Recent Fire Damage Posts

How Are Smoke and Soot Cleaned From Fire Damaged Orlando Homes?

5/21/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage How Are Smoke and Soot Cleaned From Fire Damaged Orlando Homes? Smoke and soot damages are some of the most difficult to clean.

Fire Damage Restoration for Private Residents in Orlando

When materials burn at high temperatures, they release carbon, sulfurs, and other particles into the surrounding environment in the form of smoke. Although containing the fire within a single room, the smoke released can often travel throughout the home, rising upward and entering pockets of clean air. It is this process that often results in extensive damages even when the flames themselves damaged a relatively small area.

Remediating fire damage in Orlando is as much about cleaning away stubborn soot deposits as it is about removing or repairing charred materials. SERVPRO has certified fire and smoke damage technicians (FST) to help restore your property after an unfortunate event like a fire. By learning the behavior of smoke, how it travels, and how best to approach smoke residues, we are confident of getting your home back to its preloss condition efficiently.

Thick smoke that comes into contact with colder surfaces creates smoke deposits. Equally, as smoke travels, soot is dropped to the ground level and can land on mattresses, furnishings, or flooring. This process can often be exacerbated by firefighting procedures which use water and result in soot setting into fabrics. SERVPRO tackles this issue using chemical agents and techniques like foam cleaning that can help to prevent soot from causing permanent damages and resulting in expensive replacements.

There are two different types of smoke damages. The first is wet smoke, which is caused by the burning of synthetic materials. Natural materials like woods and certain fabrics create dry smoke. Agitative cleaning methods using corrosive chemicals as well as sandblasting techniques can be extremely effective against wet smoke, which is thicker and harder to remove. We remediate dry smoke damages by applying sanitizers or wet cleaning methods.

Despite the best cleaning efforts, it is often the case that smoke odors remain behind after removing all signs of residue. SERVPRO use thermal foggers that vaporize solvents to remove unpleasant odors after a fire. These solvents contain pairing agents that bond with odor particles and neutralize them rather than merely masking the odor temporarily.

Property damages are stressful experiences, contact SERVPRO of Apopka-Wekiva at (407) 788-3124 for expert assistance and remediation.

Orlando has more than 100 lakes. Read more here.

How Correct Fire Restoration Can Increase the Value of Your Orlando Home

4/23/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage How Correct Fire Restoration Can Increase the Value of Your Orlando Home Call SERVPRO to mitigate your home's property damage.

When everything seems lost after a house fire in Orlando, SERVPRO is close by and ready to help your family recover as quickly as possible. Part of recovering after a disaster includes stabilizing your family's financial health. We help you do this by helping you reduce expenses related to the mitigation and restoration of your house.  

Homeowners in Orlando can rely on SERVPRO to not only clean up fire damage but to also point out ways that increase the value of the home while lowering the costs involved. There are many ways that this can occur during restoration. Many help in other ways, as well. For instance, restoring a property to exactly look as it did before the fire can require replacements that may pose difficulties in obtaining. These may create problems with passing inspection, as well.  

Updating a home to current standards might seem like the more costly option to many homeowners, but SERVPRO professionals keep your interests in mind as we look at your house's fire damage. SERVPRO specialists keep up-to-date on both IICRC standards and local requirements. Utilizing a different kind of insulation than the original can cost less and protect your home's interior from outside temperatures which reduce heating and cooling costs over time. Adding insulation can also result in a tax deduction in some cases.  

Sometimes the original placement for air ducts is under the home. We can reposition the air ducts to areas that contain insulation which keeps them from losing the air's original temperature as quickly while it passes through on its way to your house's different rooms. Relocating air ducts can help reduce heating and cooling costs, as well.  

You can rely on the skills and resourcefulness of SERVPRO of Apopka-Wekiva. Our professionals want to help make your home “Like it never even happened.” by not only restoring your home but guiding your family back to a secure and bright future. Please call us at (407) 788-3124 for fire damage mitigation, cleaning, and restoration in Zellwood, Lockhart, or Eatonville.

