Recent Fire Damage Posts

Leading cause of houses fires! Electrical Heaters!

7/28/2021 (Permalink)

Electrical heating-related fires most often occur in December, January, and February. Purchasing a cozy electrical space heater is a cost-efficient solution when temperatures drop, however, can be a devastating disaster when used improperly. According to the NFPA (National Fire and Protection Agency), electrical space heaters are the leading cause of most house fires. Here are a few tips on how to properly use your electric space heater and avoid fire hazards:

  • Electrical Fires: Electrical fires occur when the heating unit is not properly plugged into the wall outlet, most often plugged into an extension cord or power strip. To avoid fires:
    • Give your space heater space; at least 3 feet away from combustible materials
    • Do not plug other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater.
    • Plug the heater directly into the outlet
    • Avoid leaving the unit running overnight
  • Fire Starters: Electrical units placed too close to other combustible materials contribute to 79% of fatal home heating fires. Combustible materials include:
    • Household furniture
    • Clothes
    • Bed Mattress
    • Bedding materials

Before running your electrical heater, it’s important to understand the risks of fire and smoke damage. Fire damage can leave a lasting impact on your house and may cause additional smoke damage

Call SERVPRO at (570) 296-1177 to schedule a cleanup. Your SERVPRO of Pike/NE Monroe Counties professionals have the training, certifications, and equipment to Make it

"Like it never even happened.”

Do's and Do Not's of Fire Emergencies

5/4/2021 (Permalink)

After a fire coming back to the house or building where it happened can be a very emotional experience. Here are some tips on what to do and what not to do in your house after a fire.

What To Do After a Fire:

  • Keep hands clean so as to not furth soil upholstery, walls, or woodwork.
  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery, and carpet traffic areas
  • If electricity is off, empty the freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open
  • Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves.
  • Change the HVAC filter.

What NOT To Do After a Fire:

  • Do not attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat, or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
  • Don’t attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting your local SERVPRO.
  • Do not use canned or packaged foods or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat, or water.
  • Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
  • Do not send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.

Content by: SERVPRO Corporate

Pike/NE Monroe Counties Soot and Smoke Clean-up

5/4/2021 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot are very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allow us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may 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 Pike/NE Monroe Counties 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 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.

Top 3 Causes of Fires and Tips to Prevent Them

3/19/2021 (Permalink)

In this blog, we will discuss the top three causes of fires according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). We will also discuss standard tips to mitigate loss. Hopefully this article will leave you with an understanding of how to avoid these common causes of fires. 

1) Unattended Cooking

The number one cause of home fires is unattended cooking. This usually happens when people get distracted while cooking. It is important to never walk away from food on the stove. An easy way to avoid this is to set an alarm if you have to step away for a short amount of time. Another suggestion may be to have someone watch the food while you attend to other matters.

Fire extinguishers should be placed in every room of your home, especially in the kitchen and garage. You should also learn how to properly use a fire extinguisher to be prepared in case you have to use one.

2) Heating Equipment

Space heaters should be used if only a small portion of your home needs to be heated. Keep space heaters away from anything that could easily catch fire, including laundry, blankets, tapestry and furniture. If your home relies on a furnace during the winter, call a professional to get it inspected once a year to ensure it is running properly.

3) Faulty Wiring

Your home’s wiring is likely something that rarely crosses your mind.  Luckily, there are usually signs that point to a house having wiring that isn’t working correctly. A few noticeable signs are when your lights dim when you use other appliances, if you are only able to use one appliance at a time, and frequently have blown fuses.

Your first line of defense against home fires is a smoke alarm.  Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home and inside each bedroom, as well as tested monthly. This can help ensure that your family gets out in time in case a fire starts in your home.

If a fire strikes, you know you can count on SERVPRO of Pike / NE Monroe Counties to restore your home and make it "Like it never even happened."

--Michael Smitchel

Smoke Odor Factors

3/16/2021 (Permalink)

Fires can cause extensive damage throughout your home or property which requires the help of professionals to restore. Items can be burnt, soot-covered or damaged by water from firefighting efforts. The smell of soot and smoke can linger for a long time after a fire.

