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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Fire Damage Blog Posts

Clearing the Smoke and Soot Damage After a Somerville Fire

9/9/2020 (Permalink)

Visible smoke and soot damage on ceiling. This was the state of the ceiling before we came in to do cleaning services.

The residues left in your Somerville home after a fire do not clean up simply by using conventional techniques and products. When homeowners try to remove the soot coating every surface, their efforts frequently make things worse rather than better. Our technicians master techniques during the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) training that rid your home of the different types of soot household fires produce. 

Depending on the materials fire damages in your Somerville home, the smoke and soot produced have different qualities. Our well-trained crew members evaluate the characteristics of the soot space to space throughout your home. Each of our crews has Fire and Smoke Restoration Technicians (FSRT) certified by the IICRC at the scene of your disaster. 

When a fire burns fast and hot, often seen with paper and wood, the residues are light and ashy. SERVPRO employees know to use dry sponges and a light brushing action to loosen the soiling, vacuuming up the dry debris. Thick, sticky soot deposits after electrical or slow-burning fabric fueled fires need more aggressive action, including agitation and pre-treatment with products containing surfactants and wetting agents to loosen the residue. 

We frequently address protein-based soot as kitchen fires are commonly the source of the disaster. Food and grease produce a thin, lacquer-like coating that has a strong odor and is difficult to remove. SERVPRO crews employ abrasives and solvents to remove this coating, taking care not to damage further the surfaces involved.  

Soft materials damaged by soot need specialized care during cleanup. SERVPRO has resources available for laundering items that are washable and dry cleaning others. Furnishings can respond well to foam cleaning; the product brushed on to absorb the soiling and then lifted off. 

At our production facility, we have tools, equipment, and skilled technicians who use a variety of innovative methods to clean and restore household and personal items damaged by the fire. SERVPRO invests in ultrasonic cleaning and other immersion tubs and other systems that clean, dry, and restore items damaged by smoke and soot. Many of the articles you fear destroyed can be brought back to function and appearance using our training and state-of-the-art equipment.

SERVPRO of West Somerset County is ready to help you recover from the devastation of a fire. Call us at (732) 805-9944 day or night to set up an assessment. 

Read about Somerville here.

What is Fire Damage Restoration?

4/21/2020 (Permalink)

Fire damage restoration is the process of determining the extent of damage in an accident, securing undamaged items, and remediating the affected property. When there’s a fire, there’s damage. After a fire is put out and firefighters had done their duty to keep you and the environment safe, your house or office is most likely to face water, smoke, and fire damage. In most cases, you will need help to repair the damages. Every fire is different, hence there is no one solution for all types of fire damage. However, the steps one may take to implement fire damage restoration to their house/office stays the same.

Step 1: Call A Fire and Water Cleanup and Restoration Company

The process of restoring your home/office starts when you call a professional cleanup and restoration company. The representative of the company will ask essential questions to find out more about the damage situation and then respond with the most suitable solution, with the appropriate resources and equipment.

Step 2: Inspection and Assessment

Fire damage restoration experts from the company will then visit the site of the fire damage, where they conduct extensive inspections and test neighboring rooms of your house/office to determine the extent of the damage before developing and deciding on the next step as well as the action plan.

Step 3: Repairing Windows, Walls, and Roofs

The third step is to repair the broken or missing windows, walls and roofs, which are the most common affected areas after a fire. The experts will conduct board-up services on the windows and walls, and roof-tarp services on damaged roofs. Missing windows, walls and a leaking roof, can disrupt the structure and compromise the safety of your house/office. Hence, this step is carried out immediately.

Step 4: Water Removal

If water damage is present in your house/office, this step is also conducted immediately to remove most of the water. Afterward, air movers and dehumidifiers are utilized to remove the remaining traces of water and dry them.

Step 5: Smoke and Soot Removal

After removing water, it is time to remove the smoke and soot from all surfaces in your house/office. Specialized equipment and tools are used to remove them from walls, ceilings, corners, and roofs.

