Recent Fire Damage Posts

Safety Tips For Your Gainesville Holiday Celebrations

11/24/2020 (Permalink)

tree ablaze Don't let your holiday season go up in smoke by neglecting basic safety tips.

Brightly lighted decorations, elaborate meals and large gatherings are all part of traditional holiday celebrations. Unfortunately, these seasonal traditions also cause an average of 780 home fires annually that result in an average of three deaths, 34 injuries and $12 million in property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Homeowners can help keep their homes and their families safe during the holiday season by understanding the dangers and taking some simple, commonsense precautions.

Holiday Cooking Fire Facts

  • Thanksgiving Day has three times the average number of reported home structure fires involving cooking equipment.
  • The two other peak days for cooking-related fires are Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.

Holiday Cooking Safety Tips

  • Supervise items on the stovetop. Fifty-eight percent of kitchen fires involve ranges; homes with electric cooktops have a higher risk of fire than homes with gas cooktops.
  • Keep flammable items – potholders, packaging, wrapping, wooden utensils, loose clothing – away from the stovetop.
  • Don’t let lack of sleep or alcohol consumption affect your ability to concentrate on preparing the meal.

Holiday Decorating Fire Facts

  • Half of all holiday decoration fires start because the decoration is too close to a heat source.
  • On average, 32 candle fires are reported each day. December is the peak month for candle fires.

Holiday Decorating Safety Tips:

  • Keep all decorations away from heat sources like radiators, portable heaters and fireplaces.
  • Use flameless candles.
  • If you do use traditional candles, burn them in sturdy candleholders, well away from drapes and other flammable materials. Never leave them unattended and never allow them to burn down to less than one inch in length.

Christmas Tree Fire Facts:

  • 50% of live tree fires occur between December 22 and January 5.
  • 31% of tree fires are caused by electrical problems.
  • 14% involve decorative lights.

Christmas Tree Safety Tips:

  • Keep live trees well-watered to reduce the chance of a fire.
  • Check wiring on lights for breaks and wear, replace worn strings and don’t exceed manufacturer guidelines for connecting multiple strands of lights.
  • Don’t leave tree lights plugged in when you are away from home or asleep.

If you incur fire damage this holiday season, SERVPRO of Gainesville West-Alachua County West can assist you. We want to restore your home or business quickly and make it “Like it never even happened.”

Don't Become A Holiday Fire Stastic

10/29/2020 (Permalink)

holiday cooking Don't let this holiday season's cooking be emblazoned into your memory!

“The oven’s on fire and our guests are at the front door!”

Don’t let this be the what you hear at your house this holiday season. Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for fire departments that involve home fires and cooking equipment, followed closely by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.

The National Fire Protection Association stated in a 2017 article that between 2011 and 2015, fire departments responded to an average of 170,200 home structure fires involving cooking equipment which resulted in 510 deaths and 5,470 injuries. Don’t let your home and family be included in these statistics this holiday season.

Here are some kitchen and cooking tips from the NFPA’s Thanksgiving page:

  • Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.
  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stove top so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
  • Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot, and kids should stay three feet away.
  • Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
  • Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

Considerations for cooking with oil

  • Always stay in the kitchen when frying on the stovetop.
  • Keep an eye on what you fry. If you see wisps of smoke or the oil smells, immediately turn off the burner and/or carefully remove the pan from the burner. Smoke is a danger sign that the oil is too hot.
  • Heat the oil slowly to the temperature you need for frying or sautéing.
  • Add food gently to the pot or pan so the oil does not splatter.
  • Always cook with a lid beside your pan. If you have a fire, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Do not remove the cover because the fire could start again. Let the pan cool for a long time. Never throw water on the fire.
  • If the fire does not go out or you don’t feel comfortable sliding a lid over the pan, get everyone out of your home. Call the fire department from outside.

Warning on deep frying a turkey

Be especially aware when Deep Frying a turkey, people tend to put too much oil in which causes overflow and spreads to the open flame causing a mass fireball. Also putting in a frozen or very wet bird can cause major problems which they call B.L.E.V.E which stands for Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion.

  • Always use fryer outside away from any structure
  • Keep oil under 350 degrees, the hotter the oil the more combustible it is
  • Don’t overfill the pot with oil
  • Thoroughly defrost turkey (24 hours for every 10 pounds the turkey weighs)
  • Turn off flame before putting turkey in
  • Keep grease fire approved extinguisher on hand
  • Lower turkey into pot slowly

If you have a cooking fire

  • Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
  • Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
  • If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
  • Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
  • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

If you experience a fire in your home, call the professionals at SERVPRO of Gainesville West-Alachua County West to immediately respond and get your home back to pre-fire condition. We can restore and reconstruct your disaster and make it “Like it never even happened.”

Fire Preparedness Week Highlights Cooking Safety

10/7/2020 (Permalink)

range blaze There are various ways fires can erupt in the kitchen.

One of the most frequent causes of household fire and smoke damage is cooking. With Oct. 4-10 being Fire Preparedness Week, we would like to address how to keep safe in your Gainesville-area kitchen.

According to Tufts Public and Environmental Safety, more than 118,000 fires involve cooking equipment. Because of this, it is important to practice safe cooking behaviors whenever you are in the kitchen no matter how large or for what purpose the meal you are preparing.

