Recent Fire Damage Posts

Why is it important to leave fire restoration to SERVPRO?

4/16/2021 (Permalink)

Before and After of fire and logs Before and After

We understand how traumatic it is to lose your home or business to a fire. We have helped numerous families and small businesses restore the homes and businesses that they have invested their whole lives building. In order to make this process easier for you and more efficient, we have a few tips for you to follow. First off, the faster you contact our team, the better the results will be. As we all know, fire leaves behind ash and soot that can cause permanent damage if left unaddressed. Over just a couple of hours, your building structure can be affected by corrosion, discoloration, and even diffusion of odor. By contacting us sooner, you can prevent the damage from becoming much more extensive. Our technicians are specifically trained in fire restoration, so leave your worries to us!

How to prevent stove fires?

4/16/2021 (Permalink)

Stove A lit stove.

Did you know that the leading cause of fire are cooking-related fires? The kinds of fires also cause the most injuries. They can be such a terrible and unexpected surprise when your intentions are only to cook something delicious for your family. There are a few things you can do to prevent them! Firstly, it may seem logical to put these fires out with water, but this will only spread the fire further. The water reaches the bottom of the pan and becomes steam, which then propels the flames into the air and can cause you to be burned. In order to prevent these fires from starting, you should be sure your cooking equipment is not defective. You should also ensure that there is nothing combustible near your cooking area. Also monitor the flame, especially if you are cooking with oil. These easy tips can be very helpful and keep your family or employees safe!

Non Restorable

3/15/2021 (Permalink)

Photos Photos

After experiencing a fire damage the repair may seem unreachable. SERVPRO understands that a lot makes a home, the memories you hold there are irreplaceable. Not only that but the cost to restore belongings can be a heavy burden. That’s why here at SERVPRO our team wants to make sure that your belongings can be restored, and are safe to take home. SERVPRO undergoes these methods for restoring items: Dry Cleaning, Wet Cleaning, Spray and Wipe, Foam Cleaning, Abrasive Cleaning, Immersion Cleaning.  When it comes to your photos or documents we can’t make them the exact condition as before the fire, but we can restore them so that no further damage can occur. Depending on the level of fire, soot, and smoke SERVPRO has multiple options to restore the documents:Air Drying, Dehumidification, Freezer Drying, Vacuum Freeze, Drying Vacuum, Thermal Drying.

Emergency resources Caution

3/15/2021 (Permalink)

Candle Candle

Which resources do you rely on during a power outage? Do you use candles to light your home? While it may be your only alternative, it is important to aware that candles can also cause your home to catch on fire and endanger your loved ones. Here are some tips that can help when the time comes:

  1. If you are doing to use a candle, do not leave it unattended.
  2. Do not leave burning candles within reach of children. 
  3. Lighting a candle is not an option if you smell gas in your home. 
  4. Place candles on fire-resistant surfaces, such as concrete or fire-rated glass. 
  5. Remember that candles are a fire hazard and you should use battery operated flashlights and other similar light sources. 

Christmas Fire Safety

12/11/2020 (Permalink)

Christmas Fire Safety - image of Christmas lights Christmas Fire Safety

The Christmas holiday season is a time of year that we should be spending with family and spreading joy to all of our loved ones.  During this time of year it may be easy to overlook some of the fire hazards that come along with the decorations of the season.

The  NFPA. estimates an average of 230 American homes are damaged each year by fires caused by ignited Christmas trees.  Another 150 home structure fires are caused by line voltage decorative lights.  Together these fires cause an average of 15 deaths, 38 injuries and $26.7 million dollars in property damage each year!  These sobering figures cannot be ignored and safety precautions need to be taken to help ensure you and your loved ones have a safe and enjoyable holiday season without the fire alarm going off.

Here are some great tips we would like to pass your way to help you keep your holiday fire free.