Step 6: Cleaning and Sanitizing

After all the water, smoke and soot are removed, the next step is to sanitize and disinfect your house/office thoroughly. The experts will use special cleaning equipment and techniques to clean all structures and furniture that were damaged by the fire. Don’t worry about the smell; fire damage restoration specialists are trained to remove burning smells or odors with air scrubbers and through fogging.

Step 7: Restoration

This is the final step to reverting your home/office back to its original condition. Depending on the extent of the fire damage, this either means minor repairs to your home, such as installing new carpets and replacing drywall, or major repairs such as reconstructing bedrooms or kitchens.

If you are looking for a stellar services provider who can restore your house smoothly and properly, SERVPRO of West Somerset County is a good choice as your trusted fire damage restoration company. With technicians certified in every niche of this industry, there is no damage too complex or hard for us to handle. We promise to offer a comprehensive solution to every home or office at affordable prices.  Call (732) 410-7309 to schedule an appointment with us today.

What are the Most Common Commercial Fire Hazards?

3/12/2020 (Permalink)

If you own a business, it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of your customers, employers and any other people who set foot in your property. Meanwhile, you would also want to protect your building, important records and inventory. This can be done by having a well-designed fire protection system. However, that alone is not enough. It is highly important to avoid and prevent situations where a fire might occur in the first place. Therefore, we have put together a list of some of the most common commercial fire hazards that you should take note of.

Combustible materials

People who work in industrial settings are typically aware of any flammable chemicals and materials they have at work. However, people who work in offices may be less well-informed. Offices are full of combustible materials, especially dues to the huge amount of paper in them. Other than that, furniture, carpet, curtains and other fabrics can also act as fuel for a fire. Many cleaning liquids are also flammable and must be stored correctly to prevent any incidents. No matter where you work, it is essential to ensure that combustible materials are located far away from heat sources to prevent a fire.

Faulty Electrical Equipment

Some fire hazards may be easily detectable, such as a frayed wire on an office machine. However, there are also hidden threats that people do not always take into account. For example, faulty wiring in electrical equipment can also be a fire risk. It is important to have an electrician inspect the electrical components of your faulty equipment to ensure they do not pose a danger.

Overloaded Extension Cords

It is not uncommon to use extension cords to increase convenience at work. They are safe to use if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Unfortunately, many people tend to use extension cords improperly, such as by overloading them. In such cases, they can act as a serious fire hazard. It is recommended that you educate your employees on the appropriate use of extension cords and the fire risks they can pose to prevent any incidents.

Broken Cables

Any broken cables in your workplace should be removed as soon as possible. Leaving them lying around is highly dangerous and risks the safety of all workers. They may spark which can lead to the outbreak of an electrical fire.

Overheated Machines

Machines like photocopiers, printers, laptops and computers are present in all commercial buildings these days and they have a tendency to overheat. This is not usually a problem on its own. However, the heat generated by these devices can lead to a fire if there are combustible materials thereby, such as paper for example. It is important that you ensure that these machines are well ventilated and kept away from combustible materials, to prevent risks of a fire due to overheating. You should also remember to shut down these machines before leaving work to allow them to cool down over night. 

Poorly Disposed Cigarettes

If smoking is allowed in your workplace, you should ensure that the designated smoking areas are far away from the main buildings and any flammable materials. Your employees should also be educated on the importance of putting out cigarettes properly to reduce risks of a fire. 

Beware of These Office Fire Hazards

3/12/2020 (Permalink)

Many people think that a fire is unlikely to take place in their office. However, they are sadly mistaken. Statistics from NFPA’s 2013 report showed that from 2007 to 2011, there was an average of 3340 fires in office properties each year. This is devastating number, especially as all these fires could have been easily prevented. To help you fire-proof your office, here are some office fire hazards you should beware of.

Combustibles

Although offices do not contain oils, gases or naked flames, this does not mean that there is no fire risk. Offices are home to a surprising number of combustibles.

  • Dust

Many people are unaware that dust can ignite when the thing it is coating gets too hot. On top of preventing machines from overheating, it is recommended to keep office spaces well-ventilated to prevent the accumulation of dust.