FACTORS THAT AFFECT SMOKE ODOR REMOVAL

Removing smoke odors from your home or place of business can seem pretty straightforward. However, the amount of time needed to remove the smoke odor will depend on a variety of factors. These include:

  • Types of materials burned: Materials throughout your home react differently to soot and smoke molecules. Porous hard surfaces such as wallpaper, wood, drywall, and paint can become permanently stained or discolored unless treated quickly. Metallic surfaces may begin to rust and corrode with acidic soot. Cleaning chemicals may seep into your carpet as it dries, carrying with it soot and smoke molecules that can cause stains.
  • Type of soot: Dry soot is easier to clean and can be dealt with by using a sponge and a low-alkaline detergent. Oily soot requires the use of special techniques and equipment to be safely removed from your home. SERVPRO has a host of products for every time of soot imaginable.
  • Size of the fire-damaged area: The square footage of a fire loss area usually determines how hard it will be to get clean.
  • Size of the fire: A larger fire can cause more damage, which will in turn lead to more potential for smoke odor throughout your property.
  • Time delay after fire: The longer you wait, the worse the smoke damage will get. Even if the damage seems minimal, most types of materials at home can start to yellow, discolor, rust, or corrode due to the impact of acidic soot or smoke particles. 

Smoke from a fire infiltrates all areas of a home. It can seep into carpeting, furniture, clothing, draperies, books and even woodwork. Often homeowners attempt to dissipate smoke smell with spray deodorizers and scented candles. These tactics only mask the odor of smoke and won't remove it from the home. Smoke particles bury themselves into fabrics, fibers, and other porous surfaces. In order to remove smoke smell completely, items need to be deeply cleaned.

CLEANING UP SMOKE DAMAGED ITEMS

Essentially everything in a home affected by fire smoke needs to be cleaned. Some items may only require thorough airing to remove smoke smell, but most items like carpeting, rugs, curtains, upholstery, and clothing will need a thorough cleaning and possible sanitization.

SERVPRO of Pike / NE Monroe Counties has access to several proprietary deodorizers and cleaning products that help make fire damage and smoke odor "Like it never even happened."

--Michael Smitchel

Top 4 Causes of House Fires

2/13/2021 (Permalink)

Fire. It’s one of the scariest dangers for any homeowner, and while the number of house fires in the United States has steadily declined in recent years, these incidents still contribute to thousands of deaths and billions of dollars of damage each year.

While a fire alarm system can alert your family to danger and help you stop the problem before it gets out of hand, understanding what causes a house fire and knowing how to prevent these incidents is essential for protecting your home.

But what are the dangers you should be watching out for and what are the most common causes of house fires? Knowing these answers can help you protect your family and also save you from an insurance headache in the future. Below are the four most common causes of house fires and tips on ways you can help prevent them.

  1. Electrical Fires

Electrical fires are one of the most common threats homeowners face. Whether the result of an overloaded electrical outlet or a malfunctioning appliance, electrical fires can start suddenly and cause a lot of damage. The best tips for avoiding an electrical fire are first, be smart with your home’s electricity use! Its best not to overload a circuit or leave your lights on overnight (especially halogen lights and other high-risk materials). Use power strips in areas where you might need to keep several appliances or devices plugged in continually like at a home office desk.

Another great tip for doubling the safety in your home is to conduct an annual inspection of the electrical system to help avoid house fires. Professional electricians can identify faulty wiring, damaged outlets, and other hazards and then provide the repairs to keep your system safe. In older homes, the wiring can often be on a single circuit, which can cause breakers to short often and heighten the risk of an electrical fire. A professional can check your property for this and fix it if needed.

  1. Cooking Fires

Cooking fires rank as the number one cause of house fires in the United States, with the majority of incidents occurring when food is left unattended after cooking. Most commonly this happens when frying food, or any time when large quantities of grease are involved. Most of us are aware of proper kitchen and cooking safety, but sometimes we can be forgetful.