  1. When choosing a tree be sure to pick one that is a fresh as possible. Look to see your tree has green, semi-pliable needles.  Dry needles have a much higher possibility of catching fire.  Cutting down the tree yourself is the best way to ensure its freshness.
  2. If you have an artificial tree be sure it is labeled Fire Retardant by the manufacturer.  While having a real tree might bring a sense of holiday authenticity, the simple fact of the matter is that artificial trees are much less likely to catch fire.
  3. Before putting your real tree in a stand be sure to cut off at least 2 to 3 inches of the base to expose some fresh wood.  This will allow the tree to stay moist and prevent drying gout.  Be sure to check the water level of the tree every day.  A real Christmas tree will be very thirsty in the dry winter months.
  4. Choose where you place your tree wisely.  Never place your tree near any heat source like a fireplace, radiator, heating vents, hot water heater, hot lights or candles.  And of course never place your tree in front of any exit.  In case of a fire you want to make sure you have a clear path to get out of the house.  Another suggestion is to place your tree somewhere that the tree cannot be knocked over by the family pet or playing children into a heat source.
  5. When choosing lights for your tree and extension cords be sure that they are rated properly by an independent testing laboratory and are UL-listed.  Some lights are intended for indoor or outdoor use only.  Today’s LED lights are a great choice as they do not create any heat. We hope it should go without saying, but never use real candles to light up your tree.  This is an old tradition before electric lights were invented and we highly suggest you do not attempt this.
  6. Once you have your new lights selected or have pulled out the lights from storage, be sure to check them well for any loose bulbs or damaged wires. If you can replace the bulbs be sure to unplug them before doing so to avoid any shock.  If the wires or plugs are defective, replace the entire string.  Don’t risk a fire due to an electrical issue as this is the number one reason trees ignite.
  7. When you are ready to plug in your lights, be sure not to overload any one circuit.  Plug a maximum of 3 light strings together.  If you are using LED lights, consult the manufacturer’s suggestion on how many strings you can safely plug into each other to create one chain.  It is highly suggested that you plug all lights into a surge outlet protector instead of directly into a wall outlet.  Lastly, always remember to shut off the lights before going to bed or leaving the house.
  8. If you will be decorating the outside of your home than be sure to choose lights that are intended for outdoor use.  Using indoor lights that are not designed to be used for outside weather can result in them shorting out or even worse.  Don’t run the risk of electrical shock or a fire hazard by using indoor lights outside.  If you are unsure if your lights are safe for outdoor use than look for the color-coded UL logo on the packaging.  A green logo is only safe for indoor use while the red logo can be used inside or outdoors safely.  The same safety precautions need to be taken with any extension cords that are being used.
  9. Once the festivities are over and the holiday has come and gone you are better off taking the tree down as soon as possible.  Real trees do not last that long and the needles will quickly begin to dry out making them a fire hazard.  The majority of fires involving Christmas trees happen after the holiday and not before.  It is also suggested that you remove outdoor lighting immediately after the holiday to reduce any risk of fire and to help preserve the life of your outdoor lights.

Christmas Tree Safety Checklist

12/11/2020 (Permalink)

Christmas Tree Safety Checklist Christmas Tree Safety Checklist

My Christmas Fire Safety Checklist

1. Fire Safety for Artificial Trees?

This appears to be the safest choice, as long as it’s UL-listed. Artificial trees can still catch fire, especially if candles are involved, so look for one that is “flame resistant” or “flame retardant.”

2. Fire Safety for a Fresh Tree?

The fresher, the safer. It’s got more natural moisture that way. So check out the needles… if they snap or fall off easily, the tree is too dry. When you get it home, cut 2 inches off the bottom of the trunk and place it in the tree stand with plenty of water. It’ll need about a gallon of water every couple of days, but it will probably need extra water in the first day or two. Studies show that a dry tree is likely to catch fire unintentionally, but one that is kept watered is very unlikely to do so.

3. Where You Place Your Tree Matters

For optimal fire safety, place your tree strategically away from heat sources like candles, space heaters, vents, radiators and fire places — and don’t block stairways or exits! (PSST – And don’t forget about candle safety! Candles are apparently a major culprit around the holidays.)

4. What about Christmas Tree Lights?

Again, UL-listed is the way to go. That’s the independent testing organization that makes sure lights are safe. Look for the label!

Be sure to pay attention to whether your lights are for indoor or outdoor use. (It matters.)

LED lights rock. They don’t get as hot, and the plastic casing is less likely to break than a glass bulb. They last longer and are more energy efficient, too!

5. Check Your Decor for Damage.

Electrical problems cause about 1/3 of Christmas tree fires. So check last year’s decor for damage — a squirrel in the attic eating through the wire, for example. Outdoor lights might wear out more quickly from season to season, so check for damage there, too…. loose bulb sockets, damaged wires or plugs. Those are a no-no.

