Recent Fire Damage Posts

How to Protect your Pets in Case of a Home Fire.

8/8/2019 (Permalink)

Here we see a dog outfitted with a top of the line backpack ready to carry her share in the event of an emergency.

We love pets here at SERVPRO and have worked several times with our local Kansas Humane Society here in Wichita because helping lil’ pups and kitters find their forever home just makes sense to us. For many of the homes we visit the animals are a part of the family but many people do not have a fire safety plan for themselves much less their critters. For general fire safety check our blog post to set up a plan for you family and use this post to add emergency pet procedures to your plan. 

Planning on how to handle your pets in the event of an emergency is more than just being a good caretaker, it can also prevent a member of your family or an emergency worker from going back into an unsafe situation. If evacuating your home during a fire here are some steps that you can take before and during to be as safe as possible:

  • Stay calm and do not panic, your pet will hopefully take your lead.
  • Be sure to call for your pet
  • Have a leash or cat carrier easily accessible
  • Assign evacuation pet buddies like you would people buddies.
  • Make sure your designated meet up area will accommodate your pet.
  • Rescue alert stickers tell emergency workers how many and what kind of animals are in your house and typically also have a space for the name and number of your veterinarian.
  • Know your pets hideaway spot, if they are scared they will go there. Mark those places on your fire escape plan map
  • If you must leave before you evacuate leave a door open or some other kind of outdoor access available. Call your pets name when you get out and with luck they may head for your voice. 

Some general pet related safety tips are: 

  • Keep all records of shots and vaccinations in a firebox
  • Have an emergency bag handy with emergency veterinarian contact, pets food, snacks, water, medications and toys for comfort.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about what your pet might need for a first aid kit. Most kits include cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors; antibiotic ointment; flea and tick prevention; latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution. A pet first aid reference book is also a good idea.
  • Keep lit candles away from areas a pet can access and start a fire
  • Be aware and take measures for any stove-top or oven control knobs pets could possibly turn
  • Microchipping your pet is a more permanent form of identification in case you lose track of them

While there is no 100% way to stay safe taking fire prevention and being prepared greatly improves your chances of avoiding giving us a call to help clean up.

The Different Kinds of Soot SERVPRO Cleans.

8/6/2019 (Permalink)

This Wichita home looks pretty destroyed and while many materials did need to be discarded many more were able to be saved thanks to our technicians.

SERVPRO works to restore homes and businesses which have experienced fire damage all the time and in the course of this work we have encountered a plethora of causes to those fires. Gas cans in a garage going off, cigarettes on porches, leaving a fish on the stove or even a treadmill spontaneously combusting. Ultimately it doesn’t matter what the cause of the fire is, what matters is getting your Wichita home or business back in order. Please refer to our Fire Safety page and make sure you have done what you can to keep your family and home safe.

As IICRC certified fire restoration specialists reigning in the chaos and damage from a fire is our job. Typically, we utilize the cause of your fire to initialize the most effective cleaning process possible. Since SERVPRO has chemists that develop almost all of the cleaning supplies we use they are able to make very precise recommendations when needed as long as we provide the proper information.

One of the most important elements to cleaning soot left behind after a fire is identifying the type of soot we are dealing with. There are three general types of soot residues produced in a fire:

  1. Protein Residues: These residues typically occur due to overcooked or burned meat, fish or beans. The residue color range falls somewhere between yellow and brown with the texture being greasy sticking very easily to almost any surface. This can be one of the most difficult residues to clean often requiring strong water based cleaning solutions to effectively remove.
  2. Natural Substance Residue: These residues are caused by the combustion of natural substances such as paper or wood. The residue is grey to black with a dry dusty texture. Techniques such as vacuuming followed by wet cleaning are effective at cleaning and deodorizing this type of residue.
  3. Synthetic Residue: These residues are created by the burning of oil based products such as carpet, furniture, upholstery, toys or rubber. These residues are often quite thick and heavy being very black in color and smear very easily. As long as they are not touched with bare flesh they can be removed relatively easily.

Some other elements about the fire also contribute to the level of soil it produces such as:

  1. Higher temperature fires burn the fuel more efficiently. Since soot is mostly the product of incomplete combustion higher temperature fire will produce less soot.

  2. Higher temperature fires can also bake residues onto some surfaces making them very difficult to clean.

  3. High heat opens up the pores of many materials which soot gets into and those pores close as the materials cool making deodorizing very difficult.

  4. Metallic surfaces become magnetized when heated and soot particles are attracted to those surfaces since they also have an electrical charge.

If you are experiencing any kind of soil caused by a fire refer to our Fire Damage Emergency Tips and give us a call for an inspection (316) 684 -6700

How SERVPRO of Northeast Wichita handles a Fire Restoration Project

7/3/2019 (Permalink)

In this Wichita home a fire start was started by an electrical malfunction and as the fire grew it broke a water pipe which put the fire out.