Your best bet to avoid a cooking fire is simply to keep an eye on your food at all times. Just like when you’re driving, don’t take your eyes off the road—well, the stove in this case. If a fire does occur, your key to fire safety is to cut off the fire’s oxygen and fuel supplies. There are three things that cause a fire to continue one is the heat, the second is fuel, and the third thing is the oxidizing agent (most often oxygen). Get rid of one of these sides of the triangle and you can kill the fire. The best tips to stopping a kitchen fire, or another fire on your property is to suffocate it by removing the oxidizing agent. Grease fires in kitchens should be covered with a lid over the pan, never use water to get rid of a grease fire—throwing water on a grease fire will actually make it worse. An oven fire can be handled simply by closing the oven door and turning the oven off.

Be smart and train others who live in your home or on your property to know how to respond the second a flame gets started. Taking the time to train and teach your family members is one of the best ways to avoid an insurance claim and protect your property, home and family.

  1. Dryers

You may not think of your clothes dryer as a fire hazard, but this kind of equipment accounts for tens of thousands of house fires each year. The problem most frequently occurs when lint and dust are allowed to build up over time. This can cause the dryer vent to become clogged with highly flammable materials, which easily combust when exposed to high temperatures.

Your best tip for dryer safety is to clean the lint trap each time before you use the dryer, and to inspect and clean the dryer vent area to remove lint buildup and other potential blockages. Regular cleaning can ultimately make all the difference in avoiding a house fire. If other people in your house do the laundry, make sure they know to clean out the lint trap each time also. This simple practice can cut down on one of the main causes of so many different house fires.

  1. Candles

Candles may seem like the perfect fit for a romantic evening or a blessing in a moment of a blackout, but the minute you leave a lit candle in an unoccupied room you’re asking for trouble. We have two tips: always blow out a candle if you’re going to leave a room, and never place a lit candle in a spot near combustible items or where it could be tipped over.

Conclusion

It’s easy to assume you’re already practicing each of these safety tips in your home, but it’s easy to get lackadaisical and before long you might find yourself filing an insurance claim; something you never want to have to do. Take the time to sit down with your family and walk them through the risks and each of these tips. Teach them the proper steps to prevent a house fire and also the proper way to put out a fire in the home (remember, water isn’t always the answer). As you watch out for these common house fire hazards and take the necessary preventative steps, you can have peace of mind as you keep your family and property safe.

--Michael Smitchel

From 50 Firefighters to Re-Opened

7/28/2020 (Permalink)

Fire at 6:00 AM

An early morning kitchen fire on Monday caused heavy damage at Tony’s Restaurant & Pizzeria, a landmark pizza shop on Crystal Street in East Stroudsburg.

The fire, reported by an automatic fire alarm just before 6 a.m., not only temporarily knocked Tony’s out of business but left three apartments unlivable, and five people without a place to stay, said Fire Chief Dale Fetterly.

The fire also left a big question mark over when Tony’s neighbor, Derailed Taphouse, would reopen.

“Not sure yet,” said owner Marc Jackett, who opened the business last summer. He said it was difficult to determine what was damaged because there was no electrical or gas service to the building...

Enter SERVPRO

SERVPRO came in as soon as the scene was secure.  While SERVPRO cleaned the interior of Derailed from top to bottom, owners worked on getting electric and gas restored. After a fast and thorough SERVPRO cleaning, Derailed was able to reopen at 5:00pm that same day, less than 12 hours after the first alarm.

Source: Pocono Record

Kerosene Heater Safety

11/19/2018 (Permalink)

Kerosene Heater

If you use a kerosene heater in your home or place of business, you should take precautions against a number of serious hazards.

These dangers include:

Fire or explosion. Fire could be caused by operating the heater too close to furniture, draperies or other combustibles, by knocking over a lighted heater, or by accidentally igniting fuel when filling the tank. Explosions could be caused by use of the wrong kind of fuel, or by operating the heater in an area where there are combustible fumes.

Burns. Burns could be caused by direct contact with a heater, or by ignition of combustible clothing. Children especially should be kept at a safe distance from operating heaters. Even pets could be injured.

