Recent Fire Damage Posts

Unseen Consequences: Understanding the Impact of Smoke Damage on HVAC Systems

4/16/2024 (Permalink)

When a fire occurs, the impact is not confined to the visible damage alone. Smoke, a pervasive byproduct of fires, can infiltrate various parts of a property, including HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems. In this blog, we'll delve into the often-overlooked consequences of smoke damage on HVAC systems and why addressing this issue is crucial for comprehensive fire damage restoration.

Smoke Residue in Ductwork

  • Smoke particles are incredibly fine and can infiltrate the HVAC ductwork. Over time, this residue accumulates, affecting the overall air quality and potentially causing long-term issues if left unaddressed.

Circulation of Odor

Smoke carries strong odors that can permeate the HVAC system. Without proper cleaning, these odors may linger, affecting the comfort of the indoor environment even after visible fire damage has been addressed.

Damaged HVAC Components

  • Smoke particles can settle on HVAC components, including fans, motors, and coils. This can lead to increased wear and tear, reduced efficiency, and potential malfunctions if the system is not thoroughly cleaned and restored.

Reduced Efficiency

  • Smoke residue acts as an insulator, reducing the efficiency of the HVAC system. As the system struggles to maintain optimal performance, energy consumption may increase, leading to higher utility bills.

Potential Corrosion

Smoke contains acidic elements that, when settled on HVAC components, can contribute to corrosion over time. Corroded parts can compromise the structural integrity of the system, leading to premature failure.

Contaminated Air Filters

  • Smoke particles can clog air filters, reducing airflow and causing the HVAC system to work harder. Regular replacement or thorough cleaning of filters is necessary to maintain optimal performance.

Residue in the Blower Motor

  • The blower motor, a critical component of the HVAC system, can accumulate smoke residue. This accumulation can hinder the motor's functionality, leading to decreased airflow and increased strain on the system.

Extended Restoration Process

  • Failure to address smoke damage in the HVAC system can prolong the overall restoration process. Thorough cleaning and, if necessary, replacement of HVAC components are essential to ensure a comprehensive restoration.

Persistent Odors

  • Even after addressing visible damage, the presence of smoke particles in the HVAC system can contribute to persistent odors. Proper cleaning and restoration are crucial for eliminating these lingering smells.

Professional Inspection is Key

Identifying and addressing smoke damage in HVAC systems requires a professional inspection. Experienced technicians can assess the extent of the damage, determine the appropriate cleaning methods, and ensure the system is restored to optimal functionality.

Understanding the impact of smoke damage on HVAC systems is essential for a holistic fire damage restoration process. By addressing not only visible damage but also the often-hidden consequences in the HVAC system, property owners can ensure a thorough recovery and the long-term efficiency of their heating and cooling systems. Professional inspection and restoration are key components of mitigating the impact of smoke damage, ensuring a healthier, more efficient indoor environment.

The Power of Thermal Imaging in Fire Damage Restoration: Benefits You Need to Know

11/16/2023 (Permalink)

Fire damage restoration is a complex process that involves identifying affected areas, assessing the damage caused, and developing a plan to restore the property. One of the most effective tools that fire damage restoration experts use is thermal imaging. Thermal imaging provides a non-invasive way to detect hidden fire damage and water damage, making the restoration process smoother and more efficient. In this blog, we will explore the benefits of using thermal imaging in fire damage restoration.

Detect Hidden Damage

Thermal imaging helps identify damage that may be invisible to the naked eye. It detects variations in temperature, revealing spots where fire damage and water damage have occurred. This is particularly useful in detecting hidden pockets of moisture that may contribute to mold growth. Thermal imaging allows restoration professionals to identify fire damage and water damage areas quickly and accurately. This speeds up the restoration process, minimizing disruption to occupants' lives.

Cost Savings

Early detection of fire damage and water damage through thermal imaging can prevent or minimize the need for expensive repairs. This can also reduce the overall cost of the restoration project.