  • Paper 

There are hundreds of paper documents and binders lying around in every office, in cabinets, desks and waste paper baskets. It is best to keep these paper materials away from any heat sources and to empty out your waste paper baskets regularly.

  • Cleaning liquids 

People often forget about the cleaning liquids that cleaning staff use to maintain the cleanliness of an office. These cleaning liquids are highly flammable and need to be stored properly to prevent an accident.

Electrical Hazards

It is not uncommon for fires to come from an electrical source. To prevent such a situation, here are the steps you can take.

  • Keep machines from overheating

You can do this by ensuring that all machines are properly ventilated to allow them to cool down. It is also a good habit to turn off these machines every night.

  • Remove broken cables

Leaving broken cables lying around the office is just asking for trouble. The moment there are sparks, an electrical fire is sure to break out.

  • Don’t overload extension cables

Everyone loves to use extension cables. However, it is important to check how much an extension cable can take before you plug in too many machines. 

  • Get PAT testing

Having your PAT equipment inspected regularly will prevent any electrical faults that could lead to an electrical fire.

Don’t Block Exits 

One of the most important things you need to do for a fire risk assessment is to ensure that all staff and visitors to your office can make a quick escape from the building in the event of a fire. Here is what you can do to maximise the chances of a safe exit.

  • Keep fire doors closed 

It may be tempting to keep the fire doors open in a stuffy office or to allow for easy entry. However, fire doors are designed to keep fires contained to buy enough time for people to escape. This means that they must never be pinned open.

  • Keep doors clear

Never pile stocks or other belongings in front of doors. Doors must always be kept clear to allow for easy entry and exit in any emergency.

  • Keep corridors clear

To allow everyone to leave the building as quickly and efficiently as possible, corridors must be kept clear. If there are piles of office paper or binders in an already small space, they will become obstacles that impede an escape.

Now that you are aware of the common office fire hazards, you can take the necessary steps to remove them to keep you and your staff safe.

What Should You Do If A Grease Fire Erupts In Your Home?

3/12/2020 (Permalink)

Anyone who has ever experienced a flare-up in their kitchen knows very well how scary it can be. Grease fires are ten times more terrifying. They usually occur when the temperature of your cooking oil gets too high. In such cases, the oil will start to boil before starting to smoke. If the temperature is not reduced soon after that point, the cooking oil catches fire, resulting in a grease fire.

Grease fires are far more dangerous than regular fires and are much harder to put out. They can erupt suddenly and cause a huge amount of damage within the span of minutes. Trying to extinguish them the same way you would a normal fire can make a grease fire worse.

That’s why it is important to know how to deal with them if you ever have the misfortune of encountering one. Here are some tips on what to do and when you should contact a professional in the event of a grease fire in your home.

What Not to Do

In the event of a regular fire, it is okay to use to water to extinguish the flames. However, this should never be done in the case of a grease fire as the consequences are highly dangerous. When water is thrown onto a grease fire, it causes the oil to spread and splash, spreading the flames. The water will also be instantly flash-boiled into steam by the extreme heat, causing a small explosion that will send flaming oil droplets everywhere.

You may have heard of using baking soda to put out a grease fire. However, it is not a good idea to use any kind of powder type substances to put out a grease fire. Firstly, it is dangerous to get close enough to the fire to apply the powder. Secondly, it is difficult to cover the fire with enough powder to extinguish it. Last but not least, certain household powder substances can be ignited, making the whole situation worse.

Putting Out a Grease Fire

You may not be able to use water or baking soda but there are other ways to extinguish a grease fire in your kitchen. The first thing you should do is to turn off your heating source. Next, before the fire spreads outside of your pan or pot, cover it with a metal lid or cookie sheet. You must never use a glass lid as the intense lid could cause it to shatter, sending glass shards flying everywhere.

If the grease fire becomes too big and you have a class B chemical fire extinguisher at home, your best chance is to try to hose the grease fire down with it. 

If none of these techniques are effective, you should evacuate the building immediately and call 911. 