Asphyxiation. Kerosene heaters consume oxygen as they burn. If they are operated in a small room or in an inadequately ventilated area, oxygen in the air could be reduced to a dangerous level. Reduced oxygen supply could lead to incomplete combustion of fuel and the production of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas which in sufficient concentrations, or if breathed over a period of time, can kill without warning.

Indoor air pollution. In addition to carbon monoxide, kerosene heaters can emit such pollutants as carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide. Breathing these substances can create a risk, especially to such people as pregnant women, asthmatics, individuals with cardiovascular disease, elderly persons and young children.

These hazards can be minimized or averted by carefully following manufacturers' instructions for use of kerosene heaters, and by adopting other common-sense safety measures.

Source: Insurance Information Institute

the roof, the roof, the floor is on fire.

8/30/2018 (Permalink)

Every day here at SERVPRO is always exciting. From large loss water jobs to clients thinking mildew in their tub is a full-blown mold breakout. But more recently we encountered a situation where just a little preparation and preparedness goes a long way. The SERVPRO team was recently called out to what was explained by the client "A HUGE FIRE" in her home. When asked what caused this quote-unquote HUGE FIRE, she told SERVPRO she fell asleep with a lit cigarette in her hand. Now, most people know that the last thing you want to do is lit a cigarette in the house while you are getting sleepy. The end result was 1os of thousands of dollars in property and physical damage. Now the fire is one thing but then there comes all the water the fire company used to put it out. That water that really saved the home from burning to the ground also caused an astronomical amount of damage to the floors ceilings and walls of the affected home. 

Fire in the house

5/29/2018 (Permalink)

Fire damage is very devastating when the house or office you know and love go up in flames. The team at SERVPRO Southern Monroe works day in and day out training and mastering the craft of the aftermath of a fire loss. When the loss occurs the team from SERVPRO will be on the site once the smoke clears and the fireman says its safe to go in. The team will then conduct a full scope of the structure to find problem areas. Once the problem areas have been defined the team will then put a scope of work together. Once the team begins the process in the matter of no time your home or office will look like new. The team will work day and night to make sure you are satisfied with the work the SERVPRO team has done. When you're in a jam call 570-424-2290!

Only you can prevent house fires

1/29/2018 (Permalink)

As the seasons change and get colder more and more people are dusting of the space heaters and getting the house to that just right temperature. What a substantial amount of homeowners and renters don't know is that the space heater keeping your toes warm and be the underlying issue to why your whole house is up in flames. Space heaters work very well to keep your house warm but at what cost. Plugging your space heater into a outlet power strip is almost as dangerous as leaving using a candle lit while you sleep , at any moment the space heater can surge causing tremendous damage to your home and to your heater. One other common mishap is if the space heater gets knocked over or falls down. Always make sure that your space heater has a built in cutoff when it is not upright. Also always try to invest in a heater with a timer and digital readings to guarantee the temperature you desire.  

Why Use SERVPRO After A Fire

11/10/2017 (Permalink)

After a fire, your house is left with lingering smoke that can be harmful to your health and property. The best thing to do in such a situation is to clean smoke immediately because if you ignore it, the smoke will cause massive damage on your property which will require more money to clean than if you had cleaned it soon enough. If the smoke is not cleaned as soon as possible, the items that will be mostly affected by smoke are drapes, carpets, upholstery and walls because they will become permanently discolored. Glass will become extremely etched, and metals will tarnish which will require replacement.

You might think that you can do a good job at cleaning smoke by yourself without any basic knowledge and skills on how to go about it but this can lead to you causing further damage on the items. The best thing to do will be to hire experienced professionals from a reputable company to do the cleaning and restore the home to the state it was in before the fire disaster struck.

One of the advantages of using experts to clean soot is that they have specialized tools which are crucial in eliminating smoke. These are tools such as extractors, rotary scrubbers, and wet cleaning tools. Another advantage is that they have a lot of experience in doing such work; therefore, they will know the right steps to take in cleaning hour home and preventing further damage on your property.

