and cannot be controlled, evacuate the kitchen and close the door to contain the fire. Call 911 immediately.
  5. Do Not Attempt Heroics: While it's important to stay safe, never attempt to be a hero by trying to extinguish a large or spreading fire on your own. Leave it to the professionals!

Kitchen safety should always be a priority. By following these tips, you can significantly reduce the risk of kitchen fires and respond effectively if one occurs. Stay vigilant, keep your kitchen safe, and remember that your safety and the safety of your loved ones always come first.

If you ever experience a kitchen fire and need professional assistance in La Crosse, WI, contact SERVPRO of La Crosse County for expert fire damage restoration. We're here to help you get your home back to its pre-fire condition!

What Should I Look for in a Fire Restoration Company?

8/20/2023 (Permalink)

Dealing with the aftermath of a fire is a daunting and challenging experience. Fire damage can result in significant financial and emotional burdens, and the process of restoring your home can be complicated. Fortunately, you don't have to face these challenges alone. A fire restoration company can help you through this difficult time. In this blog post, we'll discuss what you should look for in a fire restoration company.

Accreditation and License

When choosing a fire restoration company, it's crucial to consider whether they are licensed, certified, and accredited. Accreditation demonstrates that the company follows industry standards and procedures. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) provides certifications for professionals in the fire and smoke restoration industry.

Experience and Expertise

Experience is critical when it comes to choosing a fire restoration company. A company with several years of experience will have dealt with an array of restoration scenarios, making them well-suited to handle whatever complexities your restoration may entail. Hire contractors that have a team of professionals that possess extensive expertise in the field of fire damage restoration.

Time is of the essence when it comes to fire damage restoration. A reputable fire restoration company should have the availability to respond immediately to your needs. When a fire occurs, the company should send personnel immediately to assess the situation and begin the restoration process as quickly as possible. This promptness helps to mitigate the damage significantly and prevent further losses.

References and Reviews

Reading reviews from past clients and referrals are vital when choosing a fire restoration company. Consider researching and reaching out to family and friends who can offer personal recommendations for service providers in the restoration industry. Online reviews can also provide valuable insight into the quality of service and level of satisfaction previous customers have received.

Equipment and Resources

A fire restoration company should have access to the right equipment, tools, and resources needed to restore your property effectively. Having the resources needed for your specific situation is critical, as each fire damage restoration project presents unique challenges that require specialized equipment.

Customer Service

Choosing a fire restoration company that is committed to providing a positive customer experience is essential. A company that values communication and transparency while providing personalized, responsive service can make the restoration process a lot smoother. Choose companies that are transparent about the repair and restoration process, including how long it will take, and expected costs.

Ensure that the company you choose has various insurance covers to safeguard your property and technicians in the event of an accident. Also, check to see whether the company is licensed for restoration services and the areas they are allowed to serve.

When it comes to fire damage restoration, selecting a reputable, experienced, and qualified company is essential. Their knowledge and expertise can be a critical aspect of reclaiming your property after a disaster. Always take the time to do your research, check reviews and references, and ensure you work with a licensed and insured company. With these factors in mind, you can choose a reliable and trustworthy fire restoration company that can ensure your home is restored to its original state.

Textile Restoration After a Fire: What You Need to Know

4/13/2023 (Permalink)

Fires can be devastating, causing damage not only to the structure of a building but also to personal belongings such as clothes, bedding, and furniture. While it can be challenging to restore these items after a fire, it is often possible with the help of professional restoration services. In this blog, we will explore the specific challenges associated with textile restoration after a fire and discuss the methods used to restore fabrics to their original condition.

Types of Damage Caused by Fire and Smoke

The damage caused by fire and smoke can vary depending on several factors, including the intensity of the fire, the type of materials that burned, and the length of time that the fabric was exposed to smoke and soot. Common types of damage include discoloration, odors, and soot buildup. Smoke and soot can penetrate deep into the fibers of fabrics, making it challenging to remove them without causing further damage.

Methods Used for Textile Restoration

When it comes to restoring textiles after a fire, there are several methods that restoration professionals may use. These include dry cleaning, wet cleaning, and ozone treatment.

Dry Cleaning: This method involves using solvents and other cleaning agents to remove soot and smoke damage from fabrics. Dry cleaning is typically used for delicate fabrics that cannot be wet cleaned, such as silk or wool.

Wet Cleaning: Wet cleaning involves using water-based cleaning agents to remove soot and smoke damage from fabrics. This method is typically used for more robust fabrics that can withstand water, such as cotton or polyester.

Ozone Treatment: Ozone treatment involves exposing fabrics to high levels of ozone, which helps to break down the odor-causing molecules left behind by smoke and soot. This method is often used in combination with other cleaning methods to remove odors from fabrics.

