Recent Fire Damage Posts
Discovering Smoke Damage 60 Years Later
SERVPRO can restore your property after experiencing smoke damage
I recently got a call from one of our partners in the senior real estate space. The company helps place older adults who can no longer live safely at home in assisted living facilities. They will also fix up your home and sell it to help fund care expenses. As you can imagine, some of these homes are in disrepair and may have been neglected for many years. This is where SERVPRO comes in as a vendor to handle the numerous situations that these homes find themselves in. Last week a home in Belmont, MA was inspected prior to listing the home to find any serious issues that need to be addressed. The home inspector found extensive smoke and soot damage in the rafters of the attic. The homeowner, a 99-year-old holocaust survivor, was shocked to hear this and stated there has never been a fire in the home since she lived there in 1962. Everyone involved was upset and nervous about what this meant for getting the home listed. They called SERVPRO in to save the day. We sent a project manager out later that day to take a look at the attic and determined there was in fact smoke damage to the rafters but, thankfully no structural damage had occurred. We just needed to prime and seal the rafters with 4 coats of sealant so on a hot and humid day there was no chance of smoke odor being released into the home. We were able to get the work done 2 days later so there was only a 2-day delay in getting the home on the market for sale. Everyone involved was extremely happy with our response time and work. If you need smoke damage restoration or find a surprise during the home buying process, call the pros at 781-861-0500.
Grill Safety Tips
Follows these grill safety tips to prevent a house fire
Spring has sprung which means warmer weather and of course…grilling! My wife and I bought our first home back in October of this year and have been counting down the days until we could grill on our back deck. We came from living in a triple-decker in Boston with no outdoor space except our back deck on the third floor, which meant no grilling for safety purposes. Grilling on the third-floor back deck of an older building poses a serious fire risk. Now that I have a large back deck with nothing underneath it except the patio and lawn, I figured I was in the clear to grill as much as my heart desired. Just 2 days after purchasing my first ever grill, SERVPRO responded to a large house fire in Weston, MA. I was speaking to the neighbor who called it in and she let me know it was caused by their grill on the back deck. I immediately thought to myself, “How could this happen?” It was a devastating fire and it made me consider what needs to happen to safely operate a grill at your home.
- Put your grill in a safe location - never grill indoors and place your grill at least 10 feet away from your home. Be sure there is nothing above or around your grill at any time.
- Clean your grill regularly - clean it before each use to remove any grease buildup that could fuel potential fires.
- Check your grill for problems - pay special attention to your propane or gas line for leaks.
- Wear the right gear - wear gloves and long sleeves to protect yourself from heat but be sure clothing is not too loose.
- Be ready to put out a fire - have baking soda and a fire extinguisher close by just in case.
- Use caution when using lighter fluid - only use lighter fluid to start a charcoal grill and use it sparingly.
- Don’t turn on the gas while the grill is closed - do not let propane build up inside of a closed grill causing a fireball to occur when you ignite it.
- Never leave a grill unattended - not ever!
- Don’t overload your grill - more meat = more grease which can cause a flare-up.
- Use a meat thermometer - flame-licked meats can look done on the outside but are not cooked all the way through which can lead to food poisoning.
- Don’t cross-contaminate foods - don’t place your corn on the cob where raw meat was sitting to prevent possible cross-contamination.
- Always turn off your grill - create a routine when you are done cooking to be sure you have turned off the grill, fuel, or let charcoal cool safely.
Residential Fire in Wilmington, MA
Cold temperatures and heat from the flames caused this window to explode allowing smoke to billow into the home.
Our office recently responded to a porch fire in Wilmington, MA. The source of the fire is believed to be a cigarette that was not extinguished properly. The fire occurred on a cold night and the heat of the flames combined with cooler temperatures caused a window on the porch to explode. Smoke billowed into the home from this window covering the entire interior in soot. There was extensive damage to the porch itself and vinyl siding on the exterior of the home. All occupants were able to escape safely and put out the fire with a fire extinguisher before the fire department arrived on site. In addition to exterior physical damage and interior soot damage, there was a strong odor. Just like when your clothes smell after being around a campfire but much more intense. Not only does the smoke cause a strong odor but the melting of the vinyl siding left a particularly unpleasant smell as well. SERVPRO arrived within one hour of being called and had a crew out that night to begin work. All smoke and soot damage was cleaned up from the interior within a few days. After that, odor removal equipment was left at the home for some time. The end result is "Like it never even happened." Reconstruction on the exterior of the home is also being handled by our franchise to repair the porch, window, and vinyl siding. If you experience a fire at your home or business, give us a call to restore it.