  • Protect Children from Scalds and Burns. Young children are at high risk of being burned by hot food and liquids. Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a "kid-free zone" of three feet around the stove.
  • Watch What You’re Cooking. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or cooking food on the stop top or broiling food.
  • Choose the Right Equipment and Use It Properly. Follow manufacturers' instructions when using cooking equipment. Remember to plug microwave ovens and other cooking appliances directly into an outlet. Never use an extension cord for a cooking appliance, as it can overload the circuit and cause a fire. Cook only with equipment designed and intended for cooking and heat your home only with equipment designed and intended for heating.
  • Avoid Using Deep Fat Turkey Fryers. The use of a deep fat turkey fryer can be very dangerous. If you do decide to use one, use it at a safe distance from buildings and other items that can catch fire. Never use a turkey fryer in a garage or on a wooden deck. Watch the fryer carefully, as the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire. To avoid oil spillover, don’t overfill the fryer. Oil-less turkey fryers are available. For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website.
  • Keep Things That Can Catch Fire and Heat Sources Apart. Keep anything that can catch fire - potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels, or curtains - away from your stovetop. Keep the stovetop, burners, and oven clean. Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
  • Prevent Scalds and Burns. To prevent spills due to overturned appliances containing hot food or liquids, use the back burner when possible, and/or turn pot handles away from the stove's edge. Use oven mitts or potholders when moving hot food from ovens, microwave ovens, or stovetops.                                                              

Make sure to follow to follow these helpful tips, Whenever there is a problem with smoke damage in your home please give us a call at SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West at 352-374-6589.

Smoke, Soot Hazards Following A Gainesville Fire

9/14/2020 (Permalink)

health hazard Smoke and soot present major health hazards if not cleaned and treated correctly following a fire.

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. But not only that, it can also have hazardous health affects if not treated and cleaned properly.

Our smoke damage expertise and experience allow 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 Environmental Protection Agency has a list of the affects of smoke as a health hazard and the National Cancer Institute discusses how soot can affect you.

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. 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.

If you have questions about fire restoration or smoke and soot removal, call SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West today at 352-374-6589.

Deciding What Is Salvageable After a House Fire

7/9/2020 (Permalink)

Fire photo When dealing with the emotional aftermath of a fire, let our professionals assist you with what can be kept and what needs to be discarded.

Dealing with the devastation of a residential fire is never easy. Once you have experienced the heat, flames, and destruction, you are likely to be an emotional wreck. You need a quick assessment of the damage done to your home’s structure, followed by an immediate implementation of a recovery plan by a qualified team of experts.  

Who Knows Which Items to Discard and Which to Save? 

Although it might seem as though our managers and technicians are focused primarily on the fire damage to your house’s structure, we also have the training and familiarity with the evaluation and appropriate restoration of compromised household goods and furnishings. Sometimes homeowners discard items they could have saved, wasting time and expense to replace. Rely on our professionals for expert evaluation and guidance when you wonder and worry about contents cleaning and recovery after fire damage. 

Are Some Household and Personal Items Hazardous to Keep After a Fire? 

There are categories of household contents that can pose concerns if kept for use after a fire. Items for consumption that are likely to be in close contact with your family must be evaluated and discarded if no restoration can stop their damaged condition from putting your or your family’s health at risk.  

Can You Keep Food After a Fire? 

Even if the food looks normal and seems unburned by the flames, there can be many crucial reasons why our crew members recommend that disposal of it should occur.  

Non-Perishable Food 

  • Food in opened packages or on counters or tables needs discarding. Smoke, soot, and firefighting chemicals or water contaminate the food, rendering it unfit or even dangerous, for consumption.  
  • Food still sealed in bags, bottles, jars, and cans might seem safe, but if they had exposure to heat during the fire, the temperature change could activate bacteria inside containers. Food spoilage and poisoning can occur, demanding that you err on the side of caution and throw out any questionable food.   
  • Toxic fumes and soot can pass through the cardboard and plastic of boxed foods like crackers, cereals, and baking supplies. Particles have been found in jars, climbing the ridges on a screw top. Throw out any foodstuff in this category. 

Perishable Food 

A refrigerator or freezer can provide adequate protection for the foods kept within during a fire under certain circumstances. If all the following is true, the contents are likely to be safe:

  • The appliance sustained no fire or heat damage and remained sealed the entire time. 
  • The power was not cut or four or fewer hours passed without electrical operation. 

Regardless of a “passing grade” received by meeting the above criteria, if any of the following is accurate, do not eat frozen or chilled food: 

  • A smoke smell pervades the interior of the appliance
  • Soot is visible inside the appliance
  • The temperature of the interior of a refrigerator exceeds 40 degrees
  • Items in a freezer are softening and have no visible ice crystals
  • Foods have any unusual odor or texture 

What Are the Rules About Using Medications, Cosmetics, and Other Personal Care Items After a Fire? 

If heat or flames were near over the counter or prescription drugs or treatments, chemical changes may occur, especially if bottles, jars, tubes, or packaging shows melting or warping, then you need to discard. 

Anything used on the body, face, or hair also can undergo chemical changes through heat or burning, and soot can pass through packaging. Shampoos, lotions, creams, soaps, body washes, and other items are all of concern. Soot particles are toxic and abrasive, so even tissues, toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, and similar products, like diapers, cotton balls or swabs, hair or face brushes, sponges, and more can be harmful to use on skin or hair. 

