Recent Fire Damage Posts

Fire Damaged Items You Should Consider Discarding

4/5/2022 (Permalink)

Black, sooty, and or greasy smoke and residue can be produced by even the smallest fire. Even worse than natural fire residues are synthetic and protein fire residues. After a fire, it's important to know what you should throw away, even though you will probably want to save as much as you can. Even further than flames, soot and smoke will travel and ruin things you might not expect to be affected.

From clothing to food, and more, we are going to take a look at which fire damaged items you should throw away after a house fire and which ones can be salvaged.

Salvageable Items After a House Fire

The best way to remember what can be salvaged following a house fire is to think of nonporous, hard surfaces. If an item is melted, charred, or burned, it should be discarded.

  • Hardwood floors – After a fire, you can salvage most hardwood floors, unless there are burn marks or extreme charring. Use oil soap to clean the floors, then sand them. As necessary, refinish the floor.
  • Metal – Significant fire damage can usually be withstood by metals, though they may stain. Use dish soap and vinegar to clean them, sand the metal lightly, then paint it.
  • Glass – There is a good amount of fire resistance to glass. With dish soap and vinegar, you can usually clean glass, even when stained. You may also prefer the baking soda and vinegar soaking method.

Items That Should Be Discarded after a House Fire

Almost anything in your home can be damaged by one of the most dangerous things that can occur – fires. Any items damaged by flames and heat, melted, or burned, should be thrown away after a house fire. Additionally, the following should be discarded after a fire:

  • Fire damaged mattresses and furniture – Because they can fall apart, any mattresses or furniture burned in a fire should be thrown away. If minor to moderate soot stains and smoke occur on hardwood furniture, that would be an exception. By cleaning with oil soap, hardwood furniture might be salvaged. Sanding and refinishing could be a possibility if staining is severe.
  • Burned bedding, towels, and clothing – Any bedding, towels, or clothing that was burned or charred should be thrown away. You can try washing items with dish soap for minor soot stains. Before washing, soak fabrics in vinegar to remove odors.
  • Fire impacted hygiene products, cosmetics, and medicines – Any of these that were damaged by fire should be discarded. Contact your doctor immediately if prescription medication has to be discarded.
  • Any food that remained at room temperature or higher – You may need to throw away the food from your freezer and refrigerator if the power went out. Without power, after as little as two or as many as six hours, refrigerator food will spoil. You might be able to wait up to 24 hours with freezer food.
  • Fire exposed boxed or canned foods – Any box or canned foods that were exposed to smoke or flames should be thrown away. This is particularly applicable if they have burn marks, sweat stains, or were opened.
  • Stained or melted plastics – Most plastic items can be ruined by even a small fire. Plastics will pull in the soot and smoke, due to their makeup. That's why, following a fire, you should always throw them away.

Have Your Home And Possessions Suffered Fire Damage? Let SERVPRO of West Somerset County Help

We don't just handle fire damage restoration as a sideline here at SERVPRO… it's what we do. Since fire damage and water damage frequently go together, we specialize in both. If you have water damage from any type of natural disaster, plumbing problem, sewage backup, fire and more – we are here for you with emergency service, 24/7. The same goes for any resulting fire damage. We understand that when you need fire and water restoration, you can't wait.

Feel free to contact us if you have any enquiries!

Important Items to Replace After Home Fire Damage

3/9/2022 (Permalink)

After a fire accident at home, you should always assess the situation and environment when it is safe to do so. You should also rope in technicians and engineers to ensure that your house is structurally stable and safe. A fire accident damages the property and its contents. Hence you should figure out which items can be salvaged, and which should be replaced after the fire damage. This is a guide on the important items you should replace after home fire damage.

Burned Clothing

Textiles such as clothes and bedding can be salvaged after a fire if proper disinfection and cleaning are done. However, if any clothes are burnt, they should immediately be thrown away and replaced. If you have any young children at home, then you should set a stricter set of criteria for considering which clothes should be replaced and which can still be worn.

Medicine and Cosmetics

Your medicine and cosmetics contain numerous chemicals and minerals which may be affected by fire and high heat. This can alter the composition of the products such that they become more toxic and contaminating. You should inspect the products for any signs of fire extinguisher dust, soot, heat, or other damage. The potency of medication could also be altered due to the high heat, smoke, water, or the chemicals used by firefighters to fight the fire. It is recommended to throw away all cosmetics and medication and replace them.

