Recent Fire Damage Posts

What Should Homeowners Do After Fire Damage?

4/21/2020 (Permalink)

One of the most seriously devastating things to happen to any family and/or property is fire damage. To make matters worse, in an attempt to save money, corners are constantly cut on fire insurance claims by insurance companies. Homes are completely destroyed, and personal belongings lost forever in fires. Getting a hard time on your insurance claim from the insurance company through which you have your homeowner's policy is the absolute last thing you need!

To add insult to injury, however, even moderate fires cannot be put out without copious amounts of water. That's going to mean water damage to your belongings and in/on your home. It's not the fault of the fire department, of course. They did everything they could to save your home but had to use a lot of water to do so.

How can you keep headaches to a minimum where fire damage is concerned? Here are a few tips.

Check Your Policy Before the Unthinkable Occurs

Does your homeowner's insurance have "replacement coverage"? Your policy may only stipulate that for the personal items lost, you can get nothing more than the actual cash value. You may choose to opt for a replacement policy, particularly if the things in your home have aged.

Here's an example: You may only get $25 for your tired, old living room set on Craigslist – because that's all it's really worth – but it's going to cost you many times that to replace it.

Is The Condition of Your Property Secure?

You may be required by your homeowner's coverage policy, in order to minimize property damage or harm, to take reasonable steps. This is referred to as a duty to mitigate damage, in short terms. It's relatively easy to do through small steps as in the following scenario: If you find a massive pipe burst, turn off the water and/or cover areas around the leak with plastic wrap. It seems like common sense, more or less, but it's going to make a big difference.

Are You Watching Your Living Expenses?

A “loss of use clause” is included in the homeowner's policies. That means that while you're out of your home, you are entitled to adequate living expense reimbursement. This does, however, only apply to additional living expenses such as the difference between what it's costing you to live somewhere now and what it would have cost you to live in your home, ordinarily.

Say you’re spending $400 a week while eating most of your meals at home. But now with the house fire, you’re spending $500 a week because you are eating out more often. The additional $100 spent is the only thing you'll be able to claim.

Have a Claim? File It Right Away!

Once your home has been damaged by a fire, do not hesitate to file your claim. In fact, this could well be a requirement of your insurance holder. Put a call into your agent as soon as possible. They will likely ask for a "proof of loss claim". This is where you'll list the value of each thing you lost in an itemized manner. You may not receive a claim adjuster in expedited fashion if you wait a long time to file your claim.

Quick Action Is Important

Most often, along with fire damage comes water damage. The important thing to remember here is that reaction time should be as timely as possible. The longer water damage sits unattended, the more problems will arise, including toxic mold and decay. We, at SERVPRO, have experts who understand that, when dealing with fire and water damage, time is of the essence. To formulate a plan to solve your water and fire damage problems according to your precise to your needs, work with our team of professionals.

Understanding the Six Important Classes of Fire Damage

3/12/2020 (Permalink)

Fire is a devastating force of nature that both residential and commercial property owners face. Falling asleep with a lit cigarette or a kitchen fire incident can cause a home or business to sustain severe damage. If you are looking to learn more about the different classes of fire damage that plague households and businesses in the United States, you are at the right place. 

Understanding the Different Classes of Fire Damage

  • Class A: Fires involving cloth, wood, rubber, paper, plastics, and other flammable solids.
  • Class B: Fires caused by flammable liquids and/or solids that can become liquefied. For example, paint, plastics, wax, oil and petrol. Fires caused by fats and cooking oils, however, are excluded from this class.
  • Class C: Fires involving flammable gases such as natural gas, butane, propane, and hydrogen.
  • Class D: Fires caused by combustible metals such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium.
  • Class E: In addition to factors from Classes A and B, Class E fire damage also involves electrical elements.
  • Class F: Fires that occur while cooking fats and oils. Class F fire damage, however, is significantly hotter than those found in Class B and can cause severe damage to one's property.

What are the Most Common Types of Fire Damage?

Now that you are familiar with the various classes of fire damage, it is useful to note the different types and causes of fires in the country as well. 

  • Faulty heater fires

To keep warm during winter, homeowners typically utilize portable heaters. Some heater units, however, may become the catalyst of a fire, especially during the months of January, February, and December. That's why it is important to purchase heaters that come with automatic shutoff features. In addition, owners should keep these heaters at least three feet away from any flammable or combustible source. 

  • Kitchen fires

Grease fires are one of the most common types of kitchen fires. A fire may occur if an individual accidentally leaves a frying pan unattended. Oftentimes, these fires can cause major property damage and serious bodily harm. To avoid appliance fires and oven fires, one should always keep the kitchen clean, never leave cooking food unattended, and unplug appliances when not in use.

  • Smoking-related fires

Cigarettes account for thousands of fire-related deaths in the United States per year. Unfortunately, smokers are not always the ones who lose their lives. That’s why smokers must be cautious and ensure that their cigarettes are completely extinguished prior to disposal. It is recommended that one smokes outside the house if drowsy, inebriated, or exhausted. In addition, smokers should use fire-resistant bins and ashtrays whenever necessary.