Is It Safe to Reuse Linens and Clothing? 

Restoration for textiles and fabrics is possible with proper cleaning, disinfection, and deodorization. SERVPRO technicians at our production facility can examine and review the fire damage to these items to make sure you and your family can enjoy them again safely. 

What Are the Recommendations for Furniture, Household Goods, and Personal Possessions?

We often suggest a partial pack-out of a wide range of the removal of fire damaged items in your home. We use a detailed Contents Claim Inventory Service (CCIS) to track the articles, employing traditional lists, barcoding, and digital images. Our specially trained content technicians have a wide range of resources and interventions to assess and plan for the restoration of the items. The documentation provided by CCIS helps us keep your insurance carrier apprised and can support claims for our services or replacement when necessary. 

Years of highly skilled and well-equipped responses to residential fire damage poises SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West  to assist you and your family with taking care of all the aspects of fire loss devastation. Call us 24/7 at (352) 374-6589 for compassionate professional restoration and reconstruction services for your home and its contents. 

What do you do after the smoke clears?

4/13/2020 (Permalink)

house fire with firefighters and trucks in front. Our GFR crews doing what they do best.

Having a fire in your home can be devastating.  Besides the whirlwind of the fire department, fire inspectors, and any other emergency responders, not knowing the initial extent of damage to your home and personal belongings in the days to come can be overwhelming.  Heck, just figuring out where you are going to sleep that night can be overwhelming!

First of all, firefighters are going to be the first people you come into contact with.  They will battle the fire, which depending on the cause and severity of the fire, can also cause lots of secondary damage to your home and belongings.  It is important that you do not try to go back into your home, and that you stay well out of the way of emergency responders for your safety and theirs. Once the fire department has finished putting out the fire, the fire inspector will show up to assess damages, cause, and structural and electrical issues.  Once they have completed your inspection, you may or may not be able to gain access to your home depending on their findings.  At this time, the fire department will help you contact and advocate or the red cross to help you with lodging and essentials for a few days.

With everything going on, what should you be doing?  The sooner you can contact your insurance the better.  Getting a claim started and finding out your coverage is essential in getting the ball rolling.  What is also important to know is if that you are the customer and in charge of your claim.  Many insurance companies may have preferred vendors for many aspects of your claim.  YOU are in charge and you should be very wary of any restoration company that is not recognizable as well as not even from your general area.  One call to SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West can not only take care of every part of your claim from the water mitigation, fire restoration, and re-construction, we also will communicate directly with your insurance company to get your claim handled in the most timely manner possible.  As a part of your community, our goal is to not only assist our customers with their restoration needs, but also to treat our customers with the respect and empathy they deserve as one of our neighbors.

How To Keep Your Pets Safe In Case Of Fire

3/31/2020 (Permalink)

Dog sleeping next to a fireplace Does your family fire plan include rescuing your pets?

Approximately 500,000 pets are affected by house fires each year and, unfortunately, 40,000 die due to fires. Many house fires are caused by pets, especially when left home alone. The following lists are tips to help prevent any accidental blaze started by your pets and for keeping your pets safe in the event there is a fire in your home.

Prevent Pets From Starting A Fire

  • Beware of candles and other open flames. Dogs and cats are curious creatures and may take interest in a flickering flame. If you do have any open flames in your home at any time, be sure to never leave them unattended and to keep an eye on your pets. If you're using a fireplace, consider getting a fireplace screen to protect pets when sleeping in front of the fire. Also make sure the fire is completely out before heading out or going to bed. Small sparks and coals can get through a screen.
  • Secure wires and cords. Pets are often tempted to chew on loose wires and cords. Exposed wires can be a fire hazard, so consider securing any electrical objects so that their cords are out of reach. 
  • Don't use glass bowls for your pets' water. When filtered and heated through glass, the sun's rays can ignite the wood beneath the bowl and set a deck in flames. Use a stainless steel or ceramic bowl instead.

How To Keep Your Pets Safe During And After A Fire

  • Place a pet fire sticker on the door or window. In the event of a fire when you're away, having a pet sticker will help rescuers know how many pets to look for, saving valuable time and hopefully your pets. 
  • Use monitored smoke detectors. Pets left home alone can't escape on their own when there's a fire. Monitored smoke detectors contact emergency responders when you're not home and add an extra layer of protection beyond that of battery-operated smoke alarms. 
  • Keep pets near entrances when you're away from home. Always keep collars (with ID tags) on your pets and leave leashes by the entrance or somewhere easy to find in an emergency. This will help firefighters to find and rescue your pets when they arrive.
  • Know where your pets' hiding spots are. It's important that you can find your pets quickly if there's a fire. Know where your pets like to sleep and especially where they like to go when they are scared or anxious (under the bed or hidden in a quiet corner of the house somewhere)
  • Have an emergency plan in place and make sure everyone in the house knows what to do in the event of a fire. Know who will oversee getting your pets outside safely. Have someone in charge of leashes and pet carriers so that they can be safely secured once you're outside. If you can't find your pet when exiting, leave doors and windows open on your way out and call to them so that they come out on their own.
  • Practice fire drills with your pets. It is important to include your pets in the family fire drills. Practice finding them and getting out of the house. Also practice the "open access" scenario where you leave an exit open (preferably the one they're most comfortable with) and call to them to come out of the home. The more you practice, the more likely they are to come out in the event of an actual fire.