How to Avoid a Chimney Fire this Winter
Be sure to keep your chimney and flue clean of creosote to avoid a fire
As temperatures continue to fall, homeowners in Lexington, MA, and the surrounding areas spend more time indoors to keep warm. Those who have a fireplace or wood-burning stove may begin to use them more regularly to keep energy costs down. Let’s face it, there is nothing better than snuggling up next to a fireplace in the depths of winter. While these additional sources of heat are pleasant to be around, they must be properly maintained to not put your property at risk. Bottom line is that dirty chimneys can cause a fire and clean chimneys don’t. The chimney and flue carry dangerous gasses, smoke, water vapor, unburned wood particles, hydrocarbon, tar fog, and assorted minerals safely out of your home. As these substances leave your fireplace or stove, they condensate as they rise through the relatively cooler chimney. The residue that is left behind and sticks to the inside of the chimney is called creosote. All forms of creosote are highly combustible and if it builds up in sufficient amounts along with a high internal temperature of your flue, the result could be a chimney fire. It is imperative that you have a professional chimney sweep inspect and clean your chimney annually to avoid a fire. In the extremely unfortunate circumstance that you experience a fire in your home or business, give us a call to remediate the smoke and soot damage.
Holiday House Fires
Keep your family safe by following these holiday house fire preparedness tips
It is December and now officially the holiday season - Ho, Ho, Ho! With that comes Christmas trees, decorations, candles, home-cooked meals, and additional heat sources like space heaters or fireplaces. All of these things used to make me smile and make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside until I started working for SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford & Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland. Now, these festive activities make me concerned for the families that will experience a house fire in the coming months. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, nearly 47,000 fires occur during the holidays claiming over 500 lives, 2,200 injuries, and costing half a billion in property damage. I do not mention these statistics to scare you or to turn you into a Scrooge - I feel an obligation to bring awareness and help keep families safe. Below you can find some holiday home fire preparedness tips from the American Red Cross. If you do experience fire damage give us a call to restore your property and make it, "Like it never even happened."
- Place Christmas trees, candles, and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents, and candles.
- Purchase flame-retardant metallic or artificial trees. If you purchase a real tree, make sure that it has fresh, green needles that aren’t easily broken. Keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water.
- Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.
- Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.
- Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over. Keep curious pets and children away from Christmas trees.
- Keep anything that can catch on fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from your stovetop.
- Designate one person to walk around your home to make sure that all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.
- Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.
The Corrosive Nature of Smoke and Soot
Stove hood vent affected by fire and smoke damage caused by a grease fire in Arlington, MA.
I recently visited a home in Arlington, MA that experienced a grease fire in their kitchen. Fortunately, the homeowners caught it quickly and the fire department responded immediately. The damage was not extremely extensive but there was certainly some work to be done. As I walked the property with our production manager Chris, something caught my eye. It was the stainless steel (at least I assume it was SS) hood vent that was mounted above the stove where the fire started. I noticed that it was corroded and rusting which was odd to me because I was under the impression that stainless steel did not rust. I figured it must have been from the water that the fire department used to douse the flames. I asked Chris if it was from the water and he explained to me that it was actually the fire that corroded the metal. How is that possible? Fire creates smoke and soot which are actually small particles that move through the air. The soot is acidic and can corrode metal. Heat is an accelerant, so this hood was capturing large amounts of soot under extreme heat which was accelerating the corrosiveness of the smoke. You can see in the picture where the flames and soot damaged the hood and not in the surrounding areas. It is important to understand the destructive nature of smoke damage, even if you cannot see it with the naked eye, you must remediate soot as soon as possible to limit the damage it can cause. For example, if your television or computer vents intake soot and it gets inside the components, it can cause corrosion. Furthermore, soot can also conduct electricity causing short circuits. If we arrive at a fire loss we immediately send out all electronics to professional cleaners to remove the smoke from the components inside. If you experience fire and soot damage at your property give SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford and Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland a call immediately to mitigate the damage.
Controlling the Path of a Fire
Second floor bathroom damage due to venting and not the fire
Our office recently got a call for a fire damage job in Arlington, MA. I was eager to tag along with our production manager, Chris Mack, to photo document the work from start to finish. The fire began in a first-floor kitchen as the result of food on the stove igniting. The damage was extensive in the kitchen, which was to be expected, what was unexpected was the damage done above the kitchen. As I explored the second floor I noticed a lot of damage had occurred in the bathroom directly above the stove. The interesting part was the bathroom sink, toilet, and wall looked as though they had been destroyed by a heavy object. Chris explained this was the work of the fire department venting the fire upwards. I also thought this was odd as there was very little smoke, soot, or fire damage done in the bathroom. So what is venting and why did it need to be done in this home?