  • Electrical fires

Worn out breaker boxes, improper use of electrical outlets, faulty electrical wiring, lightning, and faulty appliances are some of the known causes of electrical fires. Older homes are at a greater risk because of faulty or worn wiring, which may cause shorts and sparks that ignite nearby combustibles. 

It truly pays to be a well-prepared citizen or business owner as fire damage is often devastating. If you or a loved one was a fire victim, consider contacting a trusted restoration company. At SERVPRO of Lower Manhattan, we have fire restoration specialists who can restore your home or business to pre-fire condition. Our company is committed to providing superior 24-hour emergency services. Do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with us today.

Beware of These Office Fire Hazards

3/12/2020 (Permalink)

Many people think that a fire is unlikely to take place in their office. However, they are sadly mistaken. Statistics from NFPA’s 2013 report showed that from 2007 to 2011, there was an average of 3340 fires in office properties each year. This is devastating number, especially as all these fires could have been easily prevented. To help you fire-proof your office, here are some office fire hazards you should beware of.

Combustibles

Although offices do not contain oils, gases or naked flames, this does not mean that there is no fire risk. Offices are home to a surprising number of combustibles.

  • Dust

Many people are unaware that dust can ignite when the thing it is coating gets too hot. On top of preventing machines from overheating, it is recommended to keep office spaces well-ventilated to prevent the accumulation of dust.

  • Paper 

There are hundreds of paper documents and binders lying around in every office, in cabinets, desks and waste paper baskets. It is best to keep these paper materials away from any heat sources and to empty out your waste paper baskets regularly.

  • Cleaning liquids 

People often forget about the cleaning liquids that cleaning staff use to maintain the cleanliness of an office. These cleaning liquids are highly flammable and need to be stored properly to prevent an accident.

Electrical Hazards

It is not uncommon for fires to come from an electrical source. To prevent such a situation, here are the steps you can take.

  • Keep machines from overheating

You can do this by ensuring that all machines are properly ventilated to allow them to cool down. It is also a good habit to turn off these machines every night.

  • Remove broken cables

Leaving broken cables lying around the office is just asking for trouble. The moment there are sparks, an electrical fire is sure to break out.

  • Don’t overload extension cables

Everyone loves to use extension cables. However, it is important to check how much an extension cable can take before you plug in too many machines. 

  • Get PAT testing

Having your PAT equipment inspected regularly will prevent any electrical faults that could lead to an electrical fire.

Don’t Block Exits 

One of the most important things you need to do for a fire risk assessment is to ensure that all staff and visitors to your office can make a quick escape from the building in the event of a fire. Here is what you can do to maximise the chances of a safe exit.

  • Keep fire doors closed 

It may be tempting to keep the fire doors open in a stuffy office or to allow for easy entry. However, fire doors are designed to keep fires contained to buy enough time for people to escape. This means that they must never be pinned open.

  • Keep doors clear

Never pile stocks or other belongings in front of doors. Doors must always be kept clear to allow for easy entry and exit in any emergency.

  • Keep corridors clear

To allow everyone to leave the building as quickly and efficiently as possible, corridors must be kept clear. If there are piles of office paper or binders in an already small space, they will become obstacles that impede an escape.

Now that you are aware of the common office fire hazards, you can take the necessary steps to remove them to keep you and your staff safe.

What Should You Do If A Grease Fire Erupts In Your Home?

3/12/2020 (Permalink)

Anyone who has ever experienced a flare-up in their kitchen knows very well how scary it can be. Grease fires are ten times more terrifying. They usually occur when the temperature of your cooking oil gets too high. In such cases, the oil will start to boil before starting to smoke. If the temperature is not reduced soon after that point, the cooking oil catches fire, resulting in a grease fire.

Grease fires are far more dangerous than regular fires and are much harder to put out. They can erupt suddenly and cause a huge amount of damage within the span of minutes. Trying to extinguish them the same way you would a normal fire can make a grease fire worse.

That’s why it is important to know how to deal with them if you ever have the misfortune of encountering one. Here are some tips on what to do and when you should contact a professional in the event of a grease fire in your home.

What Not to Do

In the event of a regular fire, it is okay to use to water to extinguish the flames. However, this should never be done in the case of a grease fire as the consequences are highly dangerous. When water is thrown onto a grease fire, it causes the oil to spread and splash, spreading the flames. The water will also be instantly flash-boiled into steam by the extreme heat, causing a small explosion that will send flaming oil droplets everywhere.

You may have heard of using baking soda to put out a grease fire. However, it is not a good idea to use any kind of powder type substances to put out a grease fire. Firstly, it is dangerous to get close enough to the fire to apply the powder. Secondly, it is difficult to cover the fire with enough powder to extinguish it. Last but not least, certain household powder substances can be ignited, making the whole situation worse.

Putting Out a Grease Fire

You may not be able to use water or baking soda but there are other ways to extinguish a grease fire in your kitchen. The first thing you should do is to turn off your heating source. Next, before the fire spreads outside of your pan or pot, cover it with a metal lid or cookie sheet. You must never use a glass lid as the intense lid could cause it to shatter, sending glass shards flying everywhere.

