Recent Fire Damage Posts

Ozone to Eliminate Fire Odors

2/27/2019 (Permalink)

An ozone generator is being used to deodorize a home after a fire. Ozone is heavier than air so the generator is set on a ladder for maximum results.

Ozone is a chemical which can be used to neutralize odors. It is made out of three Oxygen atoms, which is not a very stable configuration. This makes it very reactive, because it wants to convert into Oxygen molecules, which are made out of two Oxygen atoms and are significantly more stable. Ozone works to neutralize odor molecules by reacting with them to create Oxygen atoms and other less stinky molecules.

We use Ozone generators after many fire damages to neutralize odors in homes, businesses and in our warehouse on personal property. It is a very effective process and works on most odors and materials. Care must be taken not to expose elastic and certain rubbers to ozone because it can react with them and break them down. Our SERVPRO technicians are trained to determine which deodorization method is best for each project. One of the many benefits to Ozone is that because it causes a chemical reaction, the odor is unlikely to return as long as everything has been thoroughly cleaned.

One of the caveats is that the Ozone generator creates Ozone by removing Oxygen from the environment, which makes it impossible to breathe while it is running. We only use Ozone when structures are unoccupied to avoid problems with this. Once the generator is turned off, the environment will refill with Oxygen as the Ozone reacts with odor molecules making the space safe to inhabit again. Our technicians weigh the pros and cons of each deodorization method to determine which method or combination of methods is most appropriate for each project.

Temporary Power After Fire Damage

2/11/2019 (Permalink)

This generator is being used to power both temporary lighting and air scrubbers to make it safe for our technicians to work.

Last week we discussed the importance of air scrubbers when people are in a structure after a fire damage. What we didn't cover is what to do when a home has no power to run those air scrubbers. Fortunately, at SERVPRO of Benton, Jasper, Newton and Southern Lake Counties we have a solution. We are able to supply small generators for most fire projects that require temporary power to run air scrubbers and lights. We can also supply large generators capable of powering enough drying equipment to dry large homes and businesses. When possible, we recommend having an electrician evaluate the home or business's electrical system to see if part or all of the system can be used. When using the existing electrical is not possible, trust us to supply the power we need to complete mitigation and make it, "Like it never even happened."

The Importance of Air Scrubbers on Fire Damages

2/3/2019 (Permalink)

Check out this air scrubber in action on a recent fire damage.

Does the smell of a campfire bring back fond memories? The same smell can be found in a house after a fire damage, although it can vary based on what burned. Unfortunately, that smell is strongly associated with poor air quality. At SERVPRO of Benton, Jasper, Newton and Southern Lake Counties we always recommend using air scrubbers to improve the air quality after a house fire until demolition and cleaning are completed. This is done for both your safety and the safety of our workers. It is virtually impossible to know exactly what burned in every fire, and many building materials and personal property can undergo chemical reactions when they are burned resulting in unsafe particles in the air. Our HEPA-filtered air scrubbers are capable of getting almost all of these dangerous particles out of the air, resulting in a safer environment for everyone. Partnered with personal protective equipment, air scrubbers help make your home cleaner and safer.

Total Loss Inventory

1/19/2019 (Permalink)

Many items in this photo cannot be restored to preloss condition but still must be documented so that insurance can issue a check to replace them.

At SERVPRO of Benton, Jasper, Newton and Southern Lake Counties we know that fire can affect more than just your house. It can also destroy your personal belongings. We have special inventory software that allows us to mark which items can be cleaned and restored, as well as which items cannot be restored to preloss condition. This can make your life much simpler because insurance companies will want a detailed list of all the non-salvageable items in your home. You do not need to spend the time creating this list yourself. Instead, trust SERVPRO of Benton, Jasper, Newton and Southern Lake Counties to complete the inventory. We are used to working with hundreds of different insurance companies and can work with you and your insurance company to create a list that makes it easy for you to get a check to replace any belongings that did not make it.