6. Don’t Overload Your Sockets!

Many manufacturers will tell you how many lights you can string together, but a good rule of thumb is a maximum of 3 strands. So don’t overload a socket or extension cord, even if you use a surge protector.

7. Turn Your Lights Off When Unattended.

That means before leaving the house or going to bed. You don’t want lights left on to cause a problem when you’re not around to act fast. And if you use a remote switch or foot switch, they can be less of a hassle to turn off. Bonus!

8. Dispose of Your Live Tree Soon!

Now hear this: After Christmas is over, have a good cry and then recycle your live tree soon. This was the most surprising thing I found: A 2013 report from the National Fire Protection Association shows that HALF of Christmas tree fires occur in the 20 days AFTER Christmas. Even a well-watered tree should be taken down after 4 weeks, according to the NFPA. So if you put your life tree up right after Thanksgiving, take it down right after Christmas… not on New Year’s Day.

It also goes worth saying that about 20% of these after-Christmas fires were set intentionally, as a method of disposing the tree… but then the fire spread to the house. So dispose of the tree properly — recycle it! — when its needles are falling off. Don’t go into post-Christmas denial!

While we’re on the topic of un-decorating (Is that a word? It is now.), removing your outdoor lights sooner will help them last longer and stay usable next season! Hit the after-Christmas sales to replace your worn-out decorations for a fraction of the price. And who doesn’t love a good deal?

Safety First Before the Feast

11/10/2020 (Permalink)

Happy Thanksgiving Safety First

Each November, families gather to celebrate Thanksgiving by preparing a delicious feast, but if you don't practice safe cooking habits, your happy holiday could quickly become hazardous in a blink of an eye. According to NEPA cooking in the main cause of home fires and injuries with the Thanksgiving holidays being the peak day for cooking related fire. Review the following safety tips to help ensure you can enjoy a safe holiday. 

  • Never leave cooking food unattended 
  • Check food regularly while cooking and remain in the home while kitchen equipment is in use.
  • Keep small children away from cooking area. Enforce a kid free zone.
  • Keep anything flammable away from the stove, oven, or other appliances in the kitchen that generates heat.
  • Do not wear loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.
  • Purchase a fire extinguisher to keep  in the kitchen year round.
  • Install a smoke alarm near the kitchen, on each level of the home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside of bedrooms. 

SERVPRO Of Harlingen & San Benito wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving and holiday season. 

Choosing the Appropriate Fire Extinguisher

11/10/2020 (Permalink)

Fire Extinguisher Choosing the Appropriate Fire Extinguisher
  • Class A: This is the most common extinguisher and can be used to put out fires in ordinary combustibles such as cloth, wood, rubber, paper, and many plastics.
  • Class B: Use on fires involving flammable liquids, such as grease, gasoline, and oil. 
  • Class C: Designed for fires involving appliances, tools, or other equipment electronically energized or plugged in.
  • Class D: For use on flammable metals; often specific for type of metal in question. These are typically found in factories.
  • Class K: Intended for use on fires that involve vegetable oils, animal oils, or fats in cooking appliances. Generally found in commercial kitchens.  

For more info feel free to call us SERVPRO Of Harlingen & San Benito at 956-277-0645

Fire Precautions During this Holiday Season

11/10/2020 (Permalink)

Fire Precautions During this Holiday Season - image of smoke-damaged kitchen Fire Precautions During this Holiday Season

Did you know cooking equipment is the leading cause of residential fires? As the holiday season begins and you find yourself in the kitchen more often while hosting friends and family, fire precautions should be top of mind.

A property owner experiences a flood of emotions when a fire ravages their business or home. Fear, uncertainty, stress, and doubt about the future of the property and their livelihood can be overwhelming to the property owner long after the flames have been extinguished and the smoke has clear. After the first wave of heroes have rescued the property, let SERVPRO Of Harlingen & San Benito help you restore it to its preloss condition. Combining rapid response, the utmost professionalism, and open communication throughout the entire job process, we strive to restore not only the home or business structure, but the customer's peace of mind as well.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) offers the following eye-opening statistics on structure fires: more then one quarter of reported fires occurred in homes within the last year. Even worse 79% of fire related deaths were caused by home fires. On average, U.S. fire department respond to an estimated average of 354,400 home structure fires per year resulting in $6.9 billion in direct property damage. Most home fires and fire casualties result from five causes: cooking, heating, electrical distribution and lighting equipment, intentional fire setting, and smoking materials.