Smoke and flames from something burning in your Wichita home can lead to an extensive list of issues with the items in your home and even the structural materials themselves. The fire does not even need to be large or particularly damaging for there to be a layer of soot covering every wall and item suffusing your home with a terrible and unwanted odor. If you are struggling with any of these issues it is a good idea to call a professional restoration company like SERVPRO of Northeast Wichita.

We provide in-depth inspections on your home in order to determine the extent of damage and what it will take to clean and deodorize your home. Some of the things we do in an inspection can include:

  • Inspecting rooms and areas for the presence of soot
    • Severely and moderately materials soiled by soot are typically obviously visible. Lower levels of soil can be invisible but contribute greatly to odor
  • Testing cleaning techniques
    • Dry cleaning methods
    • Spot testing chemicals unique interaction with your home’s materials
  • Evaluate what can be restored and what must be torn out
    • We always try to restore everything we can to keep cost and time as low as possible
  • Determine whether a pack out is necessary
    • Pack-outs typically occur because the structure is excessively affected
    • We use a pack-out software which links the pictures of your items to the box and barcode they have been assigned
  • Give a general road map to you about how this process will go
  • Come up with a preliminary estimate on the cost of remediation

While this is the general outline of how a fire restoration project starts there are many factors which can change how a first inspection can go. Since we provide emergency board up services sometimes we will be boarding up windows, doors or any other area which needs to be secures. Additionally since we also provide emergency water services there is typically some water damage associated with a fire that has been put out and we can get right on to drying that.

Whether you are dealing with a large fire or simply an odor that won’t go away after burning dinner we can help get you back to clean. Give our office a call today at 316-684-6700.

The Phenomenon of Soot Webs

8/8/2018 (Permalink)

This is an example how soot tags look. You can see how easy it is to assume they are spider webs covered in soot.

Being fire restoration specialists we have seen a lot of fire damaged homes and businesses in Wichita, KS over the years. Sometimes the extent of the damage is very evident especially when the damage is on the walls and ceilings of homes. Other times the most extensive part of the damage is in the attics, or trapped between walls where it is unseen until we dig in with our inspection. 

One of the most common visible instances of fire damage are the black spider webs that seem to spring out of nowhere after a fire. These spider webs are actually called “Soot Tags” and actually don’t have anything to do with spider webs. So you can put your worries to rest because there is no such thing as “fire spiders” as one of our customers put it. 

Soot Tags form in areas of low circulation when petroleum/synthetic based sources burn. In a fire the heat of the fire moves into colder areas since the air seeks to create equilibrium. Since that soot is riding the air with that heat soot particles follow the air into those colder areas with low circulation and are able to concentrate. Since that soot is a product of combustion the particles themselves are charged which makes it quite easy for them to create long chains of soot or soot tags. So while it looks like a lot of soot got stuck on pre-existing spider webs it is actually a whole new structure. 

If your home of business in Wichita is affected by smoke or fire damage give us a call so we can start making it “Like it never even happened.” at (316) 684 – 6700.

Guide to Fire Extinguishers for Homeowners

8/8/2018 (Permalink)

An example of a fire extinguisher, note do not hold fire extinguishers close to sources of heat.

Owning a home in Wichita, KS means there are many different dimensions of home ownership you must have knowledge about and today we are here to help you with one of those areas. In the past we have written about fire safety and steps that you can take to minimize the risk of fires. We still are giving out smoke detectors and emergency plans so contact us for those today! In this post we will go over what is the best fire extinguisher type for your home.

Fire extinguishers come in many classes and some are better suited for residential properties while others for commercial. Different classes are also better for combatting various types of fires. The ideal fire extinguisher combines these three classes:

  • Class A: These extinguishers excel at putting out, textile, plastic, wood, trash and paper based fires. These extinguishers use the chemical monoammonium phosphate.
  • Class B: These extinguishers excel at putting out oil, paint, grease, gasoline and kerosene based fires. These extinguishers also use monoammonium phosphate as well as sodium bicarbonate.
  • Class C: These extinguishers excel at putting out electrical fires and utilize monoammonium phosphate and sodium bicarbonate. Class C extinguishers do not conduct electricity.

When choosing a fire extinguisher also consider that the class rating refers to effectiveness and area covered by the canister. The larger the number the larger the area it covers. Buy the largest canister that you can operate yourself. Typically people use a 5 pound canister for kitchens or laundry rooms while many choose to have at least a 10 pound canister for their garages.

Remember that fire extinguishers are only to be used when a fire is contained and found early. Once the fire has spread the safest thing to do is exit the building and call 911. When a fire occurs in your home or business contact a fire restoration specialist and your homeowners insurance agent as soon as possible to begin the restoration process. For more information check out our fire page here.

Wichita Smoke and Soot Cleanup

4/20/2017 (Permalink)

Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Wichita Homes and Businesses.

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 Northeast Wichita will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

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

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

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

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

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

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

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

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 316-655-6094