Fire Content Inventory

1/9/2019 (Permalink)

These items were packed after being in a fire-damaged home.

Has your home been affected by a fire damage? Don't forget that the fire will affect more than just your house. Any personal belongings that were in the structure at the time of the fire, or that were brought into the house before repairs were completed can be covered in soot and retain a strong odor.

At SERVPRO of Benton, Jasper, Newton and Southern Lake Counties we are prepared to restore both your home and its contents. We use special inventory software to document the condition of all of the items we pack and bring back to our facility in Saint John, Indiana. This allows us to keep track of all of your personal property as it goes through the restoration process and makes it easy for us to return contents to their original rooms.

Smoke and Soot Damage

8/30/2018 (Permalink)

Dryer fire in University Park, IL.

Fuel, Oxygen, and heat is the perfect storm for complete combustion. However usually a complete combustion does not occur in a house fire, smoke residue or soot is produced. Soot is the product of incomplete combustion. Smoke is the fuel that didn’t burn, made visible by the presence of carbon and other material.

Smoke may seem to dissipate quickly after a fire, but the reality is the rapid cooling of incomplete combustion leaves a film and a odor that penetrates throughout the building. This film can cause discoloration, corrosion, and overall damage.

We at SERVPRO understand that, when a fire occurs, lives are suddenly turned around. Fire is an unpredictable beast that can result in a great deal of loss. The restoration industry has learned that the longer a structure is allowed to remain affected by smoke and soot, the cost incurred increases drastically. Therefore, it is so critical to respond quickly. It is our priority to return the structure to a preloss condition, without causing any additional damage.

SERVPRO of Benton, Jasper, Newton and Southern Lake Counties can help in your time of need! Call 219-779-7577!

Fire Damage in Chesterton

3/15/2018 (Permalink)

Recently, SERVPRO of Benton, Jasper, Newton and Southern Lake Counties was asked to respond to a fire damage in Chesterton, IN. The home had smoke and soot damage from a water heater that caught fire. All of the home’s structural surfaces and contents were covered with a thin layer of black soot.

Our trained professionals were able to determine which items could be cleaned to preloss condition and which items would have to be replaced.

There are several methods for cleaning smoke and soot damage. One method is dry cleaning which is used any time a material will not survive wet cleaning or has only a little amount of soot/dirt. First, any excess soot is vacuumed. Then the crews use either a pre-treated cloth to wipe the item or a dry cleaning sponge. Both processes work well on books, paper, cardboard, photos, and wood.

If dry cleaning does not restore an item to preloss condition then the crews will switch to wet cleaning which is more aggressive. The wallpaper photographed was first dry cleaned and then wet cleaned. The crew will first pre-test several products to determine which will work based on the specific type of soot you have and confirm it will not damage the surface being cleaned. In this picture, you can see the difference as we cleaned the wall.

SERVPRO of Benton, Jasper, Newton, and Southern Lake Counties can help with all smoke or soot damage! Call 219-779-7577 so we can help!

Restoring Contents after a Fire

2/13/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO deals with contents after a house fire in IL.

SERVPRO of Benton, Jasper, Newton, and Southern Lake Counties is ready to help in the case of a fire. Fires not only cause damage to your house but they also cause damage to the contents of your home. Know that your concerns will be taken care of with SERVPRO.  

Many of your items might be covered in soot, ash, or debris from the fire. We can help. When cleaning contents after a fire, SERVPRO uses several different proprietary cleaners to restore your items. Technicians are trained to select the right cleaner based on the material of the item being cleaned and the type of soot on the item. A porcelain plate, a book and an antique wooden dresser all react differently to a fire and need to be cleaned accordingly. Our certified technicians are taught to determine the right cleaning process for each item in your home.