More Accurate Assessments

Thermal imaging provides detailed information on the extent of the fire and water damage. This enables restoration professionals to develop more accurate assessments of the work needed and develop more effective remediation solutions.

Increased Safety

Thermal imaging enables restoration professionals to identify potential safety hazards, such as overheated wires, before they cause a fire or electrical shock.

Improved Communication

Restoration professionals can use thermal imaging to explain the extent of the damage to insurance adjusters, property owners, and occupants. This visual tool helps all parties involved understand the restoration process better.

Reduced Liability

By using thermal imaging as part of the restoration process, restoration professionals can demonstrate that they used best practices when restoring the property. This may reduce their liability in the event of further damage or claims.

In conclusion, thermal imaging is a powerful tool in the fire damage restoration process. It provides quick and accurate detection of hidden damage, speeds up the restoration process, and reduces overall costs. Thermal imaging also enhances communication, helps improve safety, and reduces liability for restoration professionals. It is a valuable tool that every fire damage restoration professional should have in their toolkit. If you're dealing with fire damage, contact a professional damage restoration company that uses thermal imaging for a more effective and efficient restoration process.

How to File a Claim After a Fire: A Step-by-Step Guide for Homeowners

8/20/2023 (Permalink)

A fire at your home can be a devastating experience. Besides the physical damage to your property and belongings, there are emotional and financial stresses that come with the aftermath. That's why having insurance to cover the damage caused by a fire is important. Once you've ensured the safety of everyone involved, the next step is filing an insurance claim. In this blog post, we'll outline the steps to guide you in filing a claim after a fire.

Contact Your Insurance Company

The first step to take after a fire is to contact your insurance company immediately. Your insurance provider can help you determine your coverage and guide you through the claims process. Insurance companies usually have a 24/7 emergency contact number, so you can make the call even outside regular business hours. Provide as much information about the fire as possible, including the date, time, location, and cause if known.

Secure your belongings

It's essential to protect your property from further damage after a fire. Secure the property by boarding up any broken windows, doors, and holes. Cover up any roof damage and tarp over the area to prevent further water damage if the fire department has used water to put out the fire. Protect the interior by keeping the power off until properly inspected by a qualified electrician.

Create an inventory of all damaged or lost belongings as early on as possible. Take photos or videos of the damage if it is safe to do so. You can start to remove any undamaged contents and clothing to use in your list of personal property items that have been affected by the fire. This inventory will be useful when working with your insurance company and help determine the amount of coverage you may receive.

Document the Damage and expenses

Once it is safe to re-enter the property, document all the damages in detail. List down all the items, including any damage to walls, ceilings, and floors. Take multiple photos of the damage, and make sure each item is documented. Make a detailed list of what has been lost and damaged and any other costs you may incur from the fire. This information will be critical to making an accurate claim.

Track all the expenses you incur during the fire recovery process. Keep detailed receipts, invoices, and other pertinent documents to show the costs of temporary lodging, transportation, storage, and living expenses. Keep all your receipts relating to any additional expenses you are incurring as a result of the fire, such as meals, accommodation, transport, etc.

Work with Insurance Adjuster

After assessing the damage and reviewing the inventory, your insurance company will send an insurance adjuster to your home. The adjuster will evaluate the extent of damage and determine the amount of coverage that your policy provides. Work closely with the adjuster during the inspection to ensure that all damage is adequately recorded. Be sure to ask questions and clarify any concerns you have.

After assessing the damage and calculating the cost, the insurance company will prepare a settlement offer for review. They will provide you with a full and final settlement amount subject to your deductible and limitations and exclusions under your policy. Acceptance or rejection of the offer in writing will indicate clear and final acceptance or rejection of the offer. If you disagree with the final settlement, you may dispute or negotiate with your insurance company.

Once you have the insurance payout, it's time to begin to repair and rebuild your home. Work with a reliable contractor, and be sure to keep all documents and receipts of the work done. Keep track of the payments made to contractors and ensure that the work is up to standard.