Insulation and Electrical Appliances

After a fire, there is a high chance that your house insulation and wires may have been damaged by the heat or fire. Thus, you should always replace the insulation after a fire as burnt insulation is ineffective due to the presence of air holes. Burnt insulation is also hazardous as a hidden ember can continue to burn for hours and could re-ignite, thereby triggering another fire. Electrical appliances should also be checked for water or heat damage. Wires and appliances which have been damaged by the fire are fire hazards that may shock and ignite at any point in time. These wires and appliances could also have hidden faults that are not visible to the naked eye. If you spot any damaged or melted wires or electrical appliances, then that is a red flag and should be replaced. As a rule of precaution, all electrical appliances should be replaced and tossed away especially if you are unsure about their condition.


Non-perishable food could be compromised by the fire and food safety is a huge concern especially after a fire. Although sealed food that is not damaged or burnt may appear to be healthy for consumption, it may not be edible especially if they were close to the fire. This is because toxic fumes emitted from the fire and smoke could contaminate the food through the cans and sealed jars. High heat can also cause the food to taste unpleasant and activate bacteria which promotes food spoilage. The water and chemicals used to extinguish the fire could also contaminate both perishable and non-perishable food. You should always be rigorous and detailed when inspecting your kitchen after a fire and check for any heat, smoke, or chemical damage caused by the fire and fire extinguisher. As a rule of thumb, you should throw out any food items regardless of whether they are perishable and whether they have been sealed.

What Should You Do With Smoke Damaged Furniture

1/24/2022 (Permalink)

Before assessing your furniture after a fire accident, ensure that it is safe to do so and that the fire has been completely extinguished. For most furniture, it is possible to salvage and restore them if they have not been burnt badly by the fire. Furniture that is still intact in a fire may contain lots of smoke and soot particles especially if they are near the fire. Before cleaning and restoring smoke-damaged furniture, you should always ensure that your house has good ventilation by opening the doors and windows. Alternatively, you could also bring the furniture outside of the house for cleaning.

Secondly, it is advisable to wear protective equipment such as face masks and gloves when cleaning the furniture as there could be numerous soot and smoke particles released during the cleaning process, which will affect your respiratory system. If you are unsure of what to do, it best to call a fire restoration specialist due to their specific expertise and advanced equipment. This guide aims to explain how you should treat the different kinds of furniture that have been damaged by smoke.

Leather Furniture

When dealing with leather, the leather mustn't get too wet during the cleaning process, and you have to be gentle as leather material can be scratched easily. Use the flat brush attachment to vacuum up the smoke and soot particles. Hold it above the surface instead of directly onto the leather furniture to prevent scratches. Gently wipe down and clean the furniture using a soft cloth and leather cleaner. Afterward, mix equal parts of vinegar and water to make a solution. Use a different cloth to wipe the furniture using the solution. Vinegar helps to deodorize the smoke smell. Afterward, wipe down the leather furniture using water. If the smoke smell persists, sprinkle baking soda onto the entire surface of the furniture and let it sit overnight. Vacuum the baking soda using the flat brush attachment the next day and repeat this process if necessary.

Wood Furniture

Use the flat brush attachment to vacuum up the soot or you could also use a duster to do so. Afterward, use a dry chemical sponge to remove soot embedded in the grain. Wipe down the furniture and move the rag along the grain to prevent scratches. Let the furniture sit for a few minutes before wiping it with a damp cloth. After letting it dry, use a high-quality wood conditioner or polish to restore the wood finish on your furniture. Make sure to follow the instructions on the product used.

Fabric Covered Furniture

The fibers present in fabric furniture are very efficient in trapping smoke and soot particles. If left uncleaned, these particles could gradually be released and pollute the air. To clean fabric furniture, use the flat brush attachment to vacuum up the soot. Sprinkle baking soda into the entire surface of the furniture and let it sit for 24 hours. Vacuum up the baking soda and repeat this process. Remove any removable covers and wash them in cold water using a detergent that is specially designed to remove smoke odor and vinegar. Hang the covers outdoors to speed up the drying process and remove any odors. Lastly, you should spray the fabric furniture with a product designed to deodorize smoke-damaged fibers.

Common Types Of Fire Damage Residues

11/30/2021 (Permalink)

If your home has experienced even a small fire, the damage will go deeper than just the materials that were burned. Unfortunately, whenever there is fire, there is most often smoke. Additionally, water damage usually results from the efforts of firefighters or homeowners trying to put out the fire. Even if a fire extinguisher has been used, that's a separate mess to have to deal with.