If you have any questions or require restoration services due to fire damage in your home, call SERVPRO of Gainesville West-Alachua County West at (352) 374-6589. We are available 24/7 for services.

As the sirens stop and the flashing lights leave after a fire, what do you do next?

3/10/2020 (Permalink)

Soot, smoke, from fire The soot left after a fire in the apartment below can be just as costly and damaging as the actual fire.

Fire is a devastating force that not only consumes most any material it comes into contact with, but also leaves behind its shadow on all of your unconsumed belongings.  As a homeowner or business owner the aftermath of a fire is overwhelming and can take weeks to months to clean up and rebuild.  Unless you have been through the devastation of a fire before, it can be difficult to traverse between your insurance company, restoration company, contractor and the numerous vendors who could become involved.  Don’t be overwhelmed!  Your first call should be to SERVPRO.  We pride ourselves on knowing the ins and outs not only of every aspect of fire restoration, but also will communicate directly with your insurance and adjusters to make sure that all the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed when it comes to your claim.  Did you know most claims will have at least 2 adjusters?  First there are outside adjusters also called field adjusters.  This individual will be the one coming out to your home or business to assess and start building an estimate.  Your outside adjuster may work directly for your insurance company or may be a private party hired to do the leg work on your insurance company’s behalf.  They communicate with your “inside adjuster” who is the person who reviews and approves your claim.  We work closely with all of your adjusters as well as handling your claim from cradle to grave all the way through re-construction.  As stressful as fire is, do your yourself a favor to alleviate some of it and call SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West.  We cannot turn back time, but we can make it “Like it never even happened.”

Fire Safety Tips for Children

2/6/2020 (Permalink)

fire Teach your children at a young age about fire prevention and safety.

Fires can happen so quickly and so can burns. Keep these tips in mind when you have children at home:

  • Set water heater temperature to no higher than 120°F or just below the medium setting.
  • Create a "no kid zone" in the kitchen around stoves, ovens and hot items.
  • Keep hot drinks away from the edge of tables and counters.
  • Place pots and pans on the back burner with handles turned away from the edge of the stove.
  • Never hold an infant or child while cooking, drinking a hot liquid or carrying hot items.
  • Keep matches and lighters high out of the reach and sight of children and in a locked cabinet.
  • Closely supervise older children when using microwaves or have them prepare non-hot food. Many burn injuries occur from children pulling hot foods and soups out of microwaves.
  • Teach children to stop, drop, and roll if their clothes catch fire.
  • Test the water before placing a child in the tub. Fill the tub or sink by running cool water first and then adding hot water. Seat the child facing away from the faucets.

If you or someone else sustains a burn injury be sure to:

  • Cool the burn with cool (not cold) water to stop the burning process.
  • Remove all clothing and jewelry from the injured area.
  • Cover the area with a clean dry sheet or bandage.
  • Seek medical attention.

It’s the little preventive things that can save a home, serious injury and lives when it comes to fire and hot items. Educate your children now so you can save yourself possible heartache in the future.

And if accidental fire damage does occur, make sure to call us at SERVPRO of Gainesville West-Alachua County West at 352-374-6589.

Your HVAC system is circulating odor, soot during and after the fire

1/21/2020 (Permalink)

duct debris Cleaning your HVAC unit and ducts are a priority following a fire.

One thing many people who suffer a fire loss don’t realize is that, if you HVAC system happened to be on during the blaze, smoke has now sent soot and odor particulates into other areas of the house.

Once the fire department has left your fire-damaged home, you need to start to address the effects throughout the household such as fire debris removal, soot cleanup and fire odor deodorization. Our SERVPRO professional technicians are trained in mitigation and restoration and will access every area that has been touched by the flames, smoke, and ash.

And even if only one room may have been affected by the fire’s damage and that area is soaked from the fire department extinguishing the mini inferno, the rest of the house will also need to be examined and cleaned. On that extensive checklist, your duct system and HVAC unit also need to be addressed.

Many people don’t realize that if your HVAC system is on during or after the fire, it is distributing the particulates throughout your house. Therefore, our technicians take great care in making sure the unit and ductwork are sterilized. We utilize brushes to break the sediment loose throughout the system and then use high-powered vacuums to suck out the debris and improve the effectiveness of the appliance. We also have the coils and blower cleaned to ensure there will no longer be lingering affects once our restoration and reconstruction is complete.   

Health is our primary concern as you re-enter your home. Let our skilled professionals, arriving immediately following your fire, restore everything "Like it never even happened."

Contact SERVPRO of Gainesville West-Alachua County West if you need our services or if you have any questions at 352-374-6589.

Halloween is more than just candy and tricks, It’s the start of fire season.

10/2/2019 (Permalink)

pumpkin on fire Halloween fires are no trick.

For many, the spooky holiday of Halloween is their favorite time of year.  It’s the beginning of fall weather and pumpkin spice scents waft through the air of many homes and businesses.  It is also the start of fire season, but did you know that the Halloween holiday itself has increased fire incidences?