In conclusion, filing a claim after a fire can be a complex process, but it doesn't have to be overwhelming. By following a step-by-step guide and working with your insurance company, you can protect your legal rights, secure the compensation you deserve, and begin the recovery process. Always be honest and open about your claim, and ensure that you have proof and documentation to support your claim. With perseverance and determination, you can rebuild your property and move forward with your life.

5 Reasons Why You Should Leave Puffback Soot Cleanup to the Professionals

4/12/2023 (Permalink)

When your furnace malfunctions and sends soot throughout your home, it’s known as a puffback. This can be a stressful and overwhelming situation for any homeowner, and the urge to clean up the soot yourself may seem like the best solution. However, attempting to clean puffback soot yourself can actually cause more harm than good. Here are a few reasons why you should leave the cleanup to the professionals.

Health Risks

Soot from a puffback is not just a cosmetic issue, it can also pose serious health risks. Soot contains a variety of harmful particles, including carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and other toxic chemicals. Cleaning up soot yourself can expose you to these dangerous particles, which can cause respiratory issues, skin irritation, headaches, and other health problems.

Incomplete Cleaning

Cleaning up puffback soot requires specialized equipment and expertise. Simply wiping down surfaces with a cloth or vacuuming can leave behind harmful particles that can continue to cause problems. Professional cleaners use specialized equipment and techniques to ensure that all soot particles are removed, leaving your home safe and clean.

Further Damage

Cleaning up soot yourself can actually cause further damage to your home. Soot can be difficult to remove and can easily spread to other areas of your home if not cleaned properly. Additionally, using the wrong cleaning products or techniques can cause further damage to your walls, floors, and furniture. Professional cleaners have the experience and knowledge to safely and effectively remove soot without causing additional damage.

Insurance Coverage

If you attempt to clean up puffback soot yourself and cause additional damage to your home, your insurance company may not cover the costs of repair. Professional cleaners are trained to handle these situations and can work with your insurance company to ensure that all damage is properly documented and covered.

Peace of Mind

Dealing with a puffback can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. Hiring a professional cleaner can provide you with peace of mind knowing that the job is being handled safely and effectively. You can focus on getting your life back to normal while the professionals take care of the cleanup.

In conclusion, while the urge to clean up puffback soot yourself may be strong, it’s important to leave the job to the professionals. They have the specialized equipment, knowledge, and expertise to safely and effectively remove all traces of soot from your home. Don’t put your health or your home at risk, call a professional cleaner to handle the job.

Top Causes of Kitchen Fires

2/7/2023 (Permalink)

Fires in the kitchen are a problem that is often preventable. Kitchen fires often occur because of negligent cooking habits, such as leaving food unattended on the stove or overloading electrical outlets with appliances. In order to avoid these types of accidents, keep your kitchen clean and organized and follow proper safety procedures when cooking or using any type of equipment.

Cooking equipment

Use proper cooking equipment. The most common cause of kitchen fires is using inappropriate or unsafe appliances, such as a toaster oven that doesn't have an automatic shutoff switch. Don't leave cooking unattended. If you must leave your stovetop, turn off the burner(s) and keep pot handles facing away from the front edge of the range hood so they don't block airflow if there's a fire in progress. Don't use flammable liquids to start a fire, this includes gasoline and lighter fluid (which are both highly flammable). Instead, consider using matches or lighters to light candles or incense sticks safely indoors--and never smoke while doing so.

Heating equipment

Heating equipment is one of the most common causes of kitchen fires. The following are examples of heating equipment that can cause fires. Range hoods and fans. Microwave ovens, toaster ovens and coffee makers with heating elements. To prevent fires caused by these items, use approved extension cords and do not overload outlets with too many appliances.

If you suspect an electrical short, turn off power at the main breaker box before investigating further; never stick your hand into the outlet while it's live! If smoke comes out when you open up an electric panel box outdoors, don't try to fix it yourself--call 911 immediately so firefighters can ensure everyone's safety while they come out and repair whatever caused this problem in the first place."

Smoking materials

Smoking materials are a common cause of kitchen fires. Cigarettes, cigars and pipes are all considered smoking materials. Keep them out of reach from children and pets (and never leave them unattended). Never smoke near heat sources such as ovens or stoves; this includes warming drawers on refrigerators or freezers.