Unfortunately, not all items can be restored to preloss condition. SERVPRO examines each item to look for fine cracks and stains that cannot be reversed with just cleaning. Some items are refinished and others may need to have parts replaced. Any item that cannot be cleaned to preloss condition is documented so that it can be replaced. We understand that some items are irreplaceable. For irreplaceable items that cannot be restored to preloss condition, our crews are often able to make significant improvements on the appearance and odor of an item that has been in a fire. Crews are trained to inform you of any items that can only be partially restored so that you can decide if you want us to attempt cleaning.

We also use ultrasonic cleaning to restore your items. This is a very detailed cleaning using ultrasonic wave technology. Every crevice of your item will be cleaned. 

Your items might have an odor. Proper cleaning removes the odor from some materials. Others are treated with ozone or hydroxyls, both of which react with odor molecules to neutralize them. All contents are put through the “sniff test” prior to being packaged for return.

Call SERVPRO of Benton, Jasper, Newton, and Southern Lake Counties for all of your fire restoration needs at 219-779-7577!

Demolition Required after Fire in Cedar Lake

2/13/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Benton, Jasper, Newton and Southern Lake Counties was called out to Cedar Lake, IN, after a fire devastated a home.  The whole house was affected by the fire. The fire damaged the building materials to the point where they had to be torn out and replaced. The ceiling collapsed during the fire and had to be removed. Baseboards and drywall had to be removed due to charting. Carpet and carpet pad had to be removed because of staining from the soot. The tile floor had to be removed to access the wet plywood. The plywood subfloor was not salvageable because it was buckling. Our technicians removed the doors and frames because they warped. The fire caused the bulk of the damage. There was additional damage from the water used to put the fire out. Demolition was necessary to make this home livable again. SERVPRO of Benton, Jasper, Newton and Southern Lake Counties was able to help! Call us at 219-779-7577 for your fire mitigation, water mitigation, mold remediation needs. We also restore contents!

Chimney Fire Damages Home in Lake Village, IN

2/13/2018 (Permalink)

Air Movers Placed in Home in Lake Village, IN

SERVPRO of Benton, Jasper, Newton, and Southern Lake Counties is here to help! A chimney fire broke out in a home in Lake Village, IN. There was a hole in the chimney that an ember went through to catch the insulation on fire.

The building was very wet and needed to be dried. This was difficult due to much of the insulation in the roof being torn out. The roof was tarped to prevent rain from coming in. Due to the season, temperatures were very low in the home. SERVPRO brought in temporary heaters to warm the house up enough for drying. Each temporary heater is capable of producing as much heat as the furnace in your home!

SERVPRO is certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) in Fire and Smoke Restoration, Water Restoration and Applied Structural Drying. The IICRC’s standards guide our technicians through the process of drying your home. Each drying job requires a careful balance of temperature and humidity to dry wet building materials. On fires the crews must also clean the air with negative air filtration devices. You can trust that our certified technicians are capable of evaluating your home and drying it to preloss condition. 

Call SERVPRO of Benton, Jasper, Newton, and Southern Lake Counties for all your fire restoration needs at 219-779-7577!

Heavy Soot Damage From Fire in South Holland, Indiana

2/7/2018 (Permalink)

Heavy soot covers this bathroom even though it is one of the furthest rooms from the source.

When a candle tipped over in the basement of this South Holland home the adjacent contents caught on fire. No one was hurt despite how quickly the flames spread throughout the structure. This before photo shows one of the furthest rooms from the source which has a heavy coating of soot. When a fire burns it releases a smoke with particles from the items that it consumed that settle on anything nearby. A thick black coating is evidence that the fire had little access to oxygen while it was burning. The streaks on the glass in the mirror are from the high humidity introduced when the fire fighters used water to put the flames out. While this fire looks bad, our certified technicians were able to clean and restore the homeowner's most precious contents to make it, "Like it never even happened."

Barbecue Fire Damage in Olympia Fields, Illinois

2/7/2018 (Permalink)

This home caught fire after a barbecue wasn't completely extinguished after use.