A data snapshot done by the U.S. Fire Administration between the years of 2014 through 2016 plainly shows the increase of these fires.  The average number of fatalities and injuries were slightly higher than the same loss measures for all other fires as well as the average dollar loss per Halloween fires were also slightly higher than non-Halloween fires.

Loss measure           Halloween fires       Non-Halloween fires

Fatalities/1,000 fires                2.7                           2.3

Injuries/1,000 fires  11.4                         9.9

Dollar loss/fire         $10,580                   $9,870

Source: National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) 5.0.

Statistics also show that most Halloween fires occur late afternoon into early evening.  This can mean that while you are out with the rest of the Trick or Treaters and you do have a fire, you may not be the first to know.  This doesn’t mean that you still can’t be prepared.  Make sure that you have the number for SERVPRO of Alachua County West programmed in your phone along with your local fire department because we are “faster to any size disaster.”

Tips for Fire Damage Restoration

3/27/2019 (Permalink)

With SERVPRO, Fire Damage can be cleaned

Top 5 Tips for Fire Damage Restoration

Fire Damage Restoration work is a tough job. People call SERVPRO of Alachua County West asking for advice on how to clean up after a fire. Below are five tips that we recommend to people that call us.

     Until the home or business is restored, limit activity and movement in the affected areas. Soot particles can do more damage, by tracking or touching. Protect items that are not damaged by covering with towels, blankets, etc. Turn A/C off and replace filters.

  1. REMOVE SMOKE DAMAGE

With any fire, you may have damage to your walls, wallpaper or ceilings. If the smoke damage is not too serious, it can be cleaned with detergents. With a grease fire, that is a little more complicated. Always start less aggressive and increase that agitation slowly. After thorough cleaning, most likely you will need to paint.

  1. REMOVE MOLD & MILDEW

Another issue with fire damage is the water that is used to put the fire out. Mold and mildew can grow because of the water. Mold should be removed by a licensed Mold Remediator, to be sure your home or business is safe to reside in.

  1. REPAIR AND/OR DRY OUR FLOORING

If the flooring is not damaged, the water needs to be extracted and pad removed from carpeted areas. Water can travel underneath vinyl and wood flooring. This will also need to be checked for moisture and addressed.

  1. CLEAN CLOTHING

Make sure not to smear soot on clothing. It is recommended that your clothing be taken to a professional dry-cleaning company. Ask if they have experience in post fire laundry.

  1. CLEAN DISHES

Even with dishes inside a cabinet, they can be affected. An easy and quick way to clean dishes is to get a large Rubbermaid tote and fill with cleaning solution of bleach and water. Let the dishes soak. If you are unsure whether you will be satisfied with cleaning the dishes, just throw them out. Remember, you eat from these dishes. Rubber and wood absorbs smoke.

Fire Damage Clean-Up takes a lot of time and work. You may be better off hiring a Fire Damage Restoration Company, and that’s where SERVPRO of Alachua County West comes in.

Call us at 352-374-6589  

24 hours a day – 7 days a week – 365 days a year

Necessary Tips on Fire Damage

2/1/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage

When fire damage occurs, property owners are usually caught off guard by the challenges that arise while ensuring the future safety and restoration of their property. Fires are not only deadly, they can also create devastating property loss. Home and business owners must familiarize themselves with as much information as possible before a catastrophic fire occurs.

Also remembering, while flames can cause the most visible damage to a property during a fire, smoke and soot are silent and sometimes invisible hazards that could cost lives. Smoke inhalation is the leading cause of death amongst victims of a fire. Smoke damage must never be overlooked when evaluating the damage caused by fire.

What to do after a fire?

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
  • Keep hands clean so as not to further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.
  • Clean and protect chrome with light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
  • Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves.
  • Change HVAC filter.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.

SERVPRO Franchise professionals have worked for over 40 years to help make fire damage “Like it never even happened.”

SERVPRO, a national leader in Fire restoration.

1/18/2019 (Permalink)

Call the experts when disaster strikes!

A premier company can make the difference in the first 24 hours of a Fire disaster, this will make the difference in replacing or restoring our customers valuables!  At SERVPRO we pride ourselves in a quick response and restoring your business to preloss condition. We understand there will be much uncertainty, stress and concerns about the future of the business.

We want to limit the amount of time your business operations and unexpected period of lost productivity and revenue is at risk. We understand that in addition to the fire damage there will be significant water damage from the firefighting efforts and fire suppression systems. Let us ensure your property and belongings are restored.

Here are some tips we would like to share:

What To Do After A Fire

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
  • Keep hands clean so as not to further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.
  • Clean and protect chrome with light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
  • Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves.
  • Change HVAC filter.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.

What NOT To Do After A Fire

  • Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting your SERVPRO Franchise Professional.
  • Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
  • Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water.
  • Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
  • Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.

Fire Safety Tips & What to do

10/22/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Alachua County West will help you get your home back!

Fire Prevention

   October is Fire Prevention month and is a great time to check your house to make sure you are safe. Here are some tips to help get you started:

  1. Check your smoke alarms (replace batteries each month to ensure they are working)
  2. Make an escape plan & practice it
  3. Have a fire extinguisher & learn to use it
  4. Get rid of the clutter in your house
  5. Unplug hair dryers, straighteners, curling irons etc. when not in use
  6. Don't overload outlets
  7. Do not place cords or wires under rugs or curtains
  8. Do not leave a candle unattended 
  9. Remember to turn off the stove
  10. If using a space heater, turn it off when you leave room

What to do during a fire

   Imagine you wake up to an alarm going off.. you're still half asleep and wondering why it's still dark when you're alarm is sounding. Then, you realize it's the smoke alarms!! What do you do? Well, first, you should asses the situation. Is the fire in your room? Is there a lot of smoke? 