Professional Fire Damage Restoration

If your home has been damaged by a grease fire, it is best to get a restoration professional to clean your home for you. Grease fires can leave behind a mix of residues that require special tools and experience to remove. With professional help, your home can be restored to its original state in the shortest time possible. Our team of experts and professionals here at SERVPRO specialize in quick and effective fire damage restoration. Feel free to contact us to engage our services!

The Hidden Mystery Behind Successful Fire Damage Clean Up in Hillsborough

10/31/2019 (Permalink)

Don’t despair! Our certified technicians will quickly formulate a remediation plan for your fire damage situation.

Professional Debris Removal Is Ideal for Hillsborough Housefires

One of the initial steps to recover any structure fire that affects the communities of Hillsborough is fire debris removal. Because of how threatening these conditions can be, most insurance companies have this step covered in even basic levels of home insurance policies. This coverage encourages homeowners not to attempt this restoration on their own and to rely on the expertise and safe approach of our SERVPRO professionals.

Fire debris cleanup in Hillsborough homes should happen as promptly as possible, so we encourage property owners to reach out to us directly after a fire. We have established business relationships with every insurance company in the region, meaning that we can work with our customers and their provider to get services approved and paid for, even after some of them have already completed. Choosing professional debris removal and cleanup benefits your home in numerous ways.

Reduces Noxious Odors  

Smoke odors are a common challenging threat after a fire in any structure. Rubbish and charred remains of contents and specific structural elements can amplify these scents. Removing the debris can eliminate several sources of continued harsh odors. We can bag and remove or for large jobs we can set a dumpster on the property to contain the debris.

Allows for Thorough and Complete Inspections

Damaged construction materials and piles of debris restrict access to our SERVPRO technicians. Once we have taken the time to eliminate the piles of debris or rubble, our team can better inspect walls, flooring, ceiling, and other areas that might require controlled demolition.

Reduces or Eliminates Hazardous Particulates 

Soot and smoke residues can collect most dangerously in the ignition site and the immediate vicinity. With the health threats that these particles can cause, it is safer for our team to reduce the presence of these microscopic respiratory risks by removing debris from your damaged property.

Debris removal is almost always one of the first steps and services that you need to secure once a fire gets extinguished. No matter how severe this threat, you can reach our SERVPRO of West Somerset County 24/7 to make it “Like it never even happened.” We can help, however you need, when you call (732) 805-9944.

Click here for more information about the township of Hillsborough.

We Have The Experience And Training To Restore Your Hillsborough Home After A Fire

9/10/2019 (Permalink)

Our experts are here to help! We have the specialized cleaning techniques and advanced equipment to restore your home to pre-damage condition.

How to Overcome Odors Hillsborough House Fires Leave Behind

Odor removal is one of the most popular services that professional restorers undertake after house fires occur in Hillsborough. Many property owners must contend with these effects after a fire loss on their property, but few have the resources and available equipment to address the problems directly and successfully. Our team invests in the latest tools and technology to ensure that we can quickly overcome widespread smoke odors when that time comes in the restoration of a property.

While odors can be an uncomfortable effect of fire damage in Hillsborough homes, it is rarely one of the first things that our professionals must address when arriving at your property. Fire losses involve multiple layers of effects that test the experience and training of our talented team with each project that we begin. While we have an entire division of technicians boasting endorsements from the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), we also have the additional talent available to handle water restoration, odor control, and licensed (#: 13VH05228000) contracting specialists.

Once much of the mitigation and restoration efforts have completed, your property should be cleaner and easier to navigate. Our SERVPRO team can set up stationary deodorization equipment, which is highly effective for even substantial open square footage, or we can implement portable solutions that address more confined and inaccessible areas and materials. We have several options, and depending on the situation, we can use thermal foggers, hydroxyl machines, ozone generators, and potent cleaning products to help.

Our processes for odor elimination do not mask scents but neutralizes them on contact or break these compounds up on a molecular level. Our products and cleansing agents can permeate porous surfaces to eliminate trapped noxious odors from smoke and charring during the fire loss incident.  

Many homeowners might initially believe that they can address many of the effects that small fires can leave behind, but without our advanced technology and expertise, odors can be a lingering threat for weeks after a fire gets extinguished. No matter how we can help, you can count on our SERVPRO of West Somerset County professionals when you need us most. Give us a call anytime at (732) 805-9944.