Venting is all about controlling the path of the fire and smoke. As a fire grows, heat and smoke are expelled into the air. When a home is not ventilated, the heat and smoke get trapped in the building, slowly permeating from one room to another. As heat and smoke build in surrounding rooms the fire spreads with it. The fire department's first goal is to vent the fire to control where it will go next. In this case, the fire was in a first-floor kitchen, so the best course of action was to vent the fire upwards and then spray water down on it. Heat and smoke want to rise, so by venting the fire up, it only wanted to spread upwards and not sideways to surrounding rooms making it much more difficult to contain. The firefighters quickly assessed the scene and sprang into action by making a large opening in the bathroom floor and wall above the kitchen stove. Once the opening was made they sprayed water into the home from above dousing the flame and extinguishing the fire. Because of this the fire was contained in the kitchen and was unable to spread anywhere else. Now that I know what venting is I can appreciate what happened at this home in Arlington and how the fast actions of the local fire department kept the flames at bay. Now it is SERVPRO's chance to get to work, making this home look "Like it never even happened."
Are You Part of the Air Fryer Craze?
SERVPRO technicians are experts in fire damage restoration including soot removal, deodorization, and contents removal.
The air fryer craze reached new heights during the Coronavirus pandemic as Massachusetts residents were quarantined to their homes for over a year. Picking up new hobbies that could be enjoyed in your home, not being able to go out to restaurants, and increased awareness of healthy diets, created a perfect storm for air fryers to make their way into kitchens across the Commonwealth. With any new product on the market, consumers are not educated about the dangers associated with them. Cooking techniques and best practices are usually passed down from one generation to the next and as first-generation air fryers, it is our responsibility to enjoy them safely. Here are some helpful dos and don'ts while using your new kitchen appliance:
- Do read the manual that came with your air fryer and take it seriously.
- Don’t leave your air fryer plugged in while it is not in use.
- Don’t burn yourself or your countertops.
- Don’t let air fryer vents blow exhaust into electrical outlets.
- Don’t put the air fryer on the stove.
- Don’t use perforated parchment paper without food on it to keep it from floating around.
- Don’t use cooking sprays with propellants, aerosol sprays, or chemical-based non-stick sprays.
- Don’t use wet batters or wet coatings on food.
- Don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket.
- Don’t forget to regularly check on your food while it is cooking.
- Don’t season food with salt while it is still in the air fryer.
- Do season food before or after cooking.
- Do only use accessories and inserts that are made for your air fryer.
- Don’t clean your air fryer or its components with metal scouring pads.
While this is not an exhaustive list, it will certainly help you operate your air fryer safely which will protect your kitchen and home from fire damage. If you experience fire damage in your home - SERVPRO is here to help. We have been restoring homes in Lexington, Bedford, Lincoln, Watertown, Waltham, Wayland, and Weston for over 40 years. Give us a call at 781-861-0500 so we can make it, “Like it never even happened.”
Emergency Fire Damage Process Overview
Smoke damage/soot surrounds doorway to into kitchen.
We Are Fire Damage Experts
SERVPRO is the number one brand in restoration services. For over 50 years our highly trained professionals have been helping communities restore their properties to pre-fire conditions using advanced technology and techniques. Our goal is to restore your building and its contents instead of replacing them - saving you time, money, and the potential loss of important items to your home or business. Our restoration services include structural cleaning, contents cleaning, and deodorization of both.
One Hour: Within one hour of being notified of fire damage we will contact you to arrange service.
Four Hours: Within four hours a professional SERVPRO technician will arrive on-site to begin mitigation services. Responding quickly is key to reducing damage and saving money!
Detailed Explanation: A highly trained professional will walk you through the job process step-by-step so you know exactly what to expect.
Pretesting: We will pretest your property and its contents to discern what is restorable and what needs to be replaced.
Eight Hours: Within eight hours of being notified you can rest assured that our team has communicated the extent of damage and subsequent work that needs to be done to you or your insurance adjuster.
Cleaning, Restoration, & Deodorization: Using state-of-the-art restoration techniques our technicians will ensure your property is taken care of correctly.
Final Walk-Through: Once our work is complete, we will walk the property with you to be sure you are completely satisfied.
We sincerely hope that you never experience a fire emergency, but they are an unfortunate reality that we must face from time to time. At SERVPRO we are here to help and can respond to any size emergency 24/7.
Using a Fireplace
Fireplaces can provide a cozy and scenic environment. With temperatures often below freezing this time of year in New England, it is the perfect time of year to utilize a fireplace if you have one. If you are a new homeowner or don't know much about fireplaces and want to know more, don't worry, you've come to the right place.
