Recent Fire Damage Posts

Christmas Tree Safety

1/2/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Christmas Tree Safety We're taking our advice and are putting away our office tree for the year.

With the holidays coming to an end, we want to encourage you to dispose or store your Christmas tree sooner rather than later. The reason being it’s a fire hazard, regardless if you have a real or artificial tree, and the dryer the tree, the bigger the fire hazard. In fact, nearly 40% of U.S. home fires that begin with Christmas trees occur in January.

In light of the holiday season winding down, we’d like to give you a list of tips to consider when getting your tree next holiday season.

1. Fresh is best: Buy a tree that isn’t previously cut to prevent it from drying out before you bring it home.

2. Do your research: If you have a pre-lit artificial tree, check to see if it’s been recalled. Often times, these kinds of trees are recalled due to exposed wiring and electrical shock hazards.

3. Hydration is key: Keep your tree well-watered throughout the entire holiday season to keep your tree green and fire free.

4. Lights out: Don’t leave lights plugged in when you leave your home or go to bed. If a fire sparks, you want to be the first to know.

5. Flames lead to blame: Keep open flames, such as candles, away from the tree at all times.

6. Your outlets need breaks too: Don’t overload your electrical sockets when plugging in Christmas tree lights.

Disposal of Ashes

8/13/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Disposal of Ashes WARNING: Do not put ashes in a plastic trash can. We know from personal experience that it does not end well.

As the end of summer draws near, we’d like to address the proper way to dispose of any left-over ashes you may have sitting in your fire pit.

Be Safe:

Always treat ashes as if they’re hot when removing them because they can stay hot for several days after the initial fire. It all depends on the heat of the fire and what was burned.

Proper Disposal:

  • Wait several days after a fire to remove the ashes—just to be safe
  • Place the ashes in a metal trash can and dump some water on top
  • Be sure the trash can is placed far away from anything that would catch fire such as a home, garage, or tree
  • Keep the trash can away from any combustibles

What not to do:

The person who sent us these photos found out the hard way the improper way to dispose of ashes. Let’s walk through some basic techniques that should be avoided:

  • Placing ashes in a trash can the day after a fire
  • Using a plastic trash can for the disposal
  • Having the trash can right next to the house

Thank goodness a friendly neighbor noticed the smoking trash can, or this could have been a more serious case. The only damage was to the trash can.

Timeline of Events:

The time-lapse of the destroyed trash can was within a 3-hour window. The ashes were placed at 1 pm, and the destroyed trash can was found at 4 pm.

Spread the Word:

This a mistake that is too easy to make, and that’s why we love to educate people. Please share this information, so no one makes the same mistake.

Source: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/

How to Put Out a Grease Fire

7/26/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage How to Put Out a Grease Fire This is the aftermath of a grease fire.

Fires are scary. Grease fires are even scarier because we have to fight off our human instinct to throw water on the blazing flames. Yes, you heard right. Do not throw water on a grease fire. It’ll only make the situation worse. Odds are, if you put water on the grease fire, it’ll A) make it bigger and B) spray grease all over you—which may lead to minor burns.

SERVPRO of Black Hawk County has been building awareness for several months now regarding the proper way to handle grease fires by handing out cans of baking soda. Here are steps to follow when dealing with a grease fire.

1. Get the Baking Soda

The number one way to put out a grease fire is sitting right in your kitchen: baking soda! That white powdery stuff works miracles in dowsing fires in your kitchen. We recommend keeping it in an easy-access area near your stove, but not right above your stove because tall flames can make it nearly impossible to grab in your moment of need.

2. Take Away Its Power

You should also turn off the source of heat as soon as possible. This will keep the fire from growing any bigger. 

3. Grab the Lid

If the fire isn’t too big, you can also cut off the oxygen supply by putting a lid over the pan. Just be careful not to burn yourself in the process.

Again, do NOT pour water on a grease fire. It’s bad news.

We encourage you to educate young teens who are learning to cook about the dangers of grease fires, and as always, if you have any fire damage, give us a call. We’ll make it, “Like it never even happened.”

148 Emergency Response Guidlines

7/23/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage 148 Emergency Response Guidlines Backed by 1,700 franchises- you can trust us.