Orlando was originally named Jernigan. Read more here.

Call Our Certified Technicians For All Your Orlando Home Restoration Needs

4/4/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Call Our Certified Technicians For All Your Orlando Home Restoration Needs Our experienced professionals are ready to handle your fire damage restoration so you can get back to living safely in your home.

Seek Help from Professionals for Orlando Fire Damage

Even a seemingly minor fire puts your Orlando home at risk of persistent and permanent harm. The residues and odors left after a blaze are difficult to manage without specialized training. Every fire event presents complexities a layperson cannot fathom. Fortunately, our team of experts are well-trained and bring years of experience to every fire mitigation project including yours.

The first tasks facing our restoration professionals responding to your Orlando fire damage challenge are often water removal and structural drying. Although the prioritization of water mitigation might come as a surprise, when you consider the efforts of the firefighters as they knocked down the flames the ordering of tasks makes more sense. Standing water creates safety hazards and exposes your damaged home to the possibility of severe secondary harm like mold damage. Because water loss mitigation is our other primary focus, we are prepared to start there and then move to fire cleanup.

Fire residues vary depending on the fuel burned. SERVPRO is familiar with evaluating and managing different types of soot as we move from space to space within your home. Wood and paper burn fast and hot, leaving an ashy aftermath that vacuums and brushes away. Protein-based fires in kitchens deposit a thin, hard to remove film with a strong odor. Solvents and abrasive tools might be needed.

Fabric and electrical cord fires coat surfaces in thick, sticky soot. Our SERVPRO technicians use their IICRC training to match cleaning products with the debris encountered. Wetting agents and surfactants loosen this type of soiling, and agitation ensures all layers release for wipe off.

Perhaps the most taxing test of our SERVPRO crew’s abilities is deodorization after fire damage. No matter how clean we leave surfaces and possessions through our efforts, if a smoky odor persists, it is impossible to put the disaster in the past. We use a tiered system of charring removal and deep cleaning followed by the use of various advanced technologies to eliminate the smell. Cover-ups are temporary, but equipment like thermal foggers or hydroxyl generators seek out odor-bearing particles in the air and on surfaces and neutralize them at a molecular level.

SERVPRO of Apopka-Wekiva is ready to assist with all aspects of residential fire damage restoration. Give us a call for a speedy assessment of the damage at (407) 788-3124.

Click here for more informaiton on sports and fitness programs in Orlando.

You Just Experienced A Fire... Now What?

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage You Just Experienced A Fire... Now What? A fire can be devastating, but we are here to help 24/7 365.

A fire in your home or office can be one of the  most overwhelming experiences of your life.  You find yourself standing in the middle of a room or building staring at the cared remains of your personal or professional life.  You have no idea what to do next.

Start by taking a deep breath and relaxing for a minute.  The fire is over and you can't undo the past.  All you can do now is get things back to normal.  Despite how bad things may look, it really is not as bad as it seems.

For starters, and most important, you are OK.  What you are looking at is property, which for the most part can be replaced or restored.  That's not so easy with people.

So, what do you do about the items that were damaged?  Start by calling your insurance company.  Let them know what happened and start the claims process.  

Your next call should be to your local SERVPRO.  Our team has unsurpassed expertise in handling fire/smoke damage and restoration. Whatever needs to happen, our team will handle it.  We can board up your property (if needed) and start the process of working with your insurance company to create a recovery plan that includes the complete restoration of your property.


There are also a few things you should not do:

·         Do not wipe or attempt to clean anything.  This will be hard, but you need to leave this to the professionals to prevent further damage

·         Do not walk around the property or sit on any furniture that was damaged.

·         Do not eat any food or canned goods exposed to heat.

·         Do use any medications that were exposed to heat

·         Do not turn on any electrical appliances.

While this may all sound a bit overwhelming, everything will be fine. Our team of professionals will work with you and your insurance company to get your life back to normal as quickly as possible.