When they come to your home, the first thing they will do is to assess the extent of the damage and determine where the odors are coming from. They will then vacuum the whole house to remove any traces of soot. Soot is dangerous because it can cause breathing complications besides damaging property. After they finish vacuuming, they will cover the carpets and furniture to prevent more dirt from settling on them. They will also identify what can and cannot be replaced and advise you accordingly. Once they find the source of the odor they will use specialized detergents to treat it and eliminate the smell completely.

What To Do After A Fire

11/10/2017 (Permalink)

Once in a while lady luck goes against us and we are struck by calamities such as fire. Fire can be caused by:

  • Human errors such as forgotten candles
  • Electrical faults
  • Cigarettes
  • Home appliances
  • Gases and chemicals
  • Heating
  • Arson

Even with smoke detectors in place, fire can raze down an entire building or parts of the building leaving considerable damage in its trail. Long after the firefighters have left the question on most house owners minds is what next? The damage is both financially and emotionally draining. Loss of personal property and disruption of regular life is frustrating. It may involve moving out to a new home while the damages are repaired and for business, it leads to an immediate loss of income.

Restoration

Once you have met with your insurance provider, you then seek a firm that specializes in restoration. You need a company that has an excellent reputation and will help rebuild your house. Not everybody that promises to bring back your premises' lost glory will deliver. When contracting a restoration company in Manhattan consider the following:

Speed

Restoration should be carried out as quickly as possible. You want to restore normalcy within the shortest time possible. If it's business, it should be up and running within a relatively short period. You don't want to work with someone that will drag the repairs for months. Speed does not mean poor maintenance. It is possible to achieve good quality renovation in a short period using the right staff and equipment.

Professional

Ensure the firm you select has experienced and qualified staff. The staff should also be trustworthy; your belongings should remain safe even as you open your home or business to 'strangers.' They should possess modern and efficient equipment to be used in renovation and cleaning. State of the art equipment ensures a thorough cleaning and does not leave any traces behind. The staff should show empathy to their clients as they are going through a rough time.

Three Types Of Fires

11/10/2017 (Permalink)

Synthetic: A synthetic fire is caused by the burning of oil substances. These materials include plastics and fabrics. Some examples of these materials include furniture, draperies, electronics and carpet fibers. When these products are burned a thick-black smoke often appears. If a synthetic fire takes place in your home the best cleaning method would be to first vacuum the surface. Finish up the cleaning process with a dry-chem sponge.

Protein: A protein fire can be caused by the burning of meat products. These fires will often leave behind a yellow-ish brown residue. Cleaning these fires can be very difficult due to their greasy nature. It is best that you use the proper cleaning chemical when dealing with these smoke residues.

Natural: A natural fire is caused by the burning of a wood or paper substance. These fires produce a greyish-black smoke and are one of the easiest fires to clean. When cleaning these fires use a vacuum that has a bristled brush followed up by the use of a dry-chem sponge.

Now that you are aware of the different types of fires you may encounter and how to distinguish them. You will be able to apply the proper cleaning procedures stated above.

Recognizing The 3 Different Types of Fires

7/6/2017 (Permalink)

This fire has left smoke residues on the walls surfaces.

Synthetic: A synthetic fire is caused by the burning of oil substances. These materials include plastics and fabrics. Some examples of these materials include furniture, draperies, electronics and carpet fibers. When these products are burned a thick-black smoke often appears. If a synthetic fire takes place in your home the best cleaning method would be to first vacuum the surface. Finish up the cleaning process with a dry-chem sponge.

Protein: A protein fire can be caused by the burning of meat products. These fires will often leave behind a yellow-ish brown residue. Cleaning these fires can be very difficult due to their greasy nature. It is best that you use the proper cleaning chemical when dealing with these smoke residues.

Natural: A natural fire is caused by the burning of a wood or paper substance. These fires produce a greyish-black smoke and are one of the easiest fires to clean. When cleaning these fires use a vacuum that has a bristled brush folowed up by the use of a dry-chem sponge.

Now that you are aware of the different types of fires you may encounter and how to distinguish them. You will be able to apply the proper cleaning procedures stated above.

Pike County Smoke and Soot Cleanup

5/15/2017 (Permalink)

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 of Pike / NE Monroe County 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.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?


Call Us Today – 
570-296-1177