If the unthinkable happens and a fire strikes your home or business, give the expert at SERVPRO Of Harlingen & San Benito a call at 956-277-0645. We will help make it "Like it never even happened."

Summer fire tips

6/5/2020 (Permalink)

We are here to help! Fire Tips

Summer is a time to enjoy the great outdoors, but it is also important to keep safety in mind.  Consider the following  tips, provided by the National Fire Protection Association, to keep your family safe all summer long.

When using a charcoal grill, only use starter fluids designed for barbeque grills; DO NOT use gas, diesel or any other types of flammable fluids.

When using a gas grill, ensure the hose connection is tight and check the hoses for leaks.  Applying soapy water to the hoses will easily and safely reveal any leaks.

When camping, always use a flame retardant tent and set up camp far away from the camp fire.

Always build a campfire downwind from the tent area.  Clear vegetation and dig a pit before building your fire. Always  extinguish the fire before going to sleep or leaving the campsite.

Store liquid fire starter (not gasoline) away from your tent and campfire.  Only use dry kindling to freshen a campfire.

Here at SERVPRO Of Harlingen & San Benito  we hope you are a happy and safe summer!

Five Safety Tips To Prevent A Dryer Fire

6/5/2020 (Permalink)

We are here to help! Prevent Clothing Dryer Fire.

A clothes dryer is common and convenient household appliance, but it can be dangerous if not properly maintained. Not only can the dryer break and need replacing, but it can also cause a lint fire. Follow these safety tips to help prevent any emergency situations.

1.  Have your dryer professionally installed

Having your dryer installed by a qualified professional can put you on the right path to keeping your home safe. They can make sure that everything is installed correctly and working as it should, preventing any potential safety hazards.

2. Clean the lint filter and dryer vent regularly

The most common cause of dryer fire is not keeping the unit clean. You should remove lint from the filter before and after each use . Lint can also build up in the back of the dryer, so be sure to clean that area as well. The dryer vents should be cleaned at least every three months to prevent blockages.

3. Have the Dryer serviced regularly

It is a good idea to have your dryer serviced on a regular basis. Hiring a professional to clean and inspect the appliance at least once a year can help minimize any problems and keep the unit safe to use.

4. Keep Flammable items away from the dryer

A lint fire is not the only kind of fire that can occur when using your dryer.  If a flammable liquid has been spilled on an item, you should never put it in the dryer. Be sure to keep any flammable materials away from the surrounding areas as well.

5. Make sure the dryer is off before you leave the house

If you are leaving your home or going to sleep , make sure that you turn the dryer off beforehand. If a fire were to start while the unit was unattended, it could spread and cause a lot of damage before you were aware of it.

Here at SERVPRO Harlingen & San Benito we are fire remediation specialists to help you in case of a lint fire, but keeping your dryer cleaned and properly maintained can help keep you and your unit safe.

Call us at (956)277-0645 or visit our website at https://www.SERVPROharlingensanbenito.com/

Fire Extinguishers

4/22/2020 (Permalink)

Fire Education Learn about fire extinguishers!

SERVPRO of Harlingen and San Benito wants to keep you safe and we know that little problems can become major issues in the future. When it comes to accidents in our home, or work space many don’t realize they are unprepared till it’s too late. So the more information to prepare you for an on site crisis the better! When it comes to fires many don’t really know how to use a fire extinguisher, or that there's actually four classes of extinguishers. A class is used to aid in putting out ordinary combustibles. Class B is used for flammable liquids (oil, grease, etc.). Class C is for electrically energized fires. Finally class D is suited for flammable metals. To remember how to work an extinguisher think of the P.A.S.S. method. Pull the pin, Aim low, Squeeze the hand;e, then Sweep the nozzle from side to side.

Fire Alarms

4/22/2020 (Permalink)

Fire Alarm Education Learn about fire alarms!

