Recent Fire Damage Posts

What Does Soot and Smoke Damage Look Like After a Fire?

12/19/2023 (Permalink)

smoke and soot damage smoke and soot damage

A fire is one of the most damaging events that could happen in your home or business. Though the flames can cause devastation, soot and smoke are equally problematic. Fortunately, fire damage restoration in Hingham can alleviate the lingering effects of a fire. 

But what does smoke damage look like? If you've never seen the aftermath of a fire, you might be unsure about the particular characteristics of smoke-damaged surfaces. 

At SERVPRO of Weymouth, Hingham and Quincy, our restoration experts have years of experience identifying signs of smoke damage that might be less obvious to a property owner. If you want to learn to recognize common visual indicators of smoke impact, continue reading. We also address how restoration professionals mitigate smoke and soot damage below. 

Why Is Soot and Smoke Damage Dangerous?

Smoke damage refers to any damage that follows a fire that the flames don't cause directly. Though smoke doesn't affect materials the same way a fire does, it can still leave behind greasy, smudgy soot. Because smoke and soot particles travel through the air, they can get onto surfaces in spaces without fire damage. 

Though they don't seem dangerous, smoke and soot can be more problematic than the fire's flames. Soot particulate isn't visible to the naked eye, so you could breathe in particles unknowingly. It primarily consists of carbon but can contain chemicals, dust, and metals. 

Smoke and soot can damage almost any material inside your home or business, such as glass, metal, fabrics, flooring, and marble. Their presence creates foul odors, poor indoor air quality, and health complications. 

You can get smoke and soot particles inside your body by breathing inside a fire-damage building without a respirator. Particles can also enter your mouth and eyes. Unfortunately, these toxic particles can cause several problems and symptoms like:

  • Chest pain
  • Eye irritation
  • Cough
  • Headaches
  • Elevated heartbeat
  • Wheezing
  • Asthma attack
  • Severe skin irritation

Recognizing Smoke Damage Appearances on Surfaces and Materials

What does smoke damage look like? When describing the look of smoke damage, it helps to know about the different types of damage and their characteristics. 

Dry Smoke

Dry smoke derives from fast-burning materials like wood and paper. Since the heat is higher when these materials burn, smoke rises quickly.

The residue from dry smoke tends to be dry and powdery. It's easier to wipe clean than other fire damage types. However, its powdery nature also means dry smoke residue can easily slip into holes and crevices, which makes getting rid of the smoky smell more challenging. 

Wet Smoke

When rubber or plastic burns at a smoldering heat, it produces wet smoke. Wet smoke is thick and sticky, creating a pungent scent wherever it is. 

If you touch wet smoke residue, it will smear on the surface. Its stickiness makes cleaning wet smoke a difficult job requiring lots of time and effort. 

Fuel Smoke

Fuel smoke develops when a fire burns oil, petroleum, or similar substances. You're not likely to experience this type of smoke damage inside a home or business. Garages, warehouses, and other spaces that often store petroleum are more likely to experience fuel smoke damage. 

The smell of fuel smoke is one of the worst, and the residue is notoriously hard to clean. The smoke remnants are thick, sticky, and almost impossible to remove without professional help.

Protein Smoke

When organic materials burn, they produce protein smoke. This smoke damage is common for kitchen fires. It's mostly invisible, but protein smoke can cause paint discoloration and a lingering smoky scent. 

What Should You Do About Smoke and Soot Damage?

Because soot and smoke particles are black, microscopic, and toxic, it's best not to attempt cleaning damaged surfaces yourself. It's better to contact a qualified fire damage restoration company. 

Restoration experts know how to identify all the visual clues for smoke damage assessments that determine the extent and severity of the problem. After assessing the property, the restoration crew will create and execute a deep cleaning plan to scrub the entire property of smoke. They have the skills and tools to clean and restore smoke-damaged items safely. 

Contact the Experts

You don't have to know the answer to, "What does smoke damage look like?" to understand that SERVPRO of Weymouth, Hingham and Quincy is here to meet your damage restoration needs. Our full-service company offers water, fire, and storm damage restoration, including services for smoke and soot mitigation. Our highly trained technicians use advanced equipment and the latest industry techniques to quickly restore buildings after a disaster. 