  If you are leaving the room, grab a damp cloth to hold over your nose & mouth. Remember to stay low, crawl on your hands and knees on the floor to avoid the smoke. If you need to open a door, use the back of your hand to check the door handle before you open it.

   Get outside as fast as possible!! You only have minutes before the fire & smoke takes over. Get to a safe distance away from the building and call 911.

   NEVER go back inside!! This is extremely dangerous and can lead to death.

The fire is out.. Now what?

   Call SERVPRO of Alachua County West! We will come clean up and make it "Like it never even happened"

   That's right, we will clean your house from top to bottom. Making sure you and your family come back to a clean and healthy home!

Don't let you Halloween decor start a Fire

10/22/2018 (Permalink)

Stay safe this Halloween!

How to set up your decor safely

   Children dressed in costumes excitedly running door to door to trick-or-treat, festive decorations like glowing jack-o-lanterns, paper ghosts and dried cornstalks adorning front porches – these are some of the classic hallmarks of Halloween that make the holiday special for kids and adults alike.

   Unfortunately, these Halloween symbols and activities can also present lurking fire risks that have the potential to become truly scary. But by planning ahead, you can help make this Halloween a fire-safe one. Taking simple fire safety precautions like keeping decorations far away from open flames and using battery-operated candles or glow-sticks in jack-o-lanterns can help ensure your holiday remains festive and fun!

Did you know?

  • From 2009-2013, decorations were the item first ignited in an estimated average of 860 reported home structure fires per year.
  • Nearly half of decoration fires in homes occurred because the decorations were too close to a heat source.
  • These fires caused an estimated average of one civilian death, 41 civilian injuries and $13 million in direct property damage per year.
  • Forty-one percent of these incidents were started by candles; one-fifth began in the living room, family room, or den

So remember SAFETY FIRST!

Enjoy your Halloween and know your home will be protected!

How to Restore Fire Damage

9/14/2018 (Permalink)

Fire causes devastation along it's path of destruction. If you’re searching for the best way to restore fire damage hopefully, everyone is okay, and your biggest problem is the cleanup.

SERVPRO is trained in the cleanup and care, so restoring your fire damage doesn't have to be a nightmare.

SERVPRO uses the latest equipment, products and processes to properly remove smoke, soot and fire damage.

Our team will not only cleanup the mess, but take care of that smokey odor as well. We use a machine called an air scrubber.

What is an air scrubber? Well, it's basically an air filtration device and it filters airborne particles out of the air, giving you fresher air to breathe.

No matter how the fire started, we will be there to make it "Like it never even happened."

A Fire Won't Hold your Business Back

9/14/2018 (Permalink)

Your business means everything to you. You can't believe you even have to close your doors. A fire is the last thing you want to deal with right? Well, just pick up the phone and call SERVPRO. We will have you up and running in no time!

Our staff is dedicated to providing the upmost quality of service. With our state of the art equipment, you can rest easy knowing the job will be done right the first time.

The fire itself isn't the only thing that will cause damage, but the soot released as well.We not only clean out all the effected contents, but also improve the air quality.

SERVPRO will respond quickly to your situation and can save your company from loosing more money, reduce more damage and shorten the length of your business being closed.

Sounds like a no brainer, right? So after your call to the fire department, call SERVPRO.

Your service professionals available for you        24 hours a day - 365 days a year

Do you know what to expect in the case of a fire? SERVPRO of Alachua County West does.

4/4/2018 (Permalink)

No one knows fire restoration like the Pros at SERVPRO of Alachua County West.

We all know that fires happen.  We see them every day in the news or on our social media feeds, you may even know someone who has been affected by a house fire, but do you know what to expect when it happens to you?  Most of us learn from a young age to have a fire escape plan for our home, but what happens after you have escaped and your home is a smoldering wet mess? 

  • Your local fire services will have a citizen’s advocate or contact the Red Cross to help you find shelter and take care of your basic needs.
  • You will need to contact your insurance company about your claim. If it is after hours your claim number will not be available to you immediately.  You may even have to wait a few days for an adjuster to be assigned to your claim.
  • Your insurance company may send out a contents inventory specialist to go through you contents and assess what is salvageable and what your destroyed belongings are worth. If they do not do this, it will be up to your adjuster and fire restoration company to do this.
  • You may have to obtain permits in some cases for demo and restoration to begin on your home, as well as having inspections to have certain services such as electricity and gas turned back on during the restoration process. You will also have to have a final inspection once your home is done.
  • Every fire is different must most substantial house fires take several months to be complete. This means you and your family along with any pets will be in a hotel or with friends and family for over 3 months.  In many cases it is faster to build new construction than to restore existing construction.
  • Your mortgage company may hold onto your funds for restoration and allow draws to the restoration company as work progresses with inspections for each phase. This is a lot of extra leg work, and can hold restoration up for days at a time.
  • Your insurance company replaces your furnishings, appliances, and contents with like value replacements. This may mean that you are limited as to what you can choose for your build-back as well as the time it takes to order them, it’s not quite like going into a Home Depot and choosing out any new tile.