Fire Alarm systems are a key essential to our everyday safety. Just as you would charge your phone keeping up with the maintenance of your fire alarm is substantial for everyday safety.  Fire Alarms work by detecting levels of heat and/or smoke, smoke particles pass through the optical detector and trigger the alarm. Fire alarms need to be checked monthly, and depending on the model should be replaced every ten years. The time you change your battery depends on the model and battery compatible. Smoke alarms generally use nine volt batteries and need to be replaced every six months. This information is important to keep in mind and discuss when purchasing fire alarms for your environment. Stay safe and remember to check your fire alarms. 

Types of Smoke

3/17/2020 (Permalink)

We are here to help! SERVPRO of Harlingen/San Benito is here to help!

The following are types of smokes:

1. Wet Smoke. (Plastic and Rubber) Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky and smeary. Smoke webs are difficult to clean up

2. Dry smoke. (Paper and Wood) Fast burning, high temperatures: heat rises, therefore smoke rises.

3. Protein Fire Residue. (Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire) Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.

4.  Fuel Oil Soot. (Furnace Puff Backs) While "puffbacks" can create havoc for homeowners, SERVPRO of Harlingen/San Benito technicians can restore the contents and structure quickly.

5. Other Types. (Tear Gas, Fingerprint powder, and fire extinguisher residue) Special loss situations require special care.

SERVPRO Of Harlingen & San Bentio can make it " Like it never even happened."

Call us At (956)277-0645

DOs and DON'Ts of Fire Damage

3/10/2020 (Permalink)

Fire Damage SERVPRO of Harlingen/ San Benito can help!

A fire can leave behind soot, smoke damage and a host of other problems. Ceilings, walls, wood work, carpeting and floors will often need a thorough professional cleaning. If your home or business suffers a fire, it is important to take the appropriate steps to prevent further damage until SERVPRO of Harlingen & San Benito arrive. The following tips may help reduce damage and increase chances of successful restoration.

Do:

1. limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet

2. keep hands clean, soot on hands can further soil upholstery walls and woodwork.

3. place dry, colorfast towels or old linens rugs upholstery and carpet traffic areas.

4. Change HVAC filters and leave system off unitl a trained professional can check the system

Don't :

1. Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting SERVPRO of Harlingen/San Benito. 

2. Don't attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture.

3. Do not consume any food or beverages that may have been stored closed to the fire, heat, or water, as they may be contaminate. 

4. Don't send garments to the dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set in smoke odor.

Smoke and Soot Cleanup

5/29/2018 (Permalink)

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 Harlingen and San Benito 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 to 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 – 956-277-0645

Facing Fire Damage?

5/21/2018 (Permalink)

Here at SERVPRO Harlingen/San Benito, our technicians have a vast knowledge of what to do if your home or business is devastated by a fire. In fact, we are specialized in both fire and water damage restoration. Our excellent experience in cleaning and restoring facilities that have been faced with fire damage is unparalleled to any other company. We do everything from reviewing fire damage tips to caring for your belongings, carpet and upholstery cleaning, odor removal, and assessing commercial fire damage. We are available 24/7, a trusted leader in the restoration industry, and a preferred vendor for many national and local insurance companies. If you are facing fire damage, or just want to learn more about us here at SERVPRO Harlingen/San Benito, make sure to call us at (956) 277-0644, and like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SERVPROharlingensanbenito/.  

What is that?

3/19/2018 (Permalink)

Corner of a structure with smoke web.

The first time I walked in to a structure that had fire damage I was in complete shock. I never seen a house that had a fire incident that occurred in the structure. Seeing what a fire can do is an unforgettable experience I walked in to the structure and I saw what looked like black spiderwebs in all corners of the structure, to myself I thought man these people had a lot of spiders in their structure., but to my surprise those spider web looking things weren’t there because the structure was infested with spiders but it was due to the extreme heat that occurred in the structure. What happens in a structure is that the concentration of the soot is in a pattern and are circle like, well this happens when the intense heat is happening it magnetizes the screws and because of this the soot is attracted to it and it creates a darker circle around where the nail would be. As we go inside the structure we start to see the spider webs as I stated before these are not indeed spider webs these are called smoke webs and they occur when plastic has burnt because the smoke of plastic has a stronger charge than that of wood or cotton so with the already magnetized screw/nail they start to spin and collect in corners of ceiling and curtains. So, if there is a fire near you don’t forget to call SERVPRO of Harlingen and San Benito. (956)277-0645 we are open 24/7 even on holidays, we are there for you when you need it!