Call SERVPRO of Weymouth, Hingham and Quincy in Massachusetts today at (781) 337-0344 for assistance.

A Comprehensive Guide To Understanding Fire Damage

12/15/2023 (Permalink)

fire damage guide fire damage

Nothing is as devastating to a home as a fire. Even a small kitchen or electrical fire can result in widespread devastation, but a fire damage company in Weymouth will restore your home to its pre-blaze condition. 

If the aftermath of a fire has you scrambling to figure out where to start the recovery process, our guide will help you take the first steps and know what to expect going forward.

Why Do You Need Professional Fire Damage Restoration? 

Once the fire department puts out the flames, a fire restoration company comes in to appraise the damage and develop a recovery plan. Specialists use a meticulous, step-by-step checklist to gauge every potential form of fire damage, including the effects of:

  • Water
  • Chemicals
  • Smoke
  • Soot
  • Odors

In addition to causing structural damage, a fire contaminates everything in its path with toxins. A fire damage restoration company can identify and mitigate all the issues that can pop up, ensuring your family can live in the home without risk of injury or illness. 

A Checklist for Dealing With Fire Damage

After a disaster, our fire damage company completes a comprehensive checklist of tasks to repair and clean your property. The process may take several weeks or months, depending on how much work needs to be done.

Step 1: Assessment and Securing the Property

The process begins with a comprehensive assessment of the structural, smoke, and soot damage. Our restoration specialists will determine what they can salvage from the scene, if anything, and the best approach to handling smoke damage cleanup, soot elimination, and reconstruction. A fire can significantly impact the structural stability of any building, and we look for hidden damage that might not be immediately apparent but still requires attention.

Once we document the situation for insurance purposes, we’ll secure the property to create a safe environment for cleanup and prevent further damage. This could include putting tarps over exposed areas, removing debris, boarding up windows, or installing structural supports. 

Step 2: Preventing Further Damage 

Firefighters use water and chemicals to extinguish the flames, which can cause secondary damage like mold, rot, rust, and health risks.  

After safely removing any damaged materials that are beyond repair, water damage remediation is usually the first step. This process includes removing excess water and using industrial fans and dehumidifiers to dry out walls, floors, and other affected areas. If the fire department used suppressants to put out the flames, chemical damage restoration to seal the residue and prevent further contamination may also be necessary. 

Step 3: Soot and Smoke Damage Cleanup 

Porous surfaces, like upholstery and carpets, are especially vulnerable to soot damage. Soot is made up of carbon particles from partially burned materials, and it's a known carcinogen. To eliminate these pollutants and the health risks they cause, we deep clean affected surfaces with specialized equipment, powerful cleaning agents, and air filters. 

Addressing smoke damage is complex, as the odor can cling to surfaces and infiltrate tiny spaces that are easy to overlook. We'll clean and deodorize salvageable personal items, including clothing and furniture, to return them to pre-fire condition. However, electronics and appliances may require replacement because smoke can destroy sensitive mechanical components.

We use several methods to eliminate unpleasant and lingering smoke odors, including thermal fogging or ozone treatments to break down the particles and remove the smell.

Step 4: Rebuilding 

Rebuilding begins once the cleanup is complete. For some homeowners, this means reconstructing entire rooms or sections of the home and roof, while for others, it entails relatively minor projects like replacing drywall, countertops, and flooring, repainting walls, and making electrical or plumbing repairs or replacements. Structural repairs are the final step in returning your property to the same or similar condition it was in before the incident.  

Turn To SERVPRO of Weymouth, Hingham, and Quincy for Help After a Disaster 

Looking at the charred remains of your home, smelling the smoke, and dealing with the aftermath of losing treasured belongings to the flames is an emotional and often overwhelming experience. You need a compassionate and experienced team on your side that has the professional expertise and tools to help you get back on your feet. 

SERVPRO of Weymouth, Hingham, and Quincy is the Massachusetts fire damage company to call when the unthinkable happens to your South Shore home. When you call us at (781) 337-0344, the local specialists will be there fast to answer questions and get started with recovery and restoration. Thanks to our IICRC certification and top Better Business Bureau rating, you can relax knowing our disaster cleanup professionals have everything under control. 