Smoke Damage? SERVPRO Can Help!

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Smoke Damage?  SERVPRO Can Help! Have a smoke or fire issue? Let SERVPRO get it resolved quickly and easily so you can get back to your life!

While a fire causes damage that is easy to see, smoke damage is a lot less obvious.  As a fire burns smoke and soot are spread through the entire property, especially is the heating or air conditioning system happens to be running at the time of the fire.

Have you ever removed a t-shirt that seemed to be fine while you were wearing it, but it had a very bad smell once you removed it?  Well, the same thing happens with soot and smoke from a fire.

Curtains, rugs, furniture, clothing and lots of other items are going to quickly absorb the odors from the fire.  You may not notice it once you have spent sometime inside the area affected by the fire.  Everyone, else however, will experience these odors, likely very strong odors, as soon as they enter the property.

The experts at SERVPRO can eliminate these odors and get your home or office odor-free after a fire.  We have the equipment and expertise to handle everything that needs to be done.

We also work with you and your insurance company to get your fire and smoke claim resolved quickly and easily so you can get back to your life.  We will be with you through every step of the process from start to finish.

If you are the unfortunate victim of a fire or smoke issue call SERVPRO anytime - 24/7 365!


Fire and Smoke Restoration

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

The fire trucks may be gone but without proper immediate response, the real damage and the costs are just beginning. To return your residential or commercial property to its normal condition requires professional restoration. This is not the job for a do-it-yourself type of person.

For results you can have confidence in, hiring a certified restoration company would be your best bet. Restoration to a property can be complex. Proper smoke and odor removal are tasks that require technicians certified in these specific areas.

When selecting a certified restoration firm several factors must be considered:

  • Formal and up-to-date specialized training
  • Health and safety certifications
  • Experience in a wide range of restoration projects
  • Proof of proper insurance and licenses

In addition to removing residue, ridding your home of its smoky odor is necessary. Professionals use this four-step process to remove odors:

  • Remove the source of the odor, as possible, including unsalvageable debris that contributes to odor generation and recontamination of cleaned and deodorized areas.
  • Clean salvageable surfaces and items to physically remove odor-causing residue.
  • Chase remaining odor with an odor counteract act. In the case of smoke, create a deodorizing fog or gas that seeks out and combines with odor-causing substances.
  • Seal salvageable surfaces that are inaccessible or slightly scorched, not only for aesthetic purposes, but primarily to encapsulate odor and prevent progressive recontamination.

Understanding the effects of a fire can help homeowners evaluate the damage to their home. By learning more about residue clean-up and deodorization after a fire, you can minimize the need for costly repair. Fire and smoke restoration experts can help you return your home and furnishings to its normal condition. So I guess you could say it would be “Like it never even happened.”

Why Fire Damage Restoration Should Be Done By A Professional

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

With responsive and precise fire damage repair, even the worst disasters can be put in the past. Roaring flames have been one of man’s greatest enemies since the dawn of history, and though it’s easier to handle these days, it can still cause havoc if it gets out of control. Not only can the flames cause enormous damage, the ash, soot and smoke residue that remains will make the home almost noxious to live in. Both can create irritating odors, discolor walls or ceilings and cause breathing issues if there is a high concentration of ash left over.

Professional fire damage repair will remove the ash and smoke residue left behind. This has to be done quickly because ash is acidic and will cause materials to deteriorate if allowed to sit for long. Restoration professionals work hard to provide a thorough cleanup.  This will include treatment of every surface that is affected by ash and soot. This includes cleaning down walls, ceilings, furniture and countertops. Ash and smoke will almost always be present in the vents and ducts as well, as they are quickly taken up by the HVAC system. Professionals will access the home’s ducts to clean them out as well, preventing either from entering the home once again.

Upon eliminating all of the ash, soot, and smoke, the home will quickly be free of any lingering odor.