Challenges of Textile Restoration

Restoring textiles after a fire can be a challenging and time-consuming process. It requires specialized equipment and expertise to ensure that the fabrics are properly cleaned without causing further damage. In addition, fabrics that have been exposed to water during the firefighting process may be at risk for mold growth if not properly dried and treated.

Why You Should Hire a Professional Restoration Service

If you are dealing with textile damage after a fire, it is essential to hire a professional restoration service, such as SERVPRO of LaCrosse County, with experience in textile restoration. Our team has access to specialized equipment and cleaning agents that can effectively remove soot and smoke damage from fabrics without causing further damage. We also have the expertise to determine which cleaning method is appropriate for each type of fabric, ensuring that your belongings are restored to their original condition.

In conclusion, restoring textiles after a fire can be a challenging process, but with the help of professional restoration services, it is often possible to restore fabrics to their original condition. By understanding the specific challenges associated with textile restoration after a fire and the methods used to address them, you can make informed decisions about how to restore your belongings and get your life back on track after a fire.

How To Be a Grill (Cleaning) Master

8/21/2022 (Permalink)

Grill (Cleaning) Master

No grill master ever earned the title without first being a grill cleaning pro. Whether it’s a yard sale steal or a top-of-line splurge your summer staple needs regular maintenance and cleaning to remain the master’s tool it is. Before you grab your apron grab your gloves and prepare for major seasonal cleaning, making your grill the best it can be for a Rockland,WI summer!

Gather Your Materials

As every master knows, a successful grill session requires all materials to be prepared beforehand. With the same concept in mind, prepare for your grill cleaning session with a few necessary supplies:

  • Work gloves
  • Grill brush
  • Stainless-steel wipes
  • Whisk broom
  • Bucket
  • Dish soap
  • Foil
  • Paper towels

Know Your Terrain

Proper grill maintenance will minimize the risk of a grease fire, improve the performance of your grill and provide a clean aesthetic for your grill mastery. While there are some variances for cleaning charcoal and gas grills, start with the basics:

• Wearing work gloves, remove grill grates, racks and pans and set them in a bucket of hot water and dish soap. It is best to start this process while the grill is still slightly warm, but ensure all dials are off and the propane tank is disconnected.
• Cover heating elements with foil and use the grill brush to vigorously scrub the underside of the hood and inside walls of the grill and wipe down with a wet paper towel.
• Remove the components from the bucket and scrub down with the grill brush before replacing inside the grill.

The Effects of Lightning on Residential Property

6/21/2022 (Permalink)

Residential Property Damage Caused by Lightning

According to the National Fire Protection Agency, homeowners are more likely to suffer lightning fire damage from June to August. Those sunny mornings transform quickly into fierce afternoon and evening showers. The storm frequency increases the odds of a residential strike.

However, strikes can occur at any time of year, leaving residents with a long list of expensive safety and cleanup needs. Anyone, therefore, is at risk, so it's crucial for owners in West Salem, WI, to understand the threat. The following are three things to know about the aftereffects of thunderstorm harm.

1. Lightning Damage Is Expensive

The Insurance Information Institute notes that in 2020, insurance companies handled 71,551 claims, paying out as much as $2.1 billion for damage. The group's report reveals that most individual requests for lightning-related destruction cost around $28,000, with situations in California costing upwards of $217,000.

2. Strikes Affect Multiple Aspects of Your Home

The high cost for repairs stems from the various aftereffects of the lightning fire. The structure faces a significant power surge when the bolt hits your home in West Salem, WI. Because an electrical current can travel through electrical, cable and phone wiring, you may experience a direct hit or find yourself the victim of a nearby strike.

Inside the house, it can wreak havoc on the appliances and technology, frying their circuits or creating short fuses. Furthermore, fires can start, spreading throughout various rooms, and the bolt's impact could crack or breach structural materials and the foundation.

3. Your Home Needs Professional Assessment

During a house fire or lightning-related event, leave the house. Request help certified fire damage experts who can assess the property, determine the extent of the damage and put together an action plan for cleanup and repair.

Lightning fire is common and devastating. Restoration is needed to ensure the property is safe to use; therefore, work with specialists who understand storm impact and how to remediate the damage.

Top 5 Mistakes When Using a Fire Extinguisher

4/19/2022 (Permalink)

The Top 5 Mistakes To Avoid When Using A Fire Extinguisher

Most homes have a fire extinguisher, but do you know how to use one properly? Do you know where it is located in your house or residential complex? The biggest mistake is to put off learning until it's too late.

1. Forgetting the Safety Pin

The pin prevents accidental use of the fire extinguisher. However, if you forget to disarm it, the tool will not be able to do its job. Locate it on the handle, and pull upward to remove.