Check, check, check
Before fireplaces are put to use, fireplaces should first be inspected and checked for unwanted build up or blockages. This includes a assessment of your chimney. Chimney inspections before a fireplace is used is essential and should not be neglected. If you do not feel comfortable inspecting your own chimney, leave it up to the professionals. Do not assume your chimney is infallible and avoid the necessary repairs. Thousands of home fires and fire damages occur every year as a product of unsafe fireplace conditions.
What type of wood should you use?
The best type of wood to use for fireplaces is seasoned wood. Season wood are wood pieces that have been dried out for at least one year. Season wood pieces provide a good source of fuel and heat. Wet pieces of wood should be avoided for safety reasons.
Last but not least........
Always make sure the area is cleared around the fireplace. Furniture and appliances should be at least 5 feet away from a fireplace at all times. In addition to that, every home should have easy access to a fire extinguisher. Always know where your fire extinguisher is
Once all of this is taken care of, create a comfy setting and enjoy the fireplace.
What to know about Fire Damage
Fires kill and injure thousands of people across America every year. The unfortunate part of that is most fires can actually be prevented. Studies have shown that most house fires start in the kitchen. These fires start in the kitchen due to unattended or unfocused cooking. Never walk away from a stove that is turned on and don't be distracted when using the stove.
Another important aspect when it comes to fires is the smoke alarm/detector. A handful of fire deaths occur every year in households where there was not a functional smoke alarm. Test your smoke alarm out at least once a month and replace the batteries every half year at a minimum.
If you do ever experience Fire damage, evacuate the area as safely and quickly as possible. When you are away from the fire, stay as far away from the smoke as well. Smoke inhalation is just as dangerous and harmful.
When it comes time for fire restoration, look no further than SERVPRO. Our highly trained professional team has a vast experience dealing with fire damage. No job is too big or too small for us and we want to help everyone we can in our communities. We can also work with adjusters and your insurance agency to make the process smoother.
Our motto and company mission is to make fire and water accidents look "Like it never even happened."
National Preparedness Month
For the past handful of years, September has been known as National Preparedness Month.
National Preparedness month is aimed at preparing communities for emergencies and disasters of all types. By being prepared, disasters can be avoided, prevented or minimized.
Disasters, such as Fire Damage do not operate on a 9-5 schedule. It can occur at anytime. Our team is always ready and equipped to help out the moment we hear about fire damage. With that said, having your house and family members prepared for emergencies can make a notable difference too.
Make and Practice Your Plan
Do you have an evacuation and shelter in place plan at home? You and your family should communicate and have an emergency supply kit ready. Make sure your family is informed of what to do should an emergency occur. Smartphones are capable of delivering alerts and warnings for your area so much sure you have the necessary apps to stay up to date and informed.
Check your smoke detectors from time to time and replace the batteries after a year. Always keep an eye on your smoke detectors and be proactive when it is defective.
Homeowners should also check their fire extinguishers to make sure they are fully functional and effective. Some fires can be prevented and minimized by merely having a good fire extinguishers on hand.
If you ever need our assistance regarding emergency services or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office in Waltham
Insure your contents
House fires are the biggest challenge we face in restoration cleaning. Not only must we dry any water damage associated with putting the fire out and clean the soot, we also have to assess what can be restored help occupants come to terms with their losses.
Despite our training and experience, we never find it easy to deliver bad news, and the worst bad news is that a tenant's fire loss is not covered by insurance.
The common misconception that a landlord’s insurance policy will cover a tenant’s contents costs tenants thousands of dollars a year in lost contents and cleaning bills.
In many cases, fires cost tenants everything they own.
Affordable Renter’s Insurance
It does not have to be that way. Renter’s insurance is reasonably priced given the peace of mind it brings.
Tenants who own cars can often get a discount when bundling renter’s insurance.
Depending on the policy, tenants may even get additional protections for theft outside the home or liability coverage.
Insurance for landlords differs from regular homeowners insurance because it only covers the structure.
When we are called to a job with tenants, we are not allowed to touch contents until we have verified renter’s insurance or confirmed the tenant will pay for services performed on their contents.
If there is no contents’ coverage and no commitment to pay, we will clean the walls, ceiling, and floors, but that is about it.
Similar Fires, Different Results
Two similar jobs can have very different results.
For one job, we were called to a home where a short circuit started an oven range fire that spread soot throughout whole house.
The landlord’s insurance covered removing soot from the outside of the cabinets and closets along with the walls, ceilings, and floors.
However, we were not permitted to open the closets or cabinets or to clean any contents because the tenant had no renter’s insurance.
In contrast, an electric short caused a fire in a closet of two-story condominium in Weston which affected all rooms on both floors and the attic.