Here, we are going to examine the three basic kinds of fire damage residues.


The burning of paper products, wood, and other natural products results in a grayish-black colored, dry powdery residue. You may even be tempted to refer to it as ash. Compared to protein and synthetic residues (see below), this type of residue is far easier to clean up. With a bristle brush, vacuum the area in which the residue has been left. After that, cleaning should be done with a dry-chem sponge method.


The burning of proteins such as beans and meats involve fires that leave behind a residue which is yellowish brown. The texture of this residue sticks to any surface and has a greasy feeling. To clean this up, it can be an intensive and involved process. There are proper fire cleaning chemicals that should be used and can be purchased at some hardware stores. Your best course of action, however, when it comes to cleaning up protein fires, is to rely on a professional service. We'll introduce you to one at the end of this piece.


When oil-based materials such as fabrics and plastics are burned, synthetic residue can appear. This could include everything from electronics and carpets to furniture and window coverings. A thick black smoke is produced when synthetic materials burn. A smeary residue is left behind that, if not cleaned up properly, can create an extraordinary mess. To prevent smearing, the residue should not be touched, if at all possible. The best approach to cleaning left behind synthetic residue is vacuuming. After that, cleaning can be accomplished through a dry-chem sponge method.

Dry-Chem Sponge Cleaning

Since we referred to it a couple of times above, let's look at the basics of a dry-chem sponge method.

To absorb and scoop up soot and dirt, dry chemical sponges are used. These sponges are perfect for removing smoke and loose dirt from acoustic tiles, blown ceilings, latex paint, etc., due to their soft surface. The pores of the sponges do the absorbing. Because debris usually follows the law of gravity, begin cleaning at the ceiling when using these dry sponges.

Sponges such as these that clean a surface without getting it wet are also referred to as the following:

  • Dry clean sponge
  • Chemical sponge
  • Soot remover
  • Dirt eraser and more

Let SERVPRO of West Somerset County Help You Recover from Fire Damage

At SERVPRO, we don't just handle fire damage restoration as a sideline – it's what we do. Since water damage and fire damage frequently go hand-in-hand, we specialize in both. If you have fire damage – or water damage from any type of natural disaster, plumbing problem, sewage backup, and more – we are here for you with emergency service, 24/7. We understand that when you need fire and water restoration, you can't wait.

Feel free to contact us if you have any enquiries!

How Does Smoke Damage Affect Your Property's Contents?

9/23/2021 (Permalink)

If you have ever experienced a fire in your home, then you would know that even small fires can produce tremendous amounts of smoke. This can result in smoke damage that is difficult to mitigate without professional help. Smoke damage can damage the structural integrity of your home, tarnish your furniture and even destroy your personal belongings. Smoke contains tons of dangerous chemicals that can have detrimental effects on our health. It can also affect the various surfaces in your home differently, making smoke damage restoration a time-sensitive issue.

Can You Salvage any Belongings?

If you lack experience with smoke damage, it can be challenging to decide which items require the most attention. However, with the help of expert professionals, you will be able to determine which of your belongings can be salvaged. More importantly, it is important to note that these items should be salvaged as soon as possible, which might be impossible if you do not possess the necessary equipment and knowledge.

Important Factors

There are many different factors to consider when dealing with items that have been affected by smoke damage. In order to decide how to handle them, experts must first determine the temperature that the fire was burning at, what type of fire caused the smoke damage, and even the type of materials that were burnt. Furthermore, without the proper expertise, it is not easy to deal with the remnant smoke particles that might seep into any cracks in your home. If this is not dealt with properly, you might be left with a lingering, unpleasant smoke smell long after the fire is put out. When handling such situations, it is crucial to create good ventilation for your home, remove the remaining debris, and attempt to neutralize the odor of smoke. Experts also feel that the most important factor to remember after a fire is time.

Damage to Household Items

  • Furniture: If you happen to own a wood furniture, it is best that you do not try to clean it on your own. This is because they can stain your flooring or carpets with its dyes. On the other hand, if your furniture is largely made of metal, smoke damage can cause rust to happen and stain your rug or carpet as well. This is why professionals utilize various protective barriers to separate the different surfaces in your home until they are completely dry.
  • Porous Surfaces: Some porous surfaces such as paint and plaster can be irreversibly stained by smoke. As such, it is essential to use dry chemical sponges to avoid causing permanent stains on your walls.
  • Hard Floors: In the case of a fire, wooden flooring might need to be replaced entirely because of the water damage from fighting the fire. However, if there are still areas of your floor that are undamaged by water, it might even be possible to resurface them.