We wait all the time. We wait in line. We wait for our food. We even wait for our packages to arrive in the mail. Well, the wait is over. SERVPRO of Black Hawk County is promising right here and now that you will not have to wait for us.

We acknowledge the importance of emergency response time by living by the 148.

1 – Within one hour from notice of loss, we will contact you to arrange for service

4 – Within four hours of loss of notification, we will be on-site to start mitigation services (if necessary).

8 – Within eight business hours, we will communicate with you what needs to be done and how we will take action.

So, when a water or fire emergency strikes—regardless of the time and day—give us a call. We’ll be there because we’ve got your back. It’s as simple as that.

We'll make it, "Like it never even happened."

5 Facts About Smoke Damage

7/9/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage 5 Facts About Smoke Damage Smoke damage to a wall.

Smoke damage is often overlooked, but it’s more prevalent than one would think. Discover five facts about smoke damage, so you can be prepared for a fire loss.

This Stinks—Literally

The smell of smoke can remain long after the fire occurred. For this reason alone, we highly recommend people receive professional help from SERVPRO of Black Hawk County in any fire loss. We use deodorizers, air scrubbers, and fogging equipment to eliminate the smell of smoke. 

If the smoky smell remains, it can actually impact the selling price of your home or business when you go to sell it.

Discoloration is Everywhere

Another burden of smoke damage is the discoloration. Walls, ceilings, household items, and more can be discolored after a fire. In the photo, you can see the walls have turned black due to excessive smoke—and no, it’s not a black and white photo.

Unsafe to your Health

As you have probably guessed, smoke damage is also bad for your health. Coughing is only the start, with respiratory problems to follow.

Speed is Key

Corrosion is the next thing to occur after a fire, and time is not your friend. With every day ash sits, more corrosion will occur.

Different Smoke Types Require Different Cleaning Methods

Perhaps the trickiest thing about smoke is there are different types, and each type requires a different cleaning method. 

If you experience any smoke damage, call SERVPRO of Black Hawk County right away. We’ll make it “Like it never even happened.”

Phone Charger Shorted Causing Fire Damage

2/21/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Phone Charger Shorted Causing Fire Damage This is a phone charger that was plugged in and shorted out causing fire damage.

In a continuing education class presented by Todd Davis, Davis Agency Insurance, for SERVPRO of Black Hawk County, Todd pointed out that one fast growing fire hazard was phone chargers left plugged in for extended time periods. Look around, do you have one plugged in now and possibly without a phone attached?

To prove the point, I am sharing a story from SERVPRO of Dubuque, Iowa. They were recently called to clean up and rebuild a local home that sustained significant fire, soot and smoke damage due to an electrical fire.

As usual they were prevented from beginning their work until after the Cause and Origin Specialist had reviewed the scene and determined the cause of the fire.

It ended up in this case that a cell phone charger was left plugged in after the phone was removed after charging overnight.  The charger shorted out and started a fire resulting in $50,000 plus in damage.

It is commonly known that charging a phone while on top of a flammable surface such as in bed or on a sofa is a fire hazard, but what about once the phone is removed from the charger?

Most people are unaware that once the phone or even the charging cord are disconnected there is still power being drawn by the "wall plug".

As we find that we use more and more mobile electronics in our daily lives, most of us have a handful of different chargers for our cell phones, tablets and other accessories.  It is common to leave wall plugs or car chargers plugged in and simply disconnect our devices.  Unfortunately doing so is not only a fire hazard but is becoming one of the most frequent causes of electrical fires in homes.

Two possible preventative measures are either simply unplugging all chargers when not currently in use or to plug all chargers into a quality GFI power strip and turn it off when not utilizing the chargers.

I hope this information will be helpful and can prevent a dangerous and costly fire in your home or business.  Should you have a fire or water damage loss, please remember SERVPRO.  We can make it "Like it never even happened."

Thank you to SERVPRO of Dubuque for sharing the picture and story.

Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Home!

5/25/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Home! An upstairs fire that burned and smoldered within the roof destroyed this home. Materials like wet insulation add another layer of cleanup and odor.

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

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Black Hawk County will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 
319-268-1521