Recent Fire Damage Posts

Top 3 Causes of Home Fires and How To Prevent Them

2/28/2020 (Permalink)

Young Man Using Red Fire Extinguisher To Stop Fire Coming From Oven In Kitchen Kitchen fire in Union Township, PA

Here Are The Top Residential Fires

Most people believe that house fires are rare catastrophes that could never happen to them. Unfortunately, the reality is that a simple mistake or oversight could cause a fire to break out in your Union Township, PA, home. The good news is that the most common causes of a home fire can be easily prevented through proper care and attention. Here are the top residential fire causes and what you can do to keep them from happening in your own home.

1. Cooking Fires
As you might expect, cooking-related fires are one of the leading causes of house fires. Fires that start in the kitchen are typically a result of the following:

  • Frying with oil
  • Using faulty appliances
  • Wearing loose-fitting clothing
  • Placing flammable items near an open flame
  • Using an excessively high cooking temperature
  • Leaving food unattended on the stove or in the oven

To stop these emergencies from taking place, make sure to always keep an eye on your food and use your stove and oven appropriately.

2. Electrical Fires
Another major cause of a home fire is a faulty electrical system. Defective outlets, appliances, light fixtures, and wiring often lead to electrical fires in residential settings. To keep your home safe from an electrical fire, make sure your wiring is up to date, and be sure to use extension cords and space heaters responsibly. Never place a cord, or an appliance, too close to a flammable object or combustible surface.

3. Washing Machines and Dryers
Washing machines and dryers prompt many homeowners to call for fire cleaning. By remembering to clean your dryer’s lint trap on a regular basis, you can dramatically reduce the risk of having a dryer fire in your home. Additionally, check that your washing machine has no faulty wiring or poor cable insulation.
You can help prevent fires in your home by following a few simple precautions. Remember to call emergency restoration services to help restore your living space from a home fire in the event that anything goes wrong.

5 Tips for Keeping Your Dryer Lint Free

11/21/2019 (Permalink)

Hand cleaning accumulated clothing lint from trap in clothes dryer. Remove the lint screen and clean it

You might not be too surprised to experience a small grease fire on your stovetop or other minor, manageable blaze. One of the most unfortunate and avoidable home disasters, however, is a lint fire in your clothes dryer. You can avert this fire damage at your home in Burgettstown, PA, by performing routine maintenance on your dryer.

5 Steps to a Safer Dryer

Once you realize how important it is to clean and maintain your dryer filters on a regular basis, you need to learn how to go about it. Here are the five most important steps for keeping your dryer safe from a lint fire.

Remove the lint screen. Tap the screen over a garbage bin or gently pull the lint off. If the lint sticks to the screen, rinse it with a sprayer. Dry thoroughly before reinserting it in the dryer.
Vacuum the upper vent. Use a narrow tipped nozzle to vacuum out the vent where the lint filter is inserted. Periodically remove the residual lint trapped inside this vent.
Clean the dryer exhaust. Unplug the dryer and remove the clamp that holds the expandable exhaust hose to the dryer. Use a cleaning rod to reach deep into the hose and remove lint buildup. Finish the cleanup by using the wand on your vacuum.
Check the exterior vent. Go outside and remove the cover from the exterior dryer vent. Clean off any lint buildup and replace the cover.
Tend to the back of the dryer. Make sure the dryer is unplugged and remove the panel from the back. Using a shop vacuum, clean out all of the vents and any other areas where you find lint. Replace the back panel before plugging the dryer back in.

If a blaze does break out. you may need assistance with fire damage cleanup. Call a professional fire and water damage restoration company in Burgettstown, PA, to help with fire cleanup and smoke odor removal caused by the lint fire. Better yet, keep your filters clean and reduce your risk of a dryer fire.

Your First 3 Steps After a Home Fire

10/7/2019 (Permalink)

Picture of a fan and ceiling with soot damage after a fire Fire damage in Strabane, PA

A home fire can be an unsettling experience for you and your family. Once the fire has been extinguished, the inspection and fire restoration processes begin. It’s important to stay focused on getting the help you need and moving forward. Before you can survey your damage, an official will want to clear your home for safe entry.

Initial Safety Assessment

After the fire is extinguished, crews will assess the dwelling for safety. They will carefully inspect three aspects of the damage to determine whether you and cleanup teams can enter.