Fire and Electronics: Why You Should Consider Cleaning Your Devices After a Fire

4/6/2023 (Permalink)

electronic fire damage Cleaning fire damage electronics is important to prevent further damage.

Electronics are a major part of our lives, and they can be destroyed by fire. A fire can damage your electronics in many ways, but one of the most important things to consider is how it will affect the health of you and your family. If you have an electronic item that was damaged by a fire, it's important to get it cleaned as soon as possible so that no further damage is done.

In this article we'll discuss why it's necessary for electronics to be cleaned after a fire, what happens if they aren't cleaned and some tips about how best to clean them yourself at home or with professional help from an expert technician.

Types of Damages

The different types of damage that can be caused by fire include:

Smoke damage. This is the most obvious sign of a fire, as it leaves behind a black sooty residue on your electronics.

Soot damage. As well as smoke, there's also an oily film that covers everything in its path when there has been an electrical fire or other type of combustion involving heat (like cooking). This film can cause corrosion over time if not cleaned off regularly, which can lead to further damage down the line if left untreated.

Water damage from sprinklers or hoses used by firefighters during extinguishment efforts may also cause problems with internal components like circuit boards and wiring harnesses if not dried out quickly enough after exposure--and even then some degree of corrosion may still occur due to residual moisture trapped inside certain areas within the device itself after being exposed directly outdoors for extended periods at high temperatures (i..e., 80 degrees Fahrenheit).

Reasons for Cleaning

Cleaning electronics can prevent further damage to the device. For example, if your laptop has been exposed to smoke or soot from the fire, it may be damaged beyond repair if left uncleaned for too long. This can happen even if the laptop looks fine when you first pick it up after putting out the flames in your house or office building.

Having your electronics cleaned by a professional is important because they may not work properly without being cleaned first, especially if they were exposed directly to heat or smoke during a fire!

Testing Your Smoke Detectors

1/23/2023 (Permalink)

Smoke rising by a smoke detector. Regular testing of smoke detectors is essential for ensuring that they are in good working condition and will alert you to a fire.

Smoke detectors are an essential part of any home's fire safety system. These devices detect smoke and alert you to the presence of a fire, giving you valuable time to evacuate your home and call for help. However, like any other piece of equipment, smoke detectors need to be tested regularly to ensure that they are working properly. In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of testing your smoke detectors and provide step-by-step instructions for how to do so.

Why Test Your Smoke Detectors?

Smoke detectors are designed to alert you to the presence of a fire, but if they are not working properly, they cannot do their job. Regular testing ensures that your smoke detectors are in good working condition, so you can be confident that they will alert you in case of a fire.

It is important to test your smoke detectors because it ensures that they are in good working condition and will alert you to a fire. Regular testing helps you identify and fix any problems with your smoke detectors, such as low batteries or faulty sensors before they become a bigger issue. Additionally, testing your smoke detectors regularly will give you peace of mind, knowing that in case of an emergency, your smoke detectors will work to protect you and your loved ones.

How to Test Your Smoke Detectors

Testing your smoke detectors is a relatively simple process that can be done in just a few minutes. Here are the steps you should follow:

1. Locate your smoke detectors. These devices should be located on every level of your home, including the basement and attic, as well as outside each sleeping area.

2. Press the test button. Most smoke detectors have a test button that you can press to simulate smoke and test the alarm. Press the button and wait for the alarm to sound.

3. Check for any issues. If the alarm does not sound, or if it sounds weak, it could indicate a problem with the device. Check the batteries, and if they are low, replace them. If the problem persists, the detector may need to be replaced.

4. Repeat the process for all smoke detectors in your home.

It's important to note that most smoke detectors will have a test button and you should follow the manufacturer's instructions for your specific device.

In conclusion, regular testing of smoke detectors is essential for ensuring that they are in good working condition and will alert you to a fire. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can be confident that your smoke detectors are working properly and will keep you and your family safe. Don't forget to test your smoke detectors at least once a month and change the batteries twice a year.

If your Weymouth home experiences a fire, SERVPRO of Weymouth, Hingham, and Quincy is here to help you get back to normal. Give us a call when you need mitigation and restoration work!