See more about Hillsborough.

We Are Available 24/7 For Your Hillsborough Fire Damage Restoration

7/19/2019 (Permalink)

Fire damage at this home started in the wiring of the water heater. The actual fire damage was minimal, but there was a good deal of soot.

Fire Smoke Leads to Widespread Damage from Grime and a Foul Smell in Homes in Hillsborough

Homes in Hillsborough can experience a fire in any room, with bathrooms and kitchens the most likely sites, followed by utility areas and garages. Depending on the combustible materials in the vicinity, a fire produces different kinds of smoke. Less ventilated spaces contain less oxygen, causing incomplete combustion, resulting in thicker, denser smoke. The soot and liquid components of the smoke create strong unpleasant odors that permeate clothing, walls, and carpeting, among other things.

When we respond to a call from a Hillsborough homeowner about fire damage, we always bring the equipment and tools that help us eliminate associated odors. Minor fire damage can produce unexpectedly enormous amounts of smoke, which we work hard to quickly remove from your home wherever it may have become attached to surfaces. This includes personal belongings, furniture, walls, ceilings, and also the flooring in every room and hallway. When fires burn extremely hot, smoke can end up inside your walls, as well. 

We regularly use air scrubbers during cleanup and mitigation to reduce the number of pollutants in the air. As soon as we finish the cleaning, mitigation, and restoration work, we clean the air again. During our work, we use several different methods approved by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). These get your property cleaned up, so they look and smell like they did before the fire. 

Personal belongings of durable materials come clean fastest with an ultrasonic bath. Without any bleaching action, the microscopic bubbles become a powerful means of cleaning soil of all types, including the heaviest carbon deposits. This includes tiny depressions and grooves that might otherwise harbor blackened reminders of the fire. 

Carpets, because of their location, contain substantial amounts of smoke residue. We use unique combinations of cleaning agents to loosen the soot and other by-products of fire and extract these from the fibers. When homeowners call us immediately after a fire, we can often restore these, so no stained areas become locations of permanent damage.

Deodorizing fire damage normally requires treatments with UV light machines that create hydroxyl gas. This gas poses much less risk than ozone, and while it takes longer to achieve the same results, we can work while the machine operates. Other methods involved in making your home smell as it did before the fire use strong scents that cover odors as they slowly dissipate. 

Our building services, General Contractor License # 13VH05228000, cover areas that require special handling, from removing and reinstalling drywall, cleaning up electronics, and tarping areas of your roof to prevent rain from increasing the amount of damage your house endures. We scale our services to both large and small jobs, regardless of complexity, to match our customers' needs. 

When fire ruins part of your home in Somerville, Bedminster, or Far Hills, call SERVPRO of West Somerset County's emergency line at (732) 805-9944. We mitigate fire damage, clean up soot, and deodorize homes to make things “Like it never even happened.”

See more above Hillsborough.

Hillsborough Homeowners Appreciate the Professional Approach SERVPRO Takes for Fire Loss Cleanup

4/8/2019 (Permalink)

When the Flames Are Out after a Hillsborough Fire--time to Call SERVPRO for Mitigation and Cleanup

How Professionals Manage Fire Damage in Hillsborough

A household fire brings normal life in Hillsborough to a halt. Moving your pets and family members to a safe place is a priority. When you return to survey the scene after first responders extinguish the fire, it might be difficult to recognize the sooty, waterlogged shell as your home. Setting things right after a fire is a complex and labor-intensive proposition. Our managers and crews are uniquely qualified to take on the challenge.

After your call, our team arrives at your Hillsborough home as soon as possible to assess the fire damage. We determine what tasks are most critical, assigning a work crew to begin the first item on the list immediately.

We often recommend a pack-out of the contents located in the fire-damaged area as a first step. SERVPRO uses a detailed Contents Claim Inventory Service (CCIS) to track articles removed. Our production facility technicians use specialized equipment and techniques to clean, dry, deodorize, and restore items, and then store your property in a climate-controlled area until we transport it back to your home after the fire damage mitigation completes.