The tenant in this case had renter’s insurance. Her insurance covered the $4000 invoice for the contents' restoration, while the landlord’s insurance covered the $15,000 invoice for structural restoration.
Losing Everything in a Fire
When a four-unit Waltham apartment building built in the 19th century had a fire a few years ago, the city’s fire inspector declared the building unsafe for entry. Tenants were locked out and unable to access their contents.
The owners learned that restoration on a building that old would require permissions from the city’s historical commission, and they decided a rebuild was cost prohibitive.
Rather than hiring a restoration company, the owners left the condemned building as is and sold off the property.
The tenants lost everything that remained locked up in the condemned building. Those who did not have renter’s insurance received no compensation.
What Do You Have To Lose?
If you or someone you know rents but does not have renter’s insurance, consider how much is at stake.
Take ten minutes to explore how much a renter’s policy would cost. Consider that whatever it costs, tenant's insurance protects against a devastating financial loss.
We hope you never suffer a fire loss, but if you do, we hope you are properly insured.
And if you ever need our assistance for fire damage, we offer 24/7 Emergency Services and can help out right away.
Fire Prevention this Summer
It has really started to feel like summer the last few days with highs reaching 90 degrees. Obviously, with the warmer weather comes an increase chance of fires. Outdoor fireworks and BBQ grilling are known as staples in America during the summer.
Fireworks are Illegal in Massachusetts
If you did not know already, fireworks are very dangerous and illegal in our state of Massachusetts. They often times can harm people and cause fires. Although fireworks are banned in Massachusetts, a handful of people try to use them around here every year so watch out for that. Never let kids or children play or handle fireworks.
Grilling and BBQs are a popular option when it's summer time. We understand that.
Here are some of best tips on how to grill safely and properly:
-Only grill outside and keep grill at least 3 feet from property. Do not let it touch a fence or wall.
-Open your gas grill before lighting
-Don't leave grill unattended. Always be around the grill when it is on.
-Clean your grill after each use to remove grease, which can cause a fire
SERVPRO's Always here for You
We wish you a warm summer season free of disaster, however, we are here 24/7 should you need our expertise to recover from a fire damage.
Do not hesitate to call us any time day or night. We are always Here to Help, Always offering 24/7 Emergency services.
Continue to be mindful as days get nicer
While we are all trying to adapt and make the most of the COVID-19 situation, we are well into the spring season and summer will be here before we know it. We all know what that means here in New England. While we will still probably have some mild chilly days, most days are gonna feel warmer and nicer from here on out.
Fire Safety Advice
Most New Englanders love outdoor grilling when the calender flips to April and into the summer. Grilling is a popular method to cook food when the weather is nice but with it come safety hazards. A grill is obviously very hot when in use and burning injuries have happened and can happen if one is not careful. Please follow these steps to best protect yourself.
1. Do not use a propane or barbeque grill indoors. Propane and barbeque grills should be for outdoor use only as indoor use has the potential for many hazards.
2. Keep as few people around the grill as possible. There really is not need nor should there be a reason for more than two people next to a grille. Make sure young children and pets are not running around or near the grille when it is in use.
3. Never leave your grille on by itself. House fires often occur due to unattended cooking. Just because the grille is outside does not make it okay to be left alone. Attend to the grille at all times when it is on.
Other Fire Prevention Tips for the Summer
1. Do not Smoke cigarettes inside your home or anyone's home for that matter. If you are the smoke a cigarette, step outside and do so.
2. Stand by your stove when your are cooking. Do not multi-task or wander around. Focus on cooking and using the stove and do not be unattended during the process.
3. Arson is not funny or safe so don't do it. Arson can lead to deaths, serious injuries and is a serious crime so avoid it at all costs.
With these tips in mind, you are all set for a safe and fun summer! Always look out for yourself and those around you. As the weather gets nicer and warmer, make wise decisions and you'll have a great summer.
Protect Your Home from Fire
An ounce of fire prevention is truly worth a pound of cure
As we head into the winter season in Middlesex County, we can expect to see residential fires on the rise. Statistically, January is the month in which the U.S. sees the highest percentage of house fires.
More Deadly Fires
Fires in the home cause great concern because although only eight percent of total fires occur in the home, they cause 23 percent of the injuries and 30 percent of the deaths. Of the deaths, about 60 percent occurred in homes with smoke alarms missing or not working.
Cooking is the number one cause of fires in the home. You can protect your family by
- Keeping combustible materials away from the stove and other cooking appliances
- And monitoring children when they are cooking.
Short circuits and other appliance malfunctions also cause many house fires. Again, keeping flammable items away from space heaters and other appliances that get hot will help protect your home and family.
Never leave a space heater on when sleeping or not in the room with the heater. Unplug electric appliances when not in use.