Top Causes of Kitchen Fires

12/25/2022 (Permalink)

flames while cooking Keep flammable materials away from heat sources

Top Causes of Kitchen Fires

Cooking is an essential part of the daily routine in any home. Whether you're preparing a meal, baking a cake or brewing coffee, these activities take place in the kitchen. However, it's not just about making food — cooking can also be dangerous if left unattended. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there are more than 50,000 residential fires each year caused by cooking equipment.

Cooking appliances

Electrical fires are a serious risk in the kitchen. Properly grounding your wires, using surge protectors, and unplugging appliances when they're not in use will help to reduce fire risks.

When you're cooking, be sure to keep an eye on your pans, ovens, and appliances. Some common cooking equipment that commonly starts fires include:

• Ovens

• Stoves

• Microwave ovens 

It's also important to avoid electrical shocks, especially with young children around who may be unable to recognize the danger of touching exposed wires or when an appliance suddenly gets hot. Always keep small appliances away from water, including during cleaning and draining; if cleaning is necessary, unplug them first before wiping down surfaces with a damp cloth.

Remember that most electrical fires start with frayed or damaged wiring—if you notice any signs of wear on your cords or plugs (such as cracking plastic), replace them immediately!

Unattended cooking

Unattended cooking is one of the most common causes of kitchen fires. Cooking oil, butter, and other fats can catch fire if you leave them sitting on a hot stove for too long. It's best to keep an eye on the food you're cooking and never leave it unattended. If you want to make sure that this doesn't happen to you, turn off the heat when something starts smoking or burning. Even if it looks like your pan is perfectly safe, turn off the stove just in case!

If you leave a pan unattended on a burner while it is still hot, it may ignite as well. It’s also important not to overfill your pans with food when cooking—this increases the likelihood that steam will rise off your pan before being released through its vents. This is an excellent way for grease fires to start!

Heating equipment

A kitchen fire can occur when you use anything that produces heat, such as a range, oven or microwave. To prevent a fire:

  • Keep flammable materials away from heat sources.
  • Check all appliances for damage before using them. Do not use damaged appliances until they have been repaired and restored to their original state.
  • Never operate cooking devices while you are sleeping, absent or otherwise distracted by other tasks in the kitchen (this includes cell phones). Always pay attention to what is happening around you so that you notice if something starts to burn or smoke too much before it becomes dangerous

Kitchen fires are a year-round danger.

As soon as you step in the kitchen, you're at risk of having a fire. That's why it's important to be prepared and know what to do if your home catches on fire.

Kitchen fires are more common in the winter because people often use their ovens more during this season than any other time of year. Oven fires can start when something ignites inside a cooking appliance or while you're grilling outside on your patio grill.

Summer is also known for its high temperatures and hot days, which means that there's plenty of heat around your stovetop and oven —and plenty of potential sources for ignition too! If left unattended, these hot surfaces present risks for starting an oven fire or even grill flare-up when combined with grease or oil spilled onto them by careless preparation techniques. 

To prevent a fire:

  • Keep flammable materials away from heat sources.
  • Check all appliances for damage before using them. Do not use damaged appliances until they have been repaired and restored to their original state.
  • Never operate cooking equipment while you are sleeping, absent, or otherwise distracted by other tasks in the kitchen. Always pay attention to what is happening around you so that you notice if something starts to burn or smoke too much before it becomes dangerous.

Kitchen fires can be risky, but they don’t have to be. With the right safety measures in place, you can enjoy your kitchen without worrying about it catching fire.

Avoiding House Fires: The Rules of Candle Use

7/12/2022 (Permalink)

Flowers, and lit candle Don't leave candles unattended

A Candle Fire May Lead to Significant Loss

Who doesn’t love a good-smelling candle? Those waxy sticks line store shelves with all those exotic names just enticing you to buy them and bring them home, making your house smell like some rustic northern cabin. While candles are great for setting the mood or creating ambiance, they also present a considerable risk to you and your home. A candle fire may lead to significant loss. Therefore, when using candles, it is a good idea to follow the rules of use.