At your home, we address fire fighting water and chemical removal. Because our service vehicles contain the equipment and products we need no delay is necessary. Pumps and extractors are truck-mounted, on the job even if your power is temporarily disconnected. Other members of the SERVPRO team evaluate and get to work cleaning up the soot damage throughout your house. We match cleaning tools, methods, and products to the different types of residues deposited as the fire consumed a variety of fuels room to room.

SERVPRO helps determine if any foods or personal care products need disposal. Even if they look untouched, heat can spoil the contents of cans and bottles and soot is fine enough to bypass even the threads on a jar, clearing contaminating boxes and bags of consumables.

Persistent odors after a fire are common. SERVPRO technicians rely on IICRC training and strategies to eliminate odors. We invest in technologies such as thermal foggers, ozone machines, and hydroxyl generators to neutralize particularly strong smoky smells.

SERVPRO of West Somerset County has the experience, training, and equipment to make the fire damage to your home and its contents “Like it never even happened.” No matter what time of the day or night, one call to (732) 805-9944 results in a highly-qualified crew coming your way.

More about our local FD by clicking.

Home Fire Danger Peaks During Holiday Season

12/3/2015 (Permalink)

Local SERVPRO® restoration specialist cites statistics on escalated cooking and candle fire risk that can turn festivities into a fire drill

Warren, NJ (Grassroots Newswire) December 3, 2015 -- As the holiday season approaches and families gear up for decorating their homes and hosting large gatherings of friends and family, John Zoephel of SERVPRO® of West Somerset County reminds homeowners to take note of some sobering statistics about home fire safety from the National Fire Prevention Association:

  • Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home structure fires. The three peak days for home cooking fires are Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.1
  • Candles fires peak in December. The top three days for candles fires are Christmas Day, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.2
  • “These statistics are a serious reminder of how the excitement of holiday entertaining can quickly turn into a life-altering fire or even a tragic injury or death,” says Zoephel. “While glowing candles and elaborate meals set the stage for a great holiday get-together, homeowners need to exercise extra care in controlling the dangerous potential for fires.”

    According to the NFPA3, unattended cooking is by far the leading cause of home cooking fires, with frying posing the greatest fire risk and electric ranges posing a higher risk than gas ranges. Range top cooking in general started the majority of home cooking fires and caused 86 percent of related civilian deaths for the reporting period.

    While incidents of candle fires peaked in 2001 and have been falling since, candles are still one of the top 10 causes of U.S. home fires, according to the NFPA. As with cooking fires, unattended or abandoned candles account for a large portion of candle fires–almost 20 percent–but the most frequent cause of candle fires is placing the candle too close to something that can burn, like curtains, decorations or furniture.

    “It’s easy to see why cooking and candle fires both peak during the holiday season,” says Zoephel, “and it’s also easy to see why homeowners need to take extra care when decorating their homes or entertaining. A moment’s inattention at the stove or a guest repositioning a candle on a tabletop may be all it takes to turn the festivities into a fight to save property and lives. While our business is fire and water damage restoration and we stand ready to help at a moment’s notice if disaster does strike, our sincere hope is that our friends and neighbors will enjoy a fire-free and festive holiday season.”

    For more fire prevention tips and information about fire and water damage restoration services, please visit www.SERVPRO.com. For more information on SERVPRO® of West Somerset County, please contact John Zoephel at (732) 805-9944 or office@SERVPROnesc.com.

    1 http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/causes/cooking

    2 http://www.nfpa.org/research/reports-and-statistics/fire-causes/candles

    3 http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/holidays/put-a-freeze-on-winter-fires

    About SERVPRO®

    Founded in 1967, the SERVPRO® Franchise System is a national leader and provider of fire and water cleanup and restoration services and mold mitigation and remediation. SERVPRO’s professional services network of nearly 1,700 individually owned and operated Franchises responds to property damage emergencies ranging from small individual disasters to multi-million dollar losses. Providing coverage in the United States and Canada, the SERVPRO System has established relationships with major insurance companies and commercial clients, as well as individual homeowners.