2. Touching the Nozzle

A CO2 extinguisher causes the nozzle to be extremely cold to the touch. This can possibly harm the skin. To be safe, don't touch this part of the fire extinguisher. The CO2 kind can be identified its stiffer nozzle and absence of a pressure gauge. Regardless, it's best to keep humans away from the front end.

3. Aiming Too High

The natural instinct is to start at the top of the flames and work your way down. However, it's most effective to make a sweeping motion at the base of the fire. This way, whatever is igniting the flames will go out more quickly.

4. Getting Too Close

Furthermore, panic sets in during a fire emergency. Resist the urge to get as close to the fire as you can. This will only make you vulnerable to burns. In most small cases, like a kitchen fire, it can be put out farther away.

5. Being Overconfident

Firefighters are trained to put out fires for a reason. It's harder than it looks. Many individuals will think that they extinguished the flames, so they are done. That isn't the case. After doing the sweeping motions, wait to see if the fire reignites.

Large fires are often too difficult for an extinguisher to put out. If the flames get out of hand, evacuation is the best plan. If fire damage occurs, you will need to contact the local fire damage remediation experts in Onalaska, WI. Cleanup on your own is not safe due to possible structural damage.

Preparing Your Home and Family for a Fire

2/14/2022 (Permalink)

Kitchen with fire damage A residential kitchen was almost burnt to ashes in La Crosse County. If you experience a Fire Emergency, call SERVPRO.

Prepare Your Family And Home For A Fire

Fire safety is one of the most important things you can teach your children about your home. Having a fire escape plan involves more than just telling everyone to vacate your house in La Crosse, WI, if a fire should break out. To help your plan go smoothly, you must prepare both your home and your family for the possibility of fire.

Preparing Your Home

The first line of defense against a home fire is your alert system. You should install smoke detectors throughout your home in prominent places:

  • Inside every sleeping area
  • Outside every sleeping area
  • In a middle common area on every level

It’s not enough to install the detectors, however. Test the detectors frequently. A sensible time to do so is when you practice your fire escape plan. This tells you if your smoke detectors are working and if they’re all connected like they’re supposed to be.

It’s also important to make sure that there are clear paths to safety. When you are devising a plan, check to see if there are two exits out of every room and that these exits are easy to use. Don’t block windows with chairs or other furniture.

Preparing Your Family

While your fire preparation plan may include contact information for a professional restoration company to make your house safe again, the main priority when a fire breaks out is the safety of the people inside. It’s essential that everyone knows what to do during a fire. Talk about how to get out and where to meet once you do. Set off the smoke detectors and have everyone walk through the process. If you have small children or elderly family members who will require assistance, designate someone specific to do so. Involving family in the plan and practice increases their chances of safety.

No one likes to think about a fire ravaging their home. With a comprehensive fire escape plan, however, you can teach your family how to stay safe if one should occur.

Commercial Property Fire: How Fires Can Result in Water Damage

1/4/2022 (Permalink)

A store with fire damage If you already have damage due to fire or water in your commercial property, call SERVPRO, we are ready to help you.

How Can Commercial Property Fires Cause Water Damage?

While fire damage is apparent after a blaze, many business owners are shocked when they are confronted with a surprising amount of water destruction, especially when it occurs outside of the areas affected by the disaster. However, water and fire go hand in hand, and that is somewhat obvious when you consider that moisture is needed in these three common methods to extinguish flames.

1. Fire Hose

The most significant contributors to excessive water in your facility are the hoses used by firefighters to combat and resolve the blaze. These hoses operate at nearly 400 psi, going through gallons of water per second. Additionally, rescuers may need to douse other areas of your building to prevent the flames from spreading through your property onto someone else’s.

2. Fire Suppression System

While some suppression systems are designed only to operate where fire damage is occurring, others open all sprinklers throughout the building when heat is detected. Therefore, the type of suppression system you have can contribute to water buildup after a disaster.

3. Fire Extinguisher

Beyond the main moisture contributors, there are also fire extinguishers. While these are filled with CO2 or other extinguishing agents, they all leave behind residue and water damage. Though mandatory, these tools can contribute to the overall contamination to your property.

Despite the problems that all of these tools inflict on your commercial property, each is necessary and life-saving in its own right. When a fire occurs, it is more important to resolve the issue quickly than to worry about the potential damage. Insurers know the risks, which is why many provide coverage for
a disaster restoration specialist in the La Crosse, WI, area who can help mitigate loss and restore operations.

Water and fire damage are a pair; you can’t have one without the other. However, with adequate insurance coverage, you can resolve and repair the issues sooner rather than later.