Sense of Urgency

If there is one thing you should take away from this article, it should be that time is of the essence when fighting smoke damage. If these actions are delayed for up to a few days, there is an increased chance of permanent stains in your home, with other problems such as rust and corrosion of your belongings. In the long run, it will definitely be much cheaper to hire a team of professionals to fix the problem with a sense of urgency.

Is There A Strong Smoke Smell Caused By A Fire?

9/7/2021 (Permalink)

Unbeknownst to many, many fires occur in the United States every day. The problem is that it is much more common than you think and there is a high chance that you might encounter a fire at least once in your life, regardless of how careful you are. You do not have to be an expert to know that a fire at home can be incredibly destructive to both you, your family, and the items in your household. If the after-effects of a fire are not dealt with in a timely manner, chances are that the damage will become irreversible. Furthermore, the impact of a fire, whether it is a big or small one, can be devastating to you and your loved ones. The effects of fire damage can cause problems even after the fire has been put out. One of these problems include the heavy smoke odor that you cannot seem to get rid of without professional help.

Useful Smoke Smell Removal Tips

If you have ever experienced smoke or fire damage, you would know that eradicating the stubborn smoke smell can be a challenging problem. When your home becomes filled with smoke, the microscopic smoke particles can penetrate porous surfaces and stain any furniture and household items. Effectively removing the smoke smell in your home typically requires the use of proper cleaning agent, equipment, and lots of effort.

In order to remove the unpleasant odor in your home, it important to understand the various factors that will affect this process. For example, it will help you greatly to know about the actual size of the fire, the amount of time that the interior of your home was exposed to the smoke, and also the materials that have been affected by the smoke (different materials react in different ways). Mitigating the effects of fire or smoke damage is not an easy task, meaning that it will save you a substantial amount of time, effort and money when you opt for hiring the services of restoration professionals instead.

Proper Ventilation

Even if you have decided to leave it to the professionals to rid your home of the lingering smoke smell, you can aid this process by creating proper ventilation. All you have to do is open the doors and windows so that fresh air can be channelled into your property. You should also turn on the fans putting them at the highest speeds, and face them towards the windows so that bad air can be filtrated. Doing this does not guarantee that you will be able to remove any unwanted smells however, it definitely helps in reducing it.

Repainting Your Walls

Another good technique to use is repainting. If you realize that the smoke smell is due to the tainted paint on your walls, then covering it with a fresh coat of paint will be extremely effective. First, if you own cleaning products that consist of glycol or ammonia, you can use them to wash your walls. Once you have washed the walls, rinse them and let it fully dry. Thereafter, you should apply a layer of primer that can trap the smell in the paint and cover it up with latex paint of your choice.

How To Keep Yourself Safe During Fire Damage Restoration

5/7/2021 (Permalink)

In the aftermath of a fire, very often, there can still be toxic chemicals and gases lingering in the air. This is why you should always keep yourself safe during fire damage restoration. If it is necessary for you to return to the scene of the accident, such as to retrieve your items, there are a few simple steps you can take to keep yourself as safe as possible. Children and pets should not be allowed back on the site under any circumstances, until the all-clear has been given.

Minimize Exposure to Contaminated Areas

Of course, you should not be returning to the site unless absolutely necessary. This is so that you can avoid breathing in contaminated air that can be harmful for you. If you have to return, avoid any areas that have soot, ash or smoke odors. If soot or ash comes into contact with your skin or hair, wash with mild soap and water immediately. Air scrubbers with HEPA filters should be set up in any enclosed spaces with a lingering smoke odor.

Wear Protective Equipment Before Entering

At the very least, you should be wearing a mask when conducting post-fire clean up or entering an area with smoke odor. Individuals with heart or lung disease should consult their physician before donning a mask and if at all possible, avoid entering the area altogether. It is recommended for personal protection equipment (PPE) to be worn when entering smoke damaged structures, including a respirator with a P-100 HEPA filter.

When sorting through items, avoid coming into direct contact with items that have been affected by soot, ash or smoke. If these items have to be retrieved, always ensure that you have on the adequate PPE such as coveralls, gloves, eyewear and more before doing so.