  • Structural Integrity – The walls, stairwells, floors and ceilings will be inspected for stability, and dangerous areas will likely be cordoned off.
  • Electrical System – If the electrical is still live, it will likely be disconnected from power until water is removed from the building.
  • Unstable Hazards – It may take a day or two for fire teams to identify hazards and remove them from the structure.

This phase of the process confirms your home is stable enough for you and cleanup crews to enter.

Damage Survey

With your home cleared for entry, you will likely go in for the first time with a crew chief or fire supervisor. The official will help you understand the extent of the fire and smoke damage and give you an overview of the fire restoration process. This important step can prepare you for initial conversations with your insurance agent and remediation professionals.

Professional Assistance

As soon as you have an overview of the damage, you can notify your insurance company and find out about your coverage. The fire specialist who toured the damage with you can recommend a damage cleaning service for your situation. Professionals will work quickly and safely to clean, dry and restore your belongings and structure.

A fire in your Strabane, PA, home can cause you and your family significant stress. The emergency responders, your insurance agent and your fire restoration crews are all trained to help guide you through the process. Step by step, they will work to restore your home and your belongings—and ultimately, your peace of mind.

Eliminating Cigarette Smoke Odor

7/19/2019 (Permalink)

Baking soda and vinegar are known for their odor-neutralization properties

Cigarette odor can linger for a surprisingly long time in your Strabane, PA, home or apartment. Because odors are invisible, home deodorization is often frustrating, but knowing a little about the problem before you get started can help you do the job thoroughly and quickly.

What Items Hold Onto Odors?

Odors from cigarette smoke can cling to any surface, but some household objects are more likely to trap odors than others. When trying to get rid of a smoky smell, do not neglect any of the following:

  • Carpet
  • Pillows and bedding
  • Curtains
  • Upholstery
  • Walls and ceilings

What Cleaning Solutions Eliminate Smoke Odor?

Every situation is different, but in many cases, you can clean smoke odors from household surfaces with a mild soap. Baking soda and vinegar are known for their odor-neutralization properties and can safely be used to clean a wide variety of items. “Airing out” the area by opening the windows and doors and running a fan will also help.

What if the Smell Is Still There?

Smoke odor can be very tough to fully eliminate because it seeps into tiny crevices and lingers in porous surfaces. If soap and fresh air have not fully taken care of the smell, you can try an ozone machine. These machines are very effective at home deodorization because they use ozone, and ozone can go anywhere cigarette smoke goes. Ozone has three oxygen atoms, instead of two like regular oxygen that we breathe. The additional atom attaches itself to the smoke particles. This is a chemical reaction, called oxidation, that eliminates the smoke odor. Ozone machines are available in several sizes to deodorize anywhere, from small bathrooms to large open areas.
Removing smoke odor from your home may seem like a daunting task, but with the right equipment it can be done successfully. Additionally, a professional restoration company can help you with every step of your home deodorization project.

Benefits of Using a Roof Tarp After a Fire

6/26/2019 (Permalink)

Roof tarping after a fire While awaiting roof repair following a fire, it may be a good idea to cover the roof with a tarp while fire cleanup efforts are occurring.

Why Tarp Services May Be Useful Following a Fire

In the event of a building fire in Hanover Township, PA, there may be significant damage to the roof in particular. The flames themselves may have caused roof damage, and holes may have been cut into the roof to aid in firefighting efforts. After the flames have been extinguished and fire cleanup begins, it may be helpful to place a tarp over the roof to protect the area while waiting for repairs. Below are several reasons why tarp services may be useful following a fire.

1. Protect From the Elements

Placing a tarp over the roof may keep the elements out of the building. Rain, snow, wind and sunlight can add to the destruction of the building that has already occurred from the fire. A well-placed roof tarp may be able to withstand sun, wind and precipitation and may protect the property from further damage until repairs can be made.

2. Deter Animals

With uncovered holes in the roof, animals such as birds, squirrels or insects may attempt to enter the building. If left unchecked, these critters may begin to live inside the property. Pests can cause numerous problems, including additional property damage and leaving a mess behind. Placing a tarp on the roof during fire cleanup efforts can help prevent pests from entering and making their home inside the building.

3. Keep Debris Out

Gaping holes in the roof may allow debris such as leaves and twigs to fall inside. Debris may also be swept inside from the wind. Covering roof holes with a tarp may prevent an additional mess inside the building from debris.