Preventing Fires This Holiday Season

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

The holiday season is upon us and the streets and houses are covered in color. As you drive around you can see homes and businesses strung with lights, wreathes hanging on doors and trees lit up in windows. If you decide to pick out a real tree this year, remember to keep some safety tips in mind. The American Red Cross lists these important facts and tips on their web site at www.redcross.org.

HOLIDAY HOME FIRES

Fast Facts

• Nearly 47,000 fires occur during the winter holidays claiming more than 500 lives, causing more than 2,200 injuries, and costing $554 million in property damage.**

• On average, one of every 22 home fires started by Christmas trees result in death.***

• Candle fires are four times as likely to occur during the winter holidays.**

• During the winter holiday season, an average of 40 home fires per day are caused by children playing.**

• The number of home fires the American Red Cross has responded to has risen 10% since 2000.*

• Having a working smoke alarm reduces one’s chances of dying in a fire by nearly half.**

Preparedness Tips:

Place Christmas trees, candles, and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles.

Purchase flame retardant metallic or artificial trees. If you purchase a real tree, make sure that it has fresh, green needles that aren’t easily broken. Keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water.

Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.

Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.

Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over. Keep curious pets and children away from Christmas trees.

Keep anything that can catch on fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from your stove top.

Designate one person to walk around your home to make sure that all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.

Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.

Visit www.redcross.org/homefires for more information on how to keep your home fire safe during the holidays. Sources: American Red Cross,* U.S. Fire Administration,** and the National Fire Protection Association.*** 

We hope that everyone has a safe holiday season. If you have any fire or water damage issues please feel free to call us anytime, day or night. 

Removing Smoke Odors With An Ozone Generator

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

Contributed by Marty Hoffman, Operations Manager

Ozone treatments are one of the best tools for removing odor caused by smoke damage. One question we get asked frequently is whether ozone treatments are bad for furniture and other possessions. I hope that this blog answers that question.

What is an ozone generator?

An ozone generator is a machine that generates the molecule ozone (O3), a highly reactive molecule that reacts chemically with the particles it comes into contact with. Professional restoration companies and some drycleaners use industrial ozone generators to remove the smoke odor from furniture, clothes and other belongings after a fire.

How does it work?

Ozone works to remove odors by chemically changing the structure of the molecules in the smoke that are creating the smell. The extra oxygen atom attaches itself to the other molecules to create a new molecule that is non-offensive—and non-smelly—in a process called oxidation. As a gas, ozone can clean anywhere air is allowed to flow. That’s one of the features that makes it so effective in removing odors that other cleaning techniques just can’t touch.

The more smoke damage has been done, the more ozone is needed to eliminate the smell. There need to be enough ozone molecules to react with all of the offending molecules in order for the treatment to be successful.

So, is it bad for my stuff?

Ozone is the most effective way to remove odor caused by smoke damage. Professional restoration contractors can control the temperature, humidity, and treatment time carefully for maximum positive effects. In short—no, ozone is not bad for your belongings, as long as it is being controlled by a professional. The reason this is important is because professional restorers know and understand the power of ozone. They also know that there are certain materials that don’t do well when exposed to ozone—namely certain textiles, leather, rubber, and certain plastics.

Many people think that they can clean their clothes after a fire by washing them multiple times. But this will not remove the smoke odor. Ozone is also cleaner than other methods because it does not leave any byproducts or residue that need to be cleaned later.

As a form of oxygen, ozone itself is not dangerous. However, if overexposure occurs it can be harmful to lungs. This is another reason to allow a professional to perform the ozone treatment. They have the right equipment in place to protect themselves during the process, and once your items are returned to you, they are safe to be in your home.

Be Prepared In Case You Ever Have A Fire

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

Contributed by Marty Hoffman, Operations Manager 

The hours, days and weeks following a fire or water damage in your home or business can be simply overwhelming. having that we live in the "sunshine state" doesn't make things any better especially for the Orlando, Altamonte, and Ocoee areas. Surrounded by possessions that are soot-covered, flame-damaged or wet, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture: As long as everyone got out safely everything else is just stuff. But once the smoke clears or the water recedes, you will need to deal with that stuff, and the sooner the better.