1. Don’t Leave Candles Unattended

Never leave a lit candle unattended. The small flames on most candles may seem harmless enough, but if you leave the room for even a minute that candle may fall, causing that little flame to engulf your furniture, room or home.

2. Keep Away from Children and Pets

Children and pets likely do not have the capacity to successfully interfere if a candle fire starts. Also, animals and children probably do not have the foresight to understand that playing around an open flame of any kind is dangerous. Therefore, it is necessary to keep candles away from children and pets who are not supervised by a responsible adult.

3. Remove Flammable Items

While it may seem like a no-brainer, candles should never be placed near or on top of flammable items. All those Halloween pictures showing a candle on top of a stack of books are wrong, doing so puts you at significant risk for a house fire. Paper and an open flame do not belong together unless it is meant as kindling. The same can be said of fabrics. Be careful where you place candles, and always be mindful.

4. Consult a Fire Specialist

While it may seem like overkill, you can speak with a fire assessment specialist or a fireman in the Hingham, MA, area. These individuals are experienced in fire and smoke cleanup and will likely know the basics of candle safety.

A candle fire is a possibility when using candles regularly. However, it can be avoided by following the rules of candle use and safety.

Maintaining Your Furnace To Prevent Fire Hazards

4/30/2022 (Permalink)

Home furnace air filter replacement Homeowners should know that HVAC systems can become fire hazards without routine maintenance.

Preventing Fires By Maintaining Your Furnace

A residential fire is among the most common concerns for new and existing homeowners. While having insurance is nice for the aftermath of fire cleaning, it is not a preventative tool for the initial loss and devastation. One of the main contributors to fire risks in homes is poorly maintained HVAC units. According to many fire restoration professionals in Weymouth Landing, MA, maintaining these vital systems is a crucial component of any fire prevention plan. You can take four steps to ensure the operational integrity of your system.

1. Routinely Replace Filters

HVAC air filters need replacing every 30 to 90 days. The more people or pets you have in your home means the frequency is increased, especially with smokers in the house, smoke cleaning reduces the lifespan of a filter. Most professionals recommend changing air filters every 30 days to ensure optimum air quality.

2. Keep All Vents Clear and Open

Many people will close off vents in rooms they do not use often, but that is not a good idea. When you seal a vent, the HVAC system may need to work harder to maintain temperatures in the house.

People also have a tendency to place furniture over vents, leading to potential fire hazards. If you would like to avoid fire cleaning, keep vents clear. Your HVAC system works best with open and clear vents. If the temp seems off, consider contacting a professional to perform an assessment.

3. Perform Routine Inspections

Performing DIY assessments weekly or monthly is quite useful. You know your system and can likely identify slight changes better than others. Drastic changes in operation might require professional attention, but frequent DIY checks allow for early professional intervention.

4. Hire a Professional for Biannual Inspections

At least twice per year--the spring and fall--you will want to call a professional for a full system inspection. Professionals can identify problems early, ensuring you do not go the winter without heat.

Homeowners should know that HVAC systems can become fire hazards without routine maintenance. To prevent such dangers, use prevention and fire cleaning services to help, keeping up with maintenance schedules.

Best Practices for Avoiding a Grill Fire

3/22/2022 (Permalink)

Grilling salmon on a gas burning grill on the backyard patio. A simple practice such as grill cleaning can eliminate many fires.

The Best Ways To Avoid A Grill Fire

Many people in the spring and summer enjoy cooking out on a grill. While this activity is generally pretty safe, there are times when flames flare up and create a dangerous situation. If you are lucky, the only thing damaged is your meal. Sometimes, though, widespread damage to a garage, lawn or home results.

A simple practice such as grill cleaning can eliminate many fires. A dirty grill is often caked with flammable items such as grease and oil. Once these substances ignite, it is important to keep a calm attitude. Often the fire can be extinguished by turning off the grill and keeping the top closed.

The Role of Regular Grill Maintenance

It is crucial to make sure your grill is in good shape before turning it on. Make sure there are no loose parts or obvious problems with the grill. When you turn on the grill, make sure the fire looks stable. When it is time for grill cleaning, follow these steps:

  • Turn off the grill and disconnect the propane tank
  • Soak the grates and metal plates in a bucket of warm water and soap
  • Use a grill brush to scrub dirty portions of the grill
  • Empty the drip pan and soak it in the bucket

A thorough cleaning is the best way to avoid a grease fire. Proper maintenance increases the safety of your grill.