Kitchen fires can be caused by many things and should be prevented if possible. All fires have a cause, so it's important to know what causes them. Cooking on an open flame or stovetop without proper supervision is one of the most common causes of kitchen fires.

Appliance Maintenance

Poorly maintained or malfunctioning appliances are another major contributor to kitchen fires. Make sure that all of your appliances are working properly before using them. If you notice any electrical issues with an appliance (such as sparks), unplug it immediately until they can be repaired by a professional technician at least once every six months--or more often if necessary.

Fires in the kitchen can be caused by many things and should be prevented if possible. It is important to have working smoke detectors in your home and always be aware of what is going on around you while cooking. If you notice any strange smells or flames coming from your stovetop, immediately turn off the burner and call 911 before calling an electrician or other professional help. Give SERVPRO a call 24/7 for your fire emergency. 

What is Smoke Damage?

12/7/2022 (Permalink)

Soot damage on white wall Smoke damage can be a big burden, but it doesn’t have to be. SERVPRO of Bath/ Brunswick is the right smoke damage restoration company for you.

What is Smoke Damage?

Smoke damage is one of the most common types of property damage that occurs during fires. It can be difficult to remove, because smoke permeates into surfaces, walls and other materials. If you have smoke damage on your property, it's essential to act quickly—the longer you wait after a fire, the harder it is to repair the damage done by the smoke itself.  

Definition of Smoke Damage

Smoke damage is caused by a fire. It can result from a range of materials, including wood, plastic, and metal. Smoke damage can cause structural damage and odor problems.

The smoke settling on furniture or other items within the building will cause discoloration over time due to the material's exposure to high temperatures during combustion—and sometimes even after an item has been removed from its original location.

Types of Smoke Damage

Of all the people who experience smoke and fire damage, you're probably not the first. In fact, there's almost certainly someone in your neighborhood who has been through this before.

It's important to remember that every case of smoke damage is different. Even if you have had smoke damage before, it's still possible that what happened to your neighbor will be different from what happens with your Belfast, ME home. There are so many variables involved in a fire that it can be difficult to predict exactly what might happen when one occurs—but there are some commonalities between all fires and their resulting damages. 

Fire Damage Is Not Limited to Structures

This is one mistake many people make when thinking about how much damage was caused by a fire: they assume only buildings can get damaged by them. However, any structure or object that gets close enough to a fire—and even some things that aren't close enough but were exposed indirectly—can sustain significant amounts of smoke damage as well as heat-related destruction. Therefore, people should consider all potential types of structures when estimating how much repair work they'll need after an incident like this occurs at their home or business.

Categories of Smoke Damage

First, it's important to understand that smoke damage can be caused by many things.

It may seem obvious that a fire is the cause of smoke damage; however, there are actually many other instances when this type of damage occurs.

The three main categories of smoke damage are:

  • Fire damage (from a smoldering fire or an actual flame).
  • Appliance malfunctioning (whether caused by a mechanical failure or improper use).
  • Cooking fire (whether accidental or intentional).

Smoke damage can be a big burden on your life, but it doesn’t have to be. SERVPRO of Bath/ Brunswick is the right smoke damage restoration company for you. With years of experience, high level of training, and state-of-the-art equipment, our team can handle any size smoke damage cleanup necessary. Our team will work hard to make sure everything is back to normal as soon as possible.

Securing and Restoring Your Property After a Fire

8/26/2022 (Permalink)

Secure Your Business Property

If fire damage occurs to your Brunswick, ME, business, there will be a lot to do. One of the most important tasks will be protecting your property from further damage.

Securing the Property

What do criminals, wildlife, and inclement weather have in common? They can all wreak havoc upon a fire-damaged building. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to secure your business property.

  • Install a security fence
  • Tarp over openings
  • Board up broken windows

When a fire department extinguishes a fire, they often break windows and cause other damage that leaves your building vulnerable to looting and other dangerous situations. Inspect the structure for openings and entry points, and block them off using either plywood or a tarp. A security fence can add a second layer of protection.