From the beginning make sure that you are organized, amidst the chaos of your scorched surroundings.

Take notes on every conversation and online correspondence with your insurance company and restoration professionals, because in any stressful situation, miscommunication can happen. Save all receipts and original documents; only give photocopies upon request.

Your first call should be to your insurance agent/carrier. Not only is it required that you file your claim as soon as possible, it is also in your best interest. The sooner you get the process started, the sooner an insurance adjustor will arrive at your door to begin assessing damage.

A reputable cleaning and restoration team should be next on your call list like SERVPRO of Apopka/Wekiva. If you can find one that also specializes in professional repair services, you’ll save yourself time, money and headaches. Depending upon the extent of damage, your property will may first need to be secured (boarded up, for example), and a high quality restoration team with carpentry skills can perform that service for you.

Your restoration team should work with your insurance company to initiate a fire damage recovery plan that includes the complete restoration of your structure. Again, if your team is truly “full service,” the construction side will assess the structural damages while the cleaning and restoration specialists will work closely with you and your adjustor to determine which of your possessions can be cleaned…and which need to be inventoried for replacement. Often these services can be provided on site, but in the event that your contents have to be removed, make sure your team also offers the capability to electronically inventory, package, transport and store your belongings in a safe, climate controlled facility.

Now that you know the initial steps of the fire damage recovery process, here are a few tips on what NOT to do before the pros arrive:

·         Do not wipe or attempt to wash fire residue from walls, ceilings, or other absorbent surfaces

·         Do not use carpeting or upholstered furniture impacted by heavy smoke residues or debris

·         Do not use food items, canned goods or medications exposed to heat

·         Do not turn on computers, televisions, stereos or electrical appliances until they have been professionally cleaned and checked

With preparation, resources and trusted professionals in place—plus a healthy dose of patience and perspective, after the fact—you and your family or co-workers will make it through the process of fire damage recovery.

Trust a Professional When Dealing With Fire damage

3/25/2018 (Permalink)

It can be confusing trying to deal with the damages from a fire at your home or business. The IICRC has provided the following helpful information on handling this. Due to the intricate measures needed to properly clean up after a fire loss, having a trained team of professionals will help alleviate some of the stress. Give us a call and we will send someone out to help.

When the firefighters leave, it may seem like the danger has passed and the home is safe from further destruction, but without professionals to help clean the smoke damage, the building will never return to normal. While the principles behind fire restoration are fairly simple, it requires a lot of experience and manpower to perform adequately, and this means that it shouldn’t be attempted by a homeowner on his or her own.

While fire is always the immediate danger, once it is gone, what it leaves behind will continue to affect the house
. Ash and smoke, if left unhindered, will cause extensive corrosion, etching and discoloration, not to mention lingering powerful odors. Professionals that clean fire and smoke damage can stop this before it becomes a major problem, assuming they are contacted soon enough. There are many companies out there that advertise their ability to restore areas affected by fire, but only those with proper training and certification should be considered. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is the main oversight agency in this industry. The IICRC requires its registrants to take extensive coursework before earning their certification. This is a symbol of excellence, and those that uphold the standards that have been set can be contacted through the IICRC.

These professionals can clean smoke damage and restore items affected by a fire, but they must be brought to the site as soon as possible to halt the ongoing issues that ash residue can cause. The first thing that ash does to the home is discolor most surfaces. Anything that is made of plastic or was close to the fire will start discoloring within minutes, and within several hours, fiberglass and finishes on appliances will begin to yellow. Metals may also tarnish. After a few days pass, the ash will cause walls to discolor permanently, along with clothing and upholstery. Wood and vinyl will need to be refinished or replaced, and metal will start corroding.