Smoke Alarms Save Lives
Be sure to check your smoke detectors monthly and replace your batteries annually. You should also replace your detectors when they are ten years old or according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Fires happen, but many do not have to be fatal.
Call SERVPRO for Professional Fire Restoration
Should you have the misfortune to suffer a fire in your home, you can call SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford anytime day or night at 781-861-0500 to speak with a caring individual who will help you start taking back your home. Our fire restoration technicians are certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification to provide professional restoration services according to industry standards.
We can dry wet materials, clean the soot, and filter harmful particulates out of the air. We will even deal with your insurance company to help them understand the scope of your loss. We want to be your first choice to make fire “Like it never even happened.”
Furnace Puff Back in Lincoln, Mass.
Puff Backs Can Leave Harmful Residue on Surfaces and in Air
Aging homes in Massachusetts have aging heating systems. Some of the older systems are subject to malfunctions. When they break down, we have a situation often referred to as a “puff back.”
Lincoln Puff Back Clean up
For example, our franchise responded to a puff back in Lincoln, Mass. The furnace in a 1939 colonial had malfunctioned and forced soot throughout the home. Every object in every room of the house was covered with a fine film of soot.
Contacting the Adjuster
Our estimator arrived on site to assess the extent of the damage. He contacted the adjuster to obtain authorization for our services. He then presented the plan for restoration to the homeowner.
Cleaning All Surfaces
Soot is sneaky. The pressure of a puff back forces soot into the tiniest of openings. Homeowners are always surprised to find soot at the back of closed cabinets and behind the contents of closets. Following a fire or puff back, our certified Fire Restoration Technicians are tasked to wipe down every surface: walls, floors, ceilings, and fixtures, as well as all sides of all contents.
Clearing the Air
In addition to the deposits on all surfaces, a puff back also leaves chemicals and other particulates floating in the air. These byproducts may be hazardous and can cause odors to persist. For this Lincoln puff back, our crew installed three HEPA-filtered air filtration devices to scrub all the particulates out of the air.
Smoke odors penetrate porous materials that are difficult to clean on the surface. We employ an industrial odor-neutralizing system to eliminate lingering malodors. This machine uses a nontoxic dry vapor that penetrates everywhere the soot and smoke went. The vapor leaves a home with a pleasant aroma without damaging fabric, plants, or electronic devices.
Trust Professionals for Puff Backs
Attempting to clean soot with conventional cleaners may actually set the stains into your walls and furnishings. Additionally, the air in your home may not be healthy to breathe following a furnace malfunction. Even if you think you have cleaned successfully, you may experience an overpowering smoke odor the next time it rains.
Regular maintenance should keep your heating system functioning normally. However, if you experience a puff back, you should contact us as soon as possible. At SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford we pride ourselves on making it “Like it never even happened.”
Removing Soot From Your Home
Trust Professionals to clean soot from your home
After a fire in your home, you will likely find soot everywhere. The heat of a fire pushes soot into every nook and cranny, deep into cupboards and closets coating every surface.
Do Not DIY
Some homeowners are tempted to clean the soot on their own. Do-it-yourself cleaning is not recommended following a fire. The soot particles are so small they can get behind walls and between floorboards. Even when surfaces appear clean, smoke smells can linger for years due these hidden particles.
Another issue is the HVAC system. Soot will hide inside the ducts for heating or air conditioning systems. Once a homeowner believes the house is clean and turns on one of these systems, the soot in the ducts will once again blanket the house.
Consult a professional before you make your problems worse.
Fire Restoration Professionals
If you have a fire in your home, you should act fast to prevent further damage. Most importantly, you should trust the cleanup to fire restoration professionals with the training and experience to remove soot thoroughly the first time. They can show you what can be cleaned, what should be discarded, and when you can safely turn on your HVAC and electricity again. They can communicate the scope of your loss to your insurance company.
At SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford, we have over 33 years of experience responding to fire damages and removing soot for homeowners in Middlesex County. Our fire restoration technicians are certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, and they are on call 24/7 to respond quickly and secure your home if needed.
Trust SERVPRO for Soot Cleanup
We hope you never have a fire in your home, and we strive to educate homeowners about fire prevention. However, should you suffer a fire or puffback and you need soot removed from your home, you can trust our fire restoration technicians to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Holiday Fire Safety
Protect your home and family from fires during the holidays
During this holiday season, SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford would like you to exercise caution when staging your holiday décor and preparing holiday meals. Holiday decorations and food preparation are the culprits in many house fires that occur during November, December, and January.
Candles light up many events during the season. Unfortunately, candles also start 55 percent of home decoration fires in December. Christmas, New Year’s Day, and New Year’s Eve are the top three days for house fires started by candles.