While awaiting roof repair following a fire, it may be a good idea to cover the roof with a tarp while fire cleanup efforts are occurring. You may consider hiring commercial building restoration services to assist with tarp placement, as a properly placed and secured tarp may prevent the problems mentioned above. It can take time for repairs to be completed, and it may be wise to cover roof holes in the meantime.

Securing Your Building Post-Fire

6/5/2019 (Permalink)

A burned commercial property Is your North Washington County, commercial property suffering after a fire?

Is your North Washington County, commercial property suffering after a fire? If you are planning on seeking help from a local fire damage restoration company, you are already on the right track. But you also need to keep your building safe in the meantime. Follow these three steps to make sure looting does not affect your business in the aftermath of a commercial fire.

Identify and Secure Open Spaces

Survey your building very carefully when beginning your fire cleanup efforts. Ensure that all windows, doors and other open spaces are securely locked. Next, make sure that you purchase some sturdy boards that will be sufficiently protective for the type of opening that you are securing. The length of time you expect the boards to be in place should also influence what type of covering you buy.

Research Further Options

While waiting to repair fire damage to your building, you may want to invest in some fencing for added security. This really depends on whether or not you feel that your building is in an area prone to heavy looting, as well as the amount of time you expect your business to be shut down for.

Consider Advanced Security Options

If you feel that your company’s geographical area is highly unsafe or expect you will be closed for a very long time, security services or a high-tech alarm may be the way to go. These options allow your building to be secured when you are not physically available to keep a close watch.

Don’t Get Intimidated

Fire damage is stressful enough without worrying about highly customizable security options. You need to focus on fixing any destruction first and foremost, so if you think complicated security measures are out of the question logistically or financially, stick with basic, reliable boards that will keep your North Washington County business protected not only from criminal activity, but also the unpredictable natural elements.

Removing Cigarette Smoke from Your Home

5/22/2019 (Permalink)

Contact a smoke remediation specialist in the Cross Creek, PA, area

How do You Get Rid of Cigarette Smoke Odor?

While the health concerns of smoking are well-known and documented, people often forget about the damage cigarette smoke can do to your home. Discolored walls, stains on the ceiling and burn marks in the carpeting are only a few of the issues. However, one of the most significant complaints is likely about the lingering smell of cigarettes. While there are some home deodorization products available in the stores, most of these products are odor cover-ups and nothing more. Therefore, how do you get rid of the odor altogether? If you’re not ready to call in a professional service, there are a few things you can try.

1. HVAC System Cleaning

It is true that the thorough cleaning of your HVAC system likely requires a professional, but there are a few things you can do on your own. First, you can replace the filters. Then, you can look into vent filters. There are also scented HVAC filters that will help cover any persistent odor.

2. Vinegar and Baking Soda

One home deodorization method that is pretty popular is using a vinegar and water mixture on nonporous items and baking soda on porous items. Both are supposed to be left to dry or absorb for a while, but then can be wiped or vacuumed up. While these methods have worked for several people, some do not find them that effective.

3. Coffee Sachet

A coffee sachet is basically a sac filled with coffee grounds. The grounds of the coffee are supposed to be odor absorbent and can, therefore, be used to absorb the cigarette odor in your home.

4. Professional Cleaning

If the home solutions are not working, you can contact a smoke remediation specialist in the Cross Creek, PA, area. These professionals have experience in deodorization and will likely be able to get your home back to smelling normal.

While there are some DIY home deodorization methods, they do not always prove to be effective against every odor. Therefore, if you or your loved ones are heavy smokers, then you may be better off with a professional cleaning service.

Board up After Fire Damage

4/22/2019 (Permalink)

A fire can leave you out of house and home for days on end while the restoration is being completed. 

SERVPRO of North Washington County can perform board up services in order to secure your home from looters and wildlife. 

After your house is secure, SERVPRO will begin a pack out and get together all of your damaged belongings and take them back to our cleaning facility in order to remove smoke smell and soot.

Give us a call as soon as firefighters leave so we can start the restoration process. After we are done with your home it will look "Like it never even happened."

If you want to learn more about the fire damage restoration process,  click here

If you want to check out some fire damage tips, click here.