If a professional isn’t hired to clean smoke and fire damage, the costs for restoration will skyrocket after a few weeks
. Metals may need to be replaced, carpet will permanently discolor and glass may be severely etched, which will necessitate replacement. It will also become apparent that the odors caused by the disaster may still be present and intense enough to be distracting. Because ash is acidic, the longer it takes to hire experts, the more destruction it will cause.

The first thing a trained, certified, professional company will do when on site is to identify all affected materials and the source of any odors. The only way to properly clean smoke and fire damage is to be extremely thorough. Ash residue is easily disturbed and can spread through the building with ease, causing nearly everything to need restoration. The experts will identify what can and cannot be salvaged, and will remove any built-up ash residue that is coating surfaces. Over time, ash builds up in layers, and may eventually form into a lacquer-like consistency. Once this is done, the restorers will locate the source of the odor, and treat it with specialized detergents that are formulated for neutralizing this kind of odor. Once materials are treated, they may be sealed off to prevent any further odor from permeating the air in the future.

This entire process is very detailed, and hiring a professional that can be trusted to do the job right is imperative
.

Red Cross and SERVPRO working together to serve Central Florida community

1/27/2017 (Permalink)

The fire fighters have just walked out of your home. It's past midnight. Your family is safe. You followed the two minute evacuation plan. But, as you look onto where you and your family once slept, played, ate and lived, now you see a soot covered, smoldering structure that will need serious repair. What do you do now? Who do you call to help you get your home back to normal? And then, when you do call someone, what happens next? Where will you and your family go? It's usually right about this time that an American Red Cross representative that the fire fighters contacted for you puts a blanket over your shoulders and tells you, It'll be okay, we are here for you. If you have never had this happen to you consider yourself lucky. If you have, you know what I'm about to talk about here.

For those that haven't and have never given to the Red Cross or thought to have helped out in some way let me tell you a little about them. May 21st 1881 Clara Barton started what is now the American Red Cross. It was modeled after the Swiss version of The Red Cross. It was bread out of the Civil War. After World War 2 they started the first civilian blood donation outfit.

Today they provide these services:

  • People affected by disasters in America
  • Support for members of the military and their families
  • Blood collection, processing and distribution
  • Health and safety education and training
  • International relief and development

 

And they do it all by donation and volunteer work.

 

https://www.redcross.org/donate/modf

Central Florida Fire Damage Restoration: What are the steps involved?

12/21/2016 (Permalink)

The hours, days and weeks following a fire in your home or business can be simply overwhelming. Surrounded by your soot-covered and flame-damaged possessions, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture: As long as everyone got out, thanks to proper disaster planning and preparation, everything else is just stuff. But once the smoke clears, you will need to deal with that stuff, and the sooner the better.

Your restoration team should work with your insurance company to initiate a fire damage recovery plan that includes the complete restoration of your structure. Again, if your team is truly “full service,” the construction side will assess the structural damages while the cleaning and restoration specialists will work closely with you and your adjustor to determine which of your possessions can be cleaned…and which need to be inventoried for replacement. Often these services can be provided on site, but in the event that your contents have to be removed, make sure your team also offers the capability to electronically inventory, package, transport and store your belongings in a safe, climate controlled facility.

 

Now that you know the initial steps of the fire damage recovery process, here are a few tips on what NOT to do before the pros arrive:

  • Do not wipe or attempt to wash fire residue from walls, ceilings, or other absorbent surfaces
  • Do not use carpeting or upholstered furniture impacted by heavy smoke residues or debris
  • Do not use food items or canned goods exposed to heat
  • Do not turn on computers, televisions, stereos or electrical appliances until they have been professionally cleaned and checked

 

With preparation, resources, and trusted professionals in place—plus a healthy dose of patience and perspective, after the fact—you and your family or co-workers will make it through the process of fire damage recovery. We hope that you never have to deal with any of this, but if you do, know that our team here at SERVPRO of Apopka/Wekiva will be there to help you through it.