Best Practices for Cleaning Up

When cleaning up in the aftermath of a fire, the aim is to avoid getting ash in the air as much as possible. To this end, avoid using leaf blowers and other devices that can potentially blow ash into the air. Shop vacuums and vacuum cleaners for residential cleaning should also be avoided as they do not filter out small particles. On the contrary, these particles get blown out through the exhaust where they can be inhaled.

Engage Fire Damage Restoration Services from SERVPRO

If your property has recently underwent a fire, you will be looking to hire fire damage restoration services to get it up and running again. To this end, SERVPRO is your one-stop shop. Our 24-hour emergency service means that our staff can get to your premises quickly and start work as soon as possible. Our fire restoration technicians are highly trained and receive ongoing education to keep abreast of the developments in the industry. Not only do we do our job well, but we also care about our customers. If you have any queries or would like to book a service, please feel free to contact us now.

5 Common Causes Of Household Fires

4/19/2021 (Permalink)

Fires are extremely dangerous and can spread very quickly. Household fires are especially deadly because they can endanger everybody living in that home, especially young children, or the elderly living inside. It can also result in a lot of monetary damage. When such fires occur, it is important to call for professionals to help with fire damage restoration. While your insurance can help to mitigate some of the losses resulting from the fire, it is a much better idea to prevent these fires from happening. Read on to find out some of the most common causes of household fires.

Cooking-Related Fires

Fires related to cooking make up about 50% of household fires. These fires usually come as a result of the stove or oven overheating grease. When it hits a certain temperature, grease becomes extremely flammable and can combust even without coming into contact with flames. Fire that results from grease is also difficult to smother. To prevent such a fire, ensure that you never leave the kitchen unattended when cooking oily, fatty foods are when oil is used in your food.

Fires Resulting from Heating Appliances

Some heating appliances are prone to causing fires, including home space heaters and baseboard heaters. Fires occur if combustibles are left near these heaters. Cooling and heating appliances have also caused a considerable number of household fires. If your heater requires fuel like kerosene, you have to make sure you keep an eye on it as the heater can explode or ignite if homeowners are negligent. Furthermore, electrical heaters can also cause fires if there are problems with the electrical wiring.

Fires from Electrical Faults

Electrical faults in the wiring of the home can also result in fires. These fires usually occur due to short circuits which ignite the surrounding materials. If the circuit is overloaded, the wires will overheat, resulting in a higher chance of a household fire. Ensure that these circuits are checked and maintained regularly to lower the chances of such a fire.


Smoking is not only hazardous to health, but it can also even potentially cause household fires. When cigarette butts are not properly disposed of, they can catch fire. The most dangerous thing to avoid is smoking in bed. One single stray ash has the power to ignite the carpet, the blanket, the mattress and more, making the home prone to household fires. If needed, smoke outside or smoke over the basin.


Candles are also one of the common causes of household fires. Combustible materials are fabrics near the candle can catch fire if there are strong winds, or if left unattended. Furthermore, lighters or matchsticks used to light these candles up are also highly flammable. If you have a candle at home, you should keep it at least 12 inches away from materials that have a risk of igniting.

In the case that a household fire has broken out, after you have contacted the fire department, you should also contact professionals for fire damage repair and restoration. SERVPRO has a team of experts that can help to quickly assess the situation and carry out the necessary repair works. We respond quickly to calls for help, and also provide a 24-hour emergency service. Feel free to contact us to find out more about our fire damage repair and restoration!

What Should You Discard After Fire Damage?

3/10/2021 (Permalink)

In the aftermath of a fire, very often, there can still be toxic chemicals and gases lingering in the air. This is why you should always keep yourself safe during fire damage restoration. If it is necessary for you to return to the scene of the accident, such as to retrieve your items, there are a few simple steps you can take to keep yourself as safe as possible. Children and pets should not be allowed back on the site under any circumstances, until the all-clear has been given.

Minimize Exposure to Contaminated Areas

Of course, you should not be returning to the site unless absolutely necessary. This is so that you can avoid breathing in contaminated air that can be harmful for you. If you have to return, avoid any areas that have soot, ash or smoke odors. If soot or ash comes into contact with your skin or hair, wash with mild soap and water immediately. Air scrubbers with HEPA filters should be set up in any enclosed spaces with a lingering smoke odor.