Emergency Family and Pet Preparedness

4/17/2019 (Permalink)

In the blink of an eye, our lives can change.  None of us want to experience loss due to fire, water, or storm events.  However, it is important to be prepared, and always think about safety first.  Family members should have an agreed upon meeting spot if they would have to exit the home in the event of a sudden emergency.  Also, an escape ladder should be positioned near a window inside the home.  Often, families have pets, and let us not forget the furry ones of our family.  Is there a "get away bag" near an exit with a few cans of food for the furry ones, some water, and one or two of their favorite toys, and some of their medications packed.  Also, are there friends or family that would take the pets in if you and your family were to be displaced as a result of a fire, water, or storm event loss at your place of living.

How To Safely Extinguish a Grease Fire

2/5/2019 (Permalink)

Dealing with a grease fire in your home in Donora, PA is a terrifying experience

A Step-by-Step Guide to Putting Out a Grease Fire in Your Home

For many homeowners, one of the greatest joys you can have is cooking homemade meals. However, that joy can quickly change to fear when facing a fire. Regardless of your experience in the kitchen, a fire can happen to anyone at any time. As a result, everyone needs to be familiar with the process of extinguishing one. The following is a step-by-step guide to putting out a grease fire in your home:

1. Eliminate the heat source. The first step you need to take is removing the heat source by turning your burner off or unplugging the stove. This will help keep the fire from getting out of control. Be sure to wear oven mitts to avoid burns.

2. Smother the flames. The best method for eliminating a stovetop or oven fire is to smother it by putting a lid over the pan. This quickly cuts off the oxygen supply. Make sure to use a lid that is not made of glass, as the intense heat can cause it to shatter. Another option is to use baking soda and pour a generous quantity on the fire. If you own a fire extinguisher, you can use this as a third option. Never use water on a grease fire, as oil and water do not mix, and this can cause an explosion.

3. Call 911. If the above steps do not eliminate the fire, or if it spreads, call 911 immediately and evacuate everyone in the residence. Do not stay and continue to attempt to put out the fire; your life is much more important.

Dealing with a grease fire in your home in Donora, PA, is a terrifying experience. By arming yourself with the knowledge of how to properly handle one before it starts, you can get it under control and prevent too much damage from occurring. Afterward, fire restoration services can help you with fire cleanup and assess any damage.

Holiday Cooking

12/21/2018 (Permalink)

Unattended cooking is the main cause of home fires.  When cooking during the holiday season, you may be distracted by guests or cooking in ways that are out of your normal cooking routine.  Don't leave the kitchen without turning off the heat, and remember to keep flammable items such as pot holders, wooden utensils, and food packaging off the stovetop.  When using the oven, set a timer to remind yourself it's in use.  You might want to consider keeping a lid nearby when you are cooking on top of the stove.  You can use that lid to smother a grease fire.  For a flame up in the oven, turn off the heat and leave the oven door closed until the fire goes out.  Never use water to put out a grease fire.  Keeping a box of baking soda nearby will help put down a grease fire.  And last, but certainly not least, if the fire is big--everyone get out of the building, close the door to contain the flames.

Winter Season Fire Risks

11/16/2018 (Permalink)

There are 25,000 house fires annually due to overly soiled chimneys.  When was your chimney last swept.  Some folks have more than one fire place--get them all swept.  Please consider taking your cellular phone charger out of the outlet when it is not charging your mobile phone--ever notice how hot that charger gets?  If you enjoy supplementing winter time warmth with electric blankets and space heaters, consider their age, and examine all cords at the beginning of the season, and always remember to turn off and/or unplug these items when not in use, and especially when you are leaving the house--even if it be for just a 20 minute journey up the street to the convenience store.

Kitchen Fires

5/21/2018 (Permalink)

From 2011-2015, USA fire departments responded to an estimated average of 170,200 home structure fires that involved cooking equipment.  Forty-seven (47 %) percent of reported homes structure fires were caused by cooking.  Never leave pots and pans unattended on the stove--don't forget to turn the oven off after the baking is completed; double check yourself.  Don't believe that running up the street to the convenience store for 5 minutes and leaving flames on, yet low, on the stove, is safe--it's not.  For instance, boiling water on the stove, and then going off to check the laundry.  The laundry is finished, and you become distracted, wanting to fold the clothes while they are still hot out of the dryer.  In an effort to save time later, and complete the task, you continue on to another area of the home, to put all the folded clothes away.  How much time has passed?  How high was that flame on the stove?  How much water was in the pot?  It could be long enough to evaporate all the water in the pot, and the flame continues on without the benefit of water in the pot.  Most fires are not total losses, and most fires are kitchen fires, however, no one wants to have a fire experience in their lives.