If the grease fire becomes too big and you have a class B chemical fire extinguisher at home, your best chance is to try to hose the grease fire down with it. 

If none of these techniques are effective, you should evacuate the building immediately and call 911. 

Professional Fire Damage Restoration

If your home has been damaged by a grease fire, it is best to get a restoration professional to clean your home for you. Grease fires can leave behind a mix of residues that require special tools and experience to remove. With professional help, your home can be restored to its original state in the shortest time possible. Our team of experts and professionals here at SERVPRO specialize in quick and effective fire damage restoration. Feel free to contact us to engage our services!

Fire Damage In Basement

7/15/2019 (Permalink)

Here at SERVPRO we take pride in our long list of services we provide to our clients. On this list is fire damage restoration. One of our clients had the unfortunately experienced a fire in their basement and called us to help them out of their situation. As you can see in the picture on the right the fire tarnished much of the foundation of the basement. Our crew went in and cleaned up all the debris the fire had left behind. Once they were done with the cleanup they moved on to replacing basement with a new foundation. Our client was very pleased with the level of professionalism they received as well as the final product of the basement. The best part of our job is knowing we helped alleviate the stress of a worried client. 

Our Take on Fires

7/15/2019 (Permalink)

Not all fires are started the same way. Some can be caused from a candle left on through the night or a cigarette not being put out all the way. Whatever the cause may be, all fires are messy and leave an unwanted burden on a number of individuals. We know the stress throughly but more important than that, we know how to help.

In the photo pictured here a local high school suffered a grease fire in its kitchen. While the cause remains unknown to us it does not matter to our services. Here at SERVPRO of Lower Manhattan we care about restoring your home, business, or property back to its original state. We are here to help you forget the stress of the damage and make you realize it is possible to make the problem look like it "Never even happened". 

Fire Damage to Property

5/8/2019 (Permalink)

Here at SERVPRO we take pride in our long list of services we provide to our clients. On this list is fire damage restoration. Any type of fire is a big deal to us here at SERVPRO Lower Manhattan. That’s why when we got a call about a small kitchen fire we told the customer we’d be more than happy to help. Not pictured here is where the damage of the fire had taken place, above the cabinets the damage was the most visible. Not pictured is the damage to the stove and counter tops. As you can see when looking at the picture on the right our crew restored the kitchen like there was never a fire a there in the first place.

How to Prevent a Fire From Starting in Your Home

5/8/2019 (Permalink)

There is a long list of causes when it comes to home fires. They're beginning to become a commonality. When you're victim of a house fire you lose everything; all the memories you've made, burnt to a crisp.

Some practices to preventing a fire in your home are as follows:

    • Make sure everything is switched OFF and unplugged
    • Check/Inspect your chimney annually
    •  Keep comforters and anything flammable away from heaters
    • Test fire alarms/ replace batteries frequently
    • Never smoke in the home
    • Keep a spoon or spatula as a reminder when cooking/ do not leave stove tops unattended when lit

It is widely recommended that families practice a fire escape route in the event a fire does occur. No one sees a fire coming and it's best you know what plan of action to take in case you're faced with one.

In the event your home has endured a fire, call SERVPRO of Lower Manhattan at 212-564-6365 and we'll make it, "Like it never even happened."

Fire Damage In Commercial Building

5/8/2019 (Permalink)

A fire that started in the elevator shaft of a commercial building caused repercussions throughout different parts of the structure as well. Unless it's summer and you're sitting next to a bonfire fires are never anticipated. In almost any case, they are not what any business owner wants for themselves. As you can see in the picture we have a different point of view from the building and there is soot damage present on the flooring. This is shown by the darker color on the floor and the foot prints shown within them. SERVPRO of Lower Manhattan went in to this job and before we even put a single piece of equipment down we assured the business owner that this was nothing new to us. 

SERVPRO Handles Fires

5/8/2019 (Permalink)

Here at SERVPRO of Lower Manhattan we have a long list of jobs we specialize in going beyond fire, soot, and mold. Cleaning up fire damage is one of our specialties. So naturally, when a local high school suffered a grease fire in their kitchen we were more than happy to help clean up the damage that occurred.  It is our job here at SERVPRO to make accidents look "Like it never even happened." The extent of the fire was pretty bad as soot covered most the walls. Our team used our special SERVPRO cleaning products to help restore the kitchen to a much cleaner state. The owners of the property were very pleased with the rate of our work as well as the final product.

Fire Damage in Resident Basement

6/8/2018 (Permalink)

Here at SERVPRO of Lower Manhattan we understand how badly some fires can affect our customers. Not only do they do damage to the homes and businesses to so many individuals but they also cause a tremendous amount of stress.  We are here to alleviate that stress and restore your home back to the way it once was prior to damage.  This job classifies as fire damage as you can see the color of the beams after the fire got to them  when looking at the picture. Our crew went in with the proper tools to get rid of all the garbage and debris the fire left behind to make this house look like a home again. Our customer was very happy with the level of professionalism we provided. It’s easy to get worked up when something like this happens to you but don’t worry SERVPRO is #heretohelp.