Wear Protective Equipment Before Entering

At the very least, you should be wearing a mask when conducting post-fire clean up or entering an area with smoke odor. Individuals with heart or lung disease should consult their physician before donning a mask and if at all possible, avoid entering the area altogether. It is recommended for personal protection equipment (PPE) to be worn when entering smoke damaged structures, including a respirator with a P-100 HEPA filter.

When sorting through items, avoid coming into direct contact with items that have been affected by soot, ash or smoke. If these items have to be retrieved, always ensure that you have on the adequate PPE such as coveralls, gloves, eyewear and more before doing so.

Best Practices for Cleaning Up

When cleaning up in the aftermath of a fire, the aim is to avoid getting ash in the air as much as possible. To this end, avoid using leaf blowers and other devices that can potentially blow ash into the air. Shop vacuums and vacuum cleaners for residential cleaning should also be avoided as they do not filter out small particles. On the contrary, these particles get blown out through the exhaust where they can be inhaled.

Engage Fire Damage Restoration Services from SERVPRO

If your property has recently underwent a fire, you will be looking to hire fire damage restoration services to get it up and running again. To this end, SERVPRO is your one-stop shop. Our 24-hour emergency service means that our staff can get to your premises quickly and start work as soon as possible. Our fire restoration technicians are highly trained and receive ongoing education to keep abreast of the developments in the industry. Not only do we do our job well, but we also care about our customers. If you have any queries or would like to book a service, please feel free to contact us now.

Home Fire Detector Safety Tips to Know

1/27/2021 (Permalink)

Home Fire Detector Safety Tips To Know

Installing home fire detectors helps you feel safe from a possible fire. However, do not only rely on the original detectors that came together with your house. Research has shown that with modern furnishings today, fires can spread much quicker than in the past when mainly natural materials were used. Hence, it is important to have adequate fire alarms that are located properly so as to maximize the escape time during a fire. 

Although the old rule was placing one detector on each level, homes built to former standards do not usually meet that minimum requirement. Fire detection needs have evolved over time and it is essential to take certain steps to ensure that all homes have a sufficient complement of fire alarms.

Where to Place Fire Detectors

A majority of fatal fires happen in the early morning or late at night when everyone is asleep. Therefore, it is recommended to place the smoke detectors on every level and in every bedroom that is occupied. You should also add one detector to the laundry room. However, do consider how you use your home and where higher risks lie. If your basement is refinished, do place interconnected detectors downstairs too. 

In the kitchen, install the fire detector further away from the stove so as to avoid false alarms. It is recommended to place them on the ceiling. If you have to mount the smoke detector on the wall, make sure it is installed less than 12 inches away from the ceiling to ensure that fires will be accurately detected. It is also advised to not rely too much on detectors in dusty places such as garages and attics.  

Current Technology 

A dual sensor is a combination of both photoelectric and ionization smoke detectors. Photoelectric ones are more effective at picking up smoldering and slow-building fires, such as those that are caused by a lit cigarette. On the other hand, ionization detectors are more efficient in picking up sudden combustible fires with large flames. 

To achieve the most ideal safety and protection, it is recommended to go with the dual sensor. Since you may not know what kind of fire will spark, having both detectors will give you an early warning and allow you to have sufficient time to react and take action.  

Heed Those Chirps

Home fire detectors can be very effective, but the most effective detectors in the best locations will only protect you if they are maintained properly. In cases of home fires where the fire alarms were present but not operating, many of the alarms had disconnected or missing batteries. 

As a fire detector is constantly filtering the air in your home, maintenance is extremely important. Many detectors come with a “chirping” alert to notify you when the battery is running low, so do pay attention to that. It is also recommended to change the batteries every year, test the fire detectors minimally once a month, and replace old detectors every ten years. 

Whenever your property suffers from fire damage, you can contact SERVPRO of West Somerset County for assistance and advice. Our SERVPRO team has the accreditation, training, and expertise to safely restore both your property and valuables while safeguarding the health of your family. We understand the importance of a swift response for mitigation, reconstruction, and recovery, and are committed to ensuring that your home will be restored in the best way possible after a fire incident.

Professional Debris Removal is Ideal for your Somerset County Home

11/30/2020 (Permalink)

What you see here is the charred remains of the interior of a home. SERVPRO of West Somerset County is who you want to call if your house ever looks like this after a fire.

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.

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.


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!

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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 For more information on SERVPRO® of West Somerset County, please contact John Zoephel at (732) 805-9944 or




    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.