Remember that your business could be liable for injuries sustained on the property, even by someone who did not have permission to be there. Following these steps will help protect your business from further harm while you are busy repairing the initial fire damage. Additionally, if the insurance company finds you did not take adequate steps to secure the site, they may refuse to pay for any secondary damage that they deem occurred as a result of negligence.

Restoring the Property

In addition to outside factors, soot from the fire and water from the extinguishing efforts can also cause further damage if left too long. It is important to begin the fire cleanup process as soon as possible. Remove the standing water using either a pump or specialized vacuum. Use a dehumidifier to dry out any remaining water. Clean the smoke and soot from the affected surfaces using an appropriate cleaner and technique. There are a variety of products available on the market for this. Throw out all items that cannot be completely dried and cleaned. Finally, repair or replace all damaged items.

Protecting your property and restoring fire damage can seem like a Herculean task. Fortunately, a professional restoration team can help you get your business back to normal quickly and safely.

Your Responsibilities as a Landlord After a Fire

6/16/2022 (Permalink)

A room with soot and fire damage Fire damage restoration and cleanup are no problem for SERVPRO! If you've experienced a fire in your home, call the right company!

After A Fire, What Are Your Landlord's Responsibilities?

Landlords are responsible for providing a safe, livable space for their tenants. There are several things you need to do to facilitate the restoration of your property in Bath, ME if it is damaged in an apartment fire.

Open Lines of Communication

As a landlord, it is your responsibility to make sure that the damage done to the structure is fixed so that it is habitable again. It is also important to stay committed to and informed about the process so that you can pass pertinent information on to your tenants. Make sure to establish and maintain contact with the following immediately after fire damage:

  • Fire officers
  • A fire remediation company
  • Your insurance agent

The fire officer can let you know when the building is safe to enter to start repairs and may give you an idea of what repairs are needed.

Restoration specialists can give you a more detailed, itemized list of tasks they must complete to mitigate the fire damage in your building and how much the full process is likely to cost.

Your insurance agent can send an adjuster to document the scene and get work on your claim started so that you are able to cover the cost of repairs.

Encourage Renters' Insurance

If you have good insurance, the damage the apartment fire causes to the structure and the plumbing and electrical systems within it are likely to be covered by your policy. Your tenants' belongings, however, are not. Once disaster strikes, it's too late for them to think about protecting their personal property. When tenants sign their leases, encourage them to obtain renters' insurance. This type of policy can cover not only items damaged in a fire but also may provide the money they need to secure temporary housing while repairs are being made.

No matter how well you maintain your property, an apartment fire may still occur. By keeping up with your responsibilities and keeping tenants informed about theirs, however, you may be able to get the property restored more quickly.

3 Tips for Making a Family Fire Escape Plan

4/9/2022 (Permalink)

bathroom with fire damage Our team at SERVPRO of Bath/Brunswick came into this home ready to help after severe fire damage. Call us when you need it!

Three Points To Consider When Making A Family Fire Escape Plan

In the event that a fire occurs in your family's Phippsburg, ME, home, it's paramount that you know what you're doing. Everyone needs to be able to exit the house swiftly. In fact, you should only call 9-1-1 and find a fire restoration service once you're safe. So, here are three tips for making a family fire escape plan.

1. Inspect Your Home

The first and most essential step to take when making an escape plan is to inspect your home. Gather everyone that's mobile and take a walk around your house. Look for multiple ways to exit your home from each room. You should also mark every location of the following:

  • Doors
  • Windows
  • Smoke Alarms

Complete this step by drawing out your pathways so you won't forget. You can also show this fire preparation map to visitors.

2. Assign a Caregiver

Since you're in a family, chances are that you have young or old individuals in your home. You may also have someone with a disability. If any such people may be unable to find an exit without help, you should assign a caregiver that can provide guidance. You may also want to assign a secondary caregiver in case the first one is unavailable. Make sure that this caregiver knows how to direct this individual in the event that the two are separated. The caregiver should also know the fire escape plan for the assigned individual's room.