These are just a few things you probably never expected during a fire disaster to your home.  One of the best decisions you can make as a homeowner is to be informed before disaster happens.  The next best thing that you can do is have the phone number of SERVPRO of Alachua County West on hand just in case disaster happens.  Our family of technicians, and staff will keep you informed and work for you to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Make sure there's not too much heat in the bedroom this Valentines Day!

2/14/2018 (Permalink)

Happy Valentine's Day, from SERVPRO of Alachua County West!

Valentine's Day is once again upon us, and it is important on this lover's holiday that we remember fire safety.  36% of all house fires start in the bedroom.  That's over a third of all house fires, and many of the fires that begin in the bedroom are not caused directly by romance, they are caused by candles.  

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are 15,260 candle fires per year, that is an average of 42 per day. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) reports that candles caused a staggering $438 million in direct property damage from 2006-2010 alone, and you thought those chocolates and a dozen roses were expensive.

Let's face it, there are a lot of flammable items in your bedroom, such as window treatments, bedding, clothing, and carpeting.  Many times people aren't exactly paying attention to their surroundings or forget to extinguish candles.  After all, there's other stuff to do in the bedroom... like sleeping...

Since we here, at SERVPRO of Alachua County West are in love with our Customers and Community, our Valentine's Day card to you are these helpful tips for candle safety for your bedroom.

  • Never burn candles in unoccupied rooms. It doesn’t take long for a fire to start and get out of control, after all, it is the bedroom.
  • Keep flammable solvents away from candles. That sounds really technical, so let’s put it this way: A woman in the U.K. was killed by a fire in the bedroom.  At first foul play was suspected, until firefighters found a canister of automatic spray air fresheners near candles on the bedside of her boudoir.  The air freshener spit out a spray automatically into the lit candles and her bedroom went up in flames.
  • Pets and candles don’t mix. They can knock over lit candles while playing or jumping up on furniture or if they are startled.  Just keep Fido and Miss Kitty out of the bedroom when using candles, after all, who needs an audience.
  • Use proper candleholders. The holder should be flame-resistant and large enough to contain drips.  Although the melted wax from candles may have other uses in the bedroom, it is fuel for the flame of the candle.  Make sure that you keep your melted wax in check.
  • Keep away from drafts. Pay attention to drafts caused by open windows, ceiling or table fans, and even from other candles. I know that amazing view of the ocean and sounds of the crashing waves is super romantic, but drafts can cause candles to flare up or burn unevenly.
  • Use a candle snuffer. The only time you should blow candles out is on your birthday – and not in your birthday suit! A candle snuffer can protect your linens and you from unwanted wax splatters.

So remember, as much as SERVPRO of Alachua County West would love to be your Valentine this year, practice candle safety with your sweetheart... and if disaster does happen... call (352) 374-6589 because we are "Faster to any size disaster."

Did you know that there are different kinds of soot associated with fires? SERVPRO can handle them all!

1/26/2018 (Permalink)

An example of Wet soot. This particular home had Wet, Dry, and Protein soot in different parts of the home.

Fire damage to your home or business can be devastating.  It is easy to see the aftermath of the flames as they have gobbled up your belongings and building materials in its wake.  One thing that can be more encompassing than the flames is the soot released by the burning materials.  Soot is acidic by nature and can cause lots of damage as it continues to degrade metals, finish coatings, and electronics until it is removed.  The problem of soot removal is that it is sometime hard to see and there are different types that require specific cleaning measures.  Soot also continues to spread until it uses up all of its energy, moving towards colder temperatures, often times affecting all areas of your home and business, even ones not affected directly by the fire.  Luckily SERVPRO of Alachua County West is familiar with all types of soot and have the expertise needed to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Fuel oil soot – Though this type of soot it not very common in Florida, due to less than 3% of its populous using fuel oil for heat, which systems are most common for “puffbacks”.  A puffback is usually caused by excess fuel in the burner chamber that upon ignition causes a small explosion, sending soot throughout your vent system.  This type of soot is usually grey to black and greasy in nature making it streaky and hard to clean when it’s fresh and over time, it can even bond to surfaces making it unable to be fully cleaned.

Protein residues – Protein residues are most often seen in kitchen fires.  Unlike what most people consider soot to look like, it is yellow or amber in color as it coats and can be hard to see as a slight discoloration on walls, cabinets, and appliances.  Because it is very hard to see this soot, the telltale sign may be a lingering odor issue if all surfaces are not thoroughly cleaned.

Wet soot – Wet smoke is typically left behind in a slow burning, low-heat fire.  It is usually black and leaves behind a sticky and this residue that can be easily smeared during clean up.  These are usually smoldering fires and can be caused commonly by plastic or rubber materials.

Dry soot – Opposite of wet smoke, dry smoke is most common during high heat, fast burning fires.  Fuels such as wood and paper cause dry soot.  Dry soot can be easier to clean, but due to the fact it has dry, fine particles it can fall into cracks and crevices, not only hard to see, but harder to clean.

For every type of soot there is SERVPRO of Alachua County West has a way to clean or restore you home or business.

January and February are peak months for winter fires.