Last fall this homeowner in Olympia Fields didn't realize that the flame wasn't completely out after making dinner until his house went up in flames several hours later. The embers smoldered until the wind caught them just right and they landed on the deck, catching it on fire. Fortunately the smoke alarms did their job and alerted the family in time to escape without anyone getting hurt. After the fire department put out the blaze, the customer contacted SERVPRO to mitigate the property. Our crews were onsite within 4 hours of the initial call to set drying equipment to minimize the chance of microbial growth. SERVPRO technicians also packed the salvageable contents so they could be cleaned and insurance could compile a total loss inventory.

24 Hour Emergency Response

3/17/2017 (Permalink)

This fire occurred in the middle of the night. Our crews were ready to respond and stabilize the property.

SERVPRO of Benton, Jasper, Newton and Southern Lake Counties is available 24 hours a day for fire emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with fire damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of a fire damage.

A hole in the chimney caused this home to catch fire while the homeowner was out of town. We received the initial call in the middle of the night on a weekend and were onsite with crews within a few short hours. On this job, we were able to:

  • Secure the property by boarding and tarping
  • Quickly restore power to the home
  • Extract water and dry the structure to prevent further damage
  • Inventory, pack, clean and store salvageable contents
  • Update the insurance company and customer before they could be on site
  • Stabilize the structure and contents to prevent further damage

When the homeowner returned a week after the date of loss, he was shocked by how much we were able to accomplish while he was out of town. He was thankful that we were able to take care of his property so that he did not have to cut his vacation short.

We Answer the Phone Ready to Help
Call Today - 219-779-7577

We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of Benton, Jasper, Newton and Southern Lake Counties has the specific fire damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in fire damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.

What to Expect

When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your fire damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.

Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Your insurance information (if applicable)
  • The street address of the fire-damaged home or business
  • When did the fire occur?
  • What caused the fire damage (if known)?
  • Is there electricity available (on-site)?

About SERVPRO of Benton, Jasper, Newton and Southern Lake Counties

SERVPRO of Benton, Jasper, Newton and Southern Lake specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.


Content Restoration: We Do That, Too!

2/16/2017 (Permalink)

Your home contains many of your most valuable possessions and houses those you love the most. Your business is your livelihood. The team at SERVPRO of Benton, Jasper, Newton & Southern Lake Counties understands just how trying, disruptive and traumatic major losses - such as a fire - can be.

As part of our fire restoration service, we don't just pay attention to the structure; we'll also help take care of the contents of your home or business, as well. Some of our contents services include:

Inventory – One of the first priorities in fire restoration is to complete an accurate inventory to help ensure you can properly account for all your belongings. Your SERVPRO of Benton, Jasper, Newton & Southern Lake Counties technician can provide a detailed room-by-room inventory of contents, including digital photographs and bar codes for each item, suitable for filing insurance claims forms and relieving you of this often stressful and time-consuming process.

Move Outs – When the structure has suffered extensive damage, the cleanup and restoration process may need to be facilitated by relocating the contents for cleaning, deodorization and storage while structural repairs are being completed. A supervised moving crew can carefully pack and move the entire contents of your home or office.

Contents Cleaning – All of the restorable contents in affected areas will be professionally cleaned and deodorized. This includes area rugs, furniture, draperies and upholstery. SERVPRO of Benton, Jasper, Newton & Southern Lake Counties technicians begin by carefully inspecting and testing all fabrics in the structure to determine which cleaning methods are most appropriate; we provide both wet or dry cleaning methods. Additionally, all the other restorable contents will be cleaned and deodorized to as near as preloss condition as possible; this includes electronics, art, wood furniture, kitchen items, clothing, bedding and much more.

When a fire takes control of your life, we help you take control back. Call SERVPRO of Benton, Jasper, Newton & Southern Lake Counties today: (219)779-7577

What To Do In A Fire Emergency

2/15/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage

Fires can spread fast and cause immediate damage, but we at SERVPRO are here to help restore your home.  As with all natural disasters, you and your family should first assess the situation and determine if it is safe to stay in your home. If you decide to stay in your home, SERVPRO of Benton, Jasper, Newton & Southern Lake Counties would like to offer pertinent information to keep you safe while we are on our way to help.

After a fire, make sure to limit movement in your home, as soot particles can get embedded into upholstery and carpets.  We recommend placing clean towels or old linens on any rugs or upholstery. In this regard, keeping your hands clean will prevent further soiling to upholstery, walls and woodwork. As we mention on our website, if you have houseplants wash them on both sides of the leaves.  We also suggest changing the HVAC filter and taping double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.

However, there are several activities you should not to before we arrive. These include attempting to wash any walls or painted surfaces, or shampoo carpet or upholstery.  Avoid cleaning electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water.  You should also avoid using any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water.  If the ceiling is wet, do not turn on ceiling fixtures, as the wiring may be damaged.

Once our SERVPRO professionals arrive, we will handle the rest. We'll be there no matter the disaster- your safety is our main priority.

Preventing Kitchen Fires In Your Southern Lake Counties Home

2/15/2017 (Permalink)

Forty percent of home fires start in the kitchen.

Preventing Kitchen Fires

The kitchen is the busiest room in the house in many homes. It is where food is made and where families congregate to interact with one another and share meals. It is one of the most hazardous areas in the home when it comes to fires. Forty percent of home fires start in the kitchen. A fire can occur from cooking habits or appliances. Smaller appliances like toasters and microwaves cause fires, as well as the larger items. The easiest way to lower the possibility of a fire in your kitchen is to learn how to prevent them. You should also have a fire remediation company’s information on hand, such as SERVPRO, in the case of an emergency.

Prevention of fire and fire damage comes in many forms. No flammable items, for example, should be within three feet of your stove or oven in your Forest Hills home for prolonged periods of time. Keep pot holders, towels, oven mitts, and paper towels away from heat. Loose clothing while you are working at a stove isn't a good idea. Wipe burners and other surfaces on the stove or inside ovens regularly to clean off food particles, oil and other materials that can catch fire when hot. If you do have an accident in your kitchen with one of these items, our technicians at SERVPRO need to be made aware, so we can clean up the damage and restore your kitchen for you.

Utensils which have aluminum or foil, metal, or other objects which are metal-based need to be kept away from your microwave oven. Do not place paper products in your oven unless the instructions on the product say to do so. Exceptions can include pizza trays made for the oven. When using cooking oil, heating it on medium instead of high is much safer. Don't leave food cooking on the stove, either, as this is unsafe and the food can unexpectedly catch on fire. You should especially never walk away from food cooking in oil.

Replace any kitchen appliances that have damaged or frayed cords, since this raises the risk of short circuits and electrical fires. Ensure that children know the rules of kitchen safety and that they are tall enough to stand over the stove and see the whole area clearly before they can cook. They should also only do so under adult supervision.

In the case of accidents, anyone working in the kitchen needs to learn what kind of fire extinguisher that is required to put out kitchen fires. These dry chemical extinguishers are suitable for putting out regular fires like those involving fluids such as oil. Once the fire is safely out, you can count on SERVPRO to remediate the damages for you. Kitchen safety is crucial, as there are several ways in which fires can start. If a kitchen fire happens in your home, contact SERVPRO of Benton, Jasper, Newton & Southern Lake Counties right away. We walk you through the process of remediation and calm your worries when you give us a call at (219) 779-7577.

Benton, Jasper, Newton & Southern Lake Counties Smoke and Soot Cleanup

1/18/2017 (Permalink)

Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Benton, Jasper, Newton & Southern Lake County Home.

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 Benton, Jasper, Newton & Southern Lake Counties 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 – (219) 779-7577