Place candles carefully away from flammable items. Keep them out of reach of children and pets. If you cannot protect your candles from cats, consider using flameless candles for your celebration.
Approximately 200 house fires each year involve Christmas trees. More alarming is the fact that one in every 32 Christmas tree fires will result in death.
You lessen your risk when you:
- Keep live trees watered
- Inspect tree lights for exposed wiring
- Replace old lights with newer, safer ones
- Place candles and space heaters far from trees
- Secure tree against tipping
Do not permit a situation where an active child or pet could knock over a tree and have it touch a lit candle or fireplace.
Cooking Holiday Dinners
The top three days for home cooking fires are Thanksgiving, the day before Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Hectic cooks trying to do too much, houseguests helping in unfamiliar kitchens, and decorations placed too close to cooking equipment all contribute to these fires.
Keep decorations and other flammable items away from cooking equipment. Take care when using slow cookers, roasting pans, and other cooking appliances. Place all cooking appliances where they cannot be knocked over. Do not use extension cords as they may not be rated for the appliance you are using and they can create tripping hazards that lead to burns and fires.
SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford wishes you all the best this holiday season. We hope your friends and family enjoy safe celebrations. Remember we are here 24/7 throughout the year to assist should disaster strike.
No Renter’s Insurance in Lexington, Mass. House Fire
Your landlord's insurance does not cover your contents in a fire.
Do you rent a house or apartment? Do you have renter’s insurance? Unfortunately, our franchise is frequently called to the scene of fires where tenants do not have coverage for their contents. No coverage means they risk losing everything they value in the event of a fire or other catastrophe. Fires are always terrible, but fires without proper insurance are heartbreaking.
Earlier this year, we were called to clean after a fire in a house in Lexington, Mass. A short circuit caused an oven range fire that affected the whole house, especially the kitchen. Heavy soot covered all surfaces and contents, including cabinet and closet interiors.
The property owner had insurance to cover the building. Our certified fire technicians were able to clean the soot off the ceiling, walls, and floors. However, we could only clean the exterior of the cabinets and closets, because the insurance company and property owner would only agree to pay for their areas of responsibility.
No Tenant’s Insurance
The tenant was on the hook for any contents cleaning, but the tenant did not have renter’s insurance to cover the contents. Without renter’s insurance, any destroyed items were a total loss for the tenant. Even worse, if the tenant did not have the right training and materials for soot removal, there is a good chance the tenant damaged items that could have been restored by an experienced fire restoration cleaner.
Talk to Your Insurance Agent/Carrier
If you currently rent a house or apartment and you do not have renter’s insurance, please take the time to get a quote for this coverage. You will likely find the coverage is less expensive than you expected and well worth protecting everything you keep in your home.
Here at SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford, we are committed to restoring property following a fire or flood. Please consider carrying the right insurance coverage to ensure we are able to make your disaster "Like it never even happened."
Why a Brighton Pizza Shop Chose SERVPRO for Fire Restoration
Fires can shut down restaurants for days. Call SERVPRO to get back in business ASAP.
Fires can shut down restaurants for days. Soot must be removed from affected surfaces, fumes must be deodorized, and any water damage must be cleaned and dried.
Many city health departments will require a health inspection before allowing a restaurant to reopen after a fire.
Our franchise professionals have the experience and Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Certification (IICRC) certifications to properly assist restaurants in reopening as quickly as possible.
Time Is Money
When a restaurant is closed for a meal, every minute is lost revenue for the business. Most restaurants run on a slim margin and cannot recoup money lost when forced to close. Employees also suffer a loss when they cannot work.
At SERVPRO® of Lexington-Bedford, we make every effort to restore a business following a fire as soon as possible to reduce the financial impact on owners and employees.
Brighton Pizza Shop
Last spring, the exterior shingles on a Brighton, Mass. pizza shop caught fire during lunch, contaminating two levels of the restaurant. The Boston Board of Health closed the pizza shop until it could pass inspection.
The owner had only one question, “Can you have my shop ready for inspection tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.?”
Our IICRC-certified technicians worked into the night:
- Cleaned all surfaces to remove soot
- Deodorized with thermal fog
- Scrubbed the air with HEPA-filtered devices
- Cleaned the ducts and HVAC system
We also sent a crew to stand by during the health inspection in case the inspector raised any issues. The inspector was satisfied with the cleaning and deodorizing and permitted the restaurant to open the morning after the fire.
Hire SERVPRO for Fire Restoration
When your restaurant needs to get back in business quickly following a fire, call our office at 781-861-0500. We will make it “Like it never even happened.”
PASS the Fire!