1/15/2018 (Permalink)

Put a freeze on winter fires.

Many Floridians think that after the Christmas tree and holiday decorations come down, so do your chances of having a fire.  Heating is the 2nd leading cause of fires and injuries in the U.S. and with this years cold snaps, we have been using plenty of heat.  Unfortunately, as Floridians, we are also not as good at heating safety, much due to the fact we don't get as much practice at it.

Like an intruder, having a fire in your home or office is probably the single scariest thing that can happen to you.   Securing your belongings, getting out safely, checking for injuries, trying to assess the damages, and working with your insurance company when it’s over are never what you expect.  

Having a professional that can help you navigate the pitfalls of rebuilding the life you knew inside your home or office, can be invaluable.   SERVPRO provides a complete solution to whatever your disaster leaves in its wake, "Like it never even happened."  Our experienced professionals assess the damages and begin the process of putting your life back quickly and seamlessly.   If you have had a fire and you need someone to help walk you through the demo and rebuild

Remember Fire Safety during this Spooktacular Holiday.

10/31/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Alachua County West Technicians cleaning up a cemetery fire caused by lightning and dry, windy conditions coupled with flammable decor.

Halloween is once again upon us as the air gets cooler and drier.  It is also one of the more fun holidays where children and adults can dress up and get lots of candy, but it can also be one of the more dangerous holidays for property and homeowners.  The main culprit is candles, which is on the list of the top 10 causes of home fires in the United States.  When you mix candles with highly flammable materials used for costumes, and decorations there is a lot of fuel for a disaster.  Mix in dryer air and windier weather conditions and you now have a perfect recipe for disaster.  The first step in preparing for any disaster is to have a plan developed in case one happens, such as an Emergency Response Plan offered by SERVPRO, and your second step arming yourself with the knowledge of fire prevention to keep your family safe during this holiday.

What You Need to Know Coming into House Fire Season

10/25/2017 (Permalink)

Before and After photos of a kitchen fire cause by grease.

The smell of Fall is in the air and the weather is cooling, but did you know that Fall is the beginning of House Fire Season?  Most people don't know what to do in the case of a house fire, because they have never been through the disaster.  That is where SERVPRO of Alachua County West comes in.  Our experts can walk you through the process of fire restoration as well as the build back process to make it "Like it never even happened."  From our office staff, to our managers and technicians we are here to help every step of the way, after all, it's what we do among many other things.  Here, at SERVPRO of Alachua County West, we feel like the community is our family, and as family we feel it's better to prepare for the case of an Emergency when it happens.  Do you know what are the 8 main causes of a house fire are?

1.)  Candles

2.)  Ashes and butts of Cigarettes

3.)  Electrical wiring and lighting

4.)  The lint and objects left in dryers

5.)  Lightning

6.)  Children playing with matches and fire

7.)  Christmas trees

8.)  Cooking

It's always best to educate yourself in the prevention of disaster, but when disaster strikes, SERVPRO of Alachua County West is here to take care of all your needs.  This is from helping you develop and Emergency Ready Plan, to answering your questions, and in the case of disaster being here to make it "Like it never even happened."

Every 90 seconds...

2/29/2016 (Permalink)

Fire in a Florida home that "SERVPRO" made "Like it never even happened"

A fire occurs in the U.S.

When a fire occurs, your main concern is safety.  Once everyone has evacuated and the fire has been put out, you are left with ash and soot.  Where do you go from here?  Call in the professionals.  Not just the brand you can trust, but the family you can trust, "SERVPRO" of Alachua County West.

The first thing "SERVPRO" does when arriving on site is assess the situation.  We will go through your home taking a look at all affected areas.  Then we will pretest the restorability of items within your home.  By pretesting, we determine what can be restored vs replaced.  We believe that every home contains valuable items that a customer does not view as "replaceable."  That is why we try our very best to restore versus replace.

One component that makes fire damage that much more difficult to clean up is smoke.  There are multiple types of smoke, therefore there are multiple cleaning methods used for fire damage.  Examples of smoke include but are not limited to:  wet smoke (plastics & rubbers-low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary), dry smoke(paper &wood- fast burning, high temperatures), protein fire residue (evaporation of material) and fuel oil soot (furnace puff backs).  Each type of smoke requires a different cleaning method and is therefor a cleaning job best left to the professionals.  

Just in case a fire occurs in your home or business, here's some tips to keep in mind...

DO:

  • Limit the movement indoors to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets
  • Keep hands clean.  Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls &woodwork
  • Place dry, colorfast towels on rugs, upholstery &carpet traffic areas
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer &refrigerator completely and prop doors open
  • Clean soot from chrome on kitchen &bathroom faucets, trim &appliances and protect with a light coating of petroleum jelly or oil
  • Pour RV antifreeze into sinks, toilet bowls &tubs if heat is off during 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

DON'T:

  • Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without 1st contacting SERVPRO
  • Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without 1st consulting with SERVPRO
  • Attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to the fire, heat or water
  • Consume any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water
  • Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet
  • Send garments to dry cleaner.  Improper cleaning may set smoke odor

If you have a fire in your home or business, call "SERVPRO" at (352)374-6589.  We will be more than happy to visit the site, assess the situation and provide you with an accurate estimate for fire damage restoration.  Then, we can make it "Like it never even happened" for you.