3. Find a Meeting Place

In order to round out your escape plan, you'll need to have a meeting place outside of your home. By finding somewhere to meet, you can ensure that everyone will be accounted for quickly. Decide on an area that's easy to find and not too far away. An object like a mailbox or a lamppost is especially helpful, mainly because it provides a more specific spot. Be sure that everyone has this fire escape place memorized and has the ability to reach it. You may be hesitant to even imagine your family enduring a fire. However, preparing for one is essential. If a home fire does occur, ensure that you'll know what to do.

How Do I Get Rid of Cigarette Smoke in My Home?

2/2/2022 (Permalink)

How Do I Get Cigarette Smoke Out of My House?

No matter how they got there, smoke smells in your home are rarely welcome. Whether you’re the victim of a visitor who smoked in your Brunswick, ME, home or whether you’ve only recently quit, you’ll be glad to know there are plenty of ways to get the smell out. Here are three simple tips for post-smoke home deodorization.

Cause of the Smell

Smoke in your environment isn’t comprised of just one material. In fact, environmental smoke is a mixture of more than 4,000 compounds. Either via direct contact or through a building’s HVAC system, smoke can penetrate things like:

  • Furniture
  • Walls
  • Carpets

No matter how you got smoke in your home, wherever it is, here are some of the easiest home deodorization tips.

Remove and Rinse

Getting rid of smoky materials can make a huge difference in getting rid of cigarette smoke odors. Remove as many fabrics and porous materials possible from the smoky room. Next, toss any pillows, curtains, blankets, etc. into a cold washing machine cycle with two cups of vinegar added.

Try Baking Soda

When it comes to carpets and furniture, baking soda is your best option. This simple home ingredient is known for absorbing smells, including smoke aromas. Sprinkle lots on soft surfaces like mattresses and upholstery. Let it sit at least 15 minutes then vacuum.

Use Ozone

Sometimes the simplest solutions are just not enough for the smoke aroma you face. That’s when it’s time to bust out the big guns and get an ozone machine. Ozone is responsible for the smell we notice after a spring rain. Ozone machines work by releasing modules of ozone that burst to release that spring-like aroma.

A smoky home can be a pain to those with allergies, and a big problem when it’s time to sell. Try these tips or talk with our experts in ozone gas treatment, to learn what your home deodorization options are.

Why Secure a Building After a Fire?

1/3/2022 (Permalink)

Why Is It Necessary To Secure A Structure After A Fire?

A building with fire damage may not seem like a desirable location, but there are several factors that can attract looters, trespassers, or vandals. Here are a few reasons why a building owner or manager should secure the premises after a fire has been extinguished.

To Prevent Further Damage

Every person that enters a building damaged by fire is likely to make damage worse. Several factors may include:

  • Admitting debris
  • Admitting water
  • Grinding soot into surfaces

Boarding up holes in doors and windows and using tarps to cover a damaged roof are the best ways to prevent these types of damage. A building owner may also want to consider installing security fencing until restoration is complete.

To Limit Liability

A property owner may be liable if anyone, including a third-party, sustains an injury on the location of a fire. Security measures can make it more difficult for trespassers to get into a structure that has fire damage and risk becoming injured.

To Discourage Looting

A number of items in a fire-damaged property may be desirable to looters. Even after many contents and parts of a structure have become damaged or destroyed, a business may retain some elements, such as

• Inventory
• Fixtures
• Wiring

Looting may still pose a risk regardless of whether building materials, fixtures, or other contents are intact or in need of being disposed of and replaced. A board-up, combined with security fencing, can help to limit losses and damage caused by trespassing.

Securing a building demonstrates an owner's desire to mitigate damage. Most insurers will seek evidence that mitigation is taking place. Securing a location with fire damage is one of the best ways to indicate an intention to restore the building for functional use as soon as possible. Start by contacting a service that specializes in fire cleanup, security, and protection from the elements in Bath, ME.