Fires aren't something we come across too often but once they start they can become massive. Portable fire extinguishers aid in being a life and property saving tool. The NFPA (The National Fire Protection Association hopes the word PASS will help people remember how to properly use a fire extinguisher
Pull the pin. Hold the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.
Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side
Reading the instructions on the extinguisher and familiarizing yourself with one helps you prepare incase a fire breaks out. There are limitations to fire extinguishers so it is important that you have the correct type and use them for the correct purposes! If you need more help on finding the appropriate extinguisher visit www.NFPA.org
Carbon Monoxide: A Silent Killer
You can't see or smell carbon dioxide, but at high levels, it can kill a person in minutes. CO is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels, like gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas and propane burn incompletely. An excess of CO, leading to CO poisoning, can result from faulty furnaces or other heating appliances, portable generators, water heaters, clothes dryers or idling cars left running in garages.
Taking some basic , precautionary steps can help eliminate the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Have fuel-burning appliances, like oil and gas furnaces, gas or kerosene heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves, inspected by a trained professional every year
- Open the damper for proper ventilation before using the fireplace
- Never use your oven or stovetop to heat your home
- Make sure all fuel-burning vented equipment is vented to the outside to avoid CO poisoning. Keep the venting for exhaust clear and unblocked
- If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Never run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not blocked with snow, ice or other materials
- Make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of snow and other debris
- Only use barbecue grills outside, away from all doors, windows, vents and other building openings. Some grills can produce CO gas. Never use grills inside the home or the garage, even if the doors are open.
- Use portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from all doors, windows, vents and other building openings to prevent exhaust fumes from entering the home.
Fire, Smoke & Soot Restoration Services
SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can help provide a solution to your property's fire damage needs.
After a smoke or fire damage, ceilings, walls woodwork, carpeting, and floors will often need a thorough cleaning. A SERVPRO Franchise Professional will pretest to determine the extent of damage, and then use the specific equipment and cleaning products required to clean and protect the different types of surfaces found in your facility. Depending on the amount of soot, the local SERVPRO Franchise Professional may even be able to reduce the cost of recovery by cleaning lighter soot deposits found on some surfaces, eliminating the expense incurred with repainting or refinishing.
All of the tolerable contents in affected areas will be professionally cleaned and deodorized. This included area rugs, furniture, draperies, and upholstery. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals begin by carefully inspecting and testing all fabrics in the structure to determine which cleaning methods are most appropriate. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can provide wet or dry cleaning services. Additionally, all the other restorable contents will be cleaned and deodorized to preloss condition. Finally, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can provide an inventory list of all "to be claimed" items if requested.
SERVPRO Franchise Professionals provide specialized services that rid your place of business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals do not merely cover up lingering odors with a fragrance, they seek out the sources of the odor and remove them.
Fire and Smoke Do's and Dont's
- Limit the movement in the house to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets
- Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls, and woodwork
- Place dry, colorfast towels on rugs, upholstery, and carpet traffic areas
- If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator completely and prop doors open
- Clean soot from chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim and appliances and protect with a light coating of petroleum jelly or oil
- Pour RV antifreeze into sinks, toilet bowls, and tubs if heat is off during the freezing season
- Wash both sides of leaves on house plants
- Change HVAC filter
- Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system
- Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional
- Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional
- Attempt to clean any electrical appliances (TV sets, radios, etc...) that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service
- Consume any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water (They may be contaminated)
- Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. Wiring may be wet or damaged
- Send Garments to the dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor
Know your Smoke
A fire loss is very complex because of the unique behavior of smoke. That is why is it important to have trained technicians at your home or business.
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas
- Smoke migrates to upper levels of a structure
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, using holes around pipes to go from floor to floor
- The type of smoke will greatly affect the restoration process
Types of Smoke
- Wet Smoke - Plastics and Rubbers
- Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean
- Dry Smoke - Paper and Wood
- Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises
- Protein Fire Residue - Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
- Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor
- Fuel Oil Soot - Furnace Puff Backs
- While "puff backs" can create havoc for your insured, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can in most cases restore the contents and structure
- Other Types - Tear gas, fingerprint powder and fire extinguisher residue
- Special loss situations require special care. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals are trained to handle your toughest losses!
Emergency Fire Damage Tips
Fires are scary monsters whose's flames can engulf a home in under 5 minutes. In case you ever face a fire here are some tips to stay safe:
- Keep hands clean
- Limit movement in the home to prevent further damage
- Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on carpeted traffic areas to prevent more soiling
- If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open
- Wipe soot from chrome on faucets and appliances then protect with a light coating of lubricant
- Do not attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting a SERVPRO® Franchise Professional
- Do not attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting SERVPRO® Franchise Professional
- Do not attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire or water without consulting a repair service