The Role of Fire Restoration

Any time a fire does break out in your home in Hingham, MA, it is important to call for professional help. An experienced fire remediation company will help you restore your home to its original condition. This includes removing all forms of soot and smoke damage as well as restoring any structural damage caused by the fire. In all areas of your home, it is important to practice fire safety. Grill cleaning is one simple way to protect your home from a devastating fire.

How To Secure a Structure After a Fire

3/8/2022 (Permalink)

Visible damage to a commercial building following a structure fire If you need assistance with emergency planning, or if you are currently dealing with fire damage and loss, contact SERVPRO, we can help you!

After A Fire, How Do You Secure A Structure?

A fire can cause extensive damage at a commercial property in Weymouth, MA. After the blaze has been extinguished, the structure may be at risk for additional damage and looting. Boarding up structural breaches and installing temporary fencing around the building are two of the best ways to limit these risks. Learn more about effective security measures for a building that has sustained fire damage.

Board Up

A fire can cause windows to break, destroy doors, and create holes in the walls or roof of a structure. Boarding up involves covering openings that can admit

• Debris
• Precipitation
• Trespassers

Boarding up will require at least two people, a sufficient amount of plywood, and nails or screws. Rely on a professional board up service to achieve the most secure results. Although tarping over a damaged roof may not add much additional security, it can help to keep out debris and water.

Fence

A building that has suffered fire damage may attract trespassers and looters who expect to find the location abandoned and unsecured. Even a damaged building may still contain valuable fixtures, inventory, or wiring. Security fencing can

• Restrict access
• Protect property
• Limit liability

Fencing can help to keep out passersby and limit secondary damage and losses. Contact a mitigation company to find out about the best options for securing a commercial property.

Monitor

It is important to document damage immediately after the fire occurs, prior to taking any steps toward mitigation. Afterward, the owner or manager should regularly check on the property. It is a good idea to leave up fencing until fire cleanup and restoration are complete.

These measures can help to prevent additional damage or losses from taking place at a damaged commercial building in Weymouth, MA. A fire damage mitigation company should provide all of these services, and commercial property insurers are likely to cover these protective measures.

Five Tips for Safely Using Candles in Your Home

2/15/2022 (Permalink)

candle in bathroom on the bath tub Because fire can be devastating to your home and smoke cleanup can be difficult, using a candle alternative can be a great choice.

Five Tips For Using Candles Safely At Home

Candles can provide a warm and cozy atmosphere in your Hingham, MA home, but they can also be the cause of significant damage. A candle fire can easily become an emergency, so keep these tips in mind when using them in your home.

1. Keep Candles Away From Flammable Objects

When you are burning a candle, be sure not to use it too close to anything that could catch fire. You should place candles at least a foot away from curtains, bedding, papers and other flammable objects. You should be especially cautious of highly flammable liquids.

2. Don’t Leave Burning Candles Unattended

While it may seem like a hassle to extinguish the candle every time you may leave the room, it is unsafe to leave it burning unattended. If a fire were to start while you were out of the room, it could spread quickly before you return.

3. Keep Pets and Children Away From Lit Candles

If you have children and pets in your household, it is important to keep them away from any lit candles. As well as injuring themselves, a young child or pet might cause a candle fire by accidentally knocking it over.

4. Only Place Candles in Containers Specifically Made for This Use

You should never use a candle in a container that was not made to be used with them. A container that is not heat resistant could melt or burst, resulting in a fire.

5. Consider Using Candle Alternatives

Because fire can be devastating to your home and smoke cleanup can be difficult, using a candle alternative can be a great choice. Instead of using candles during a power outage, you should use a flashlight or other battery-operated light. For daily use, there are battery-powered candles that can give you the same ambiance as a burning candle without the safety risk.

Although candles are a commonly used item, a candle fire can cause a lot of damage. A fire restoration company can help after an emergency, but you should be sure to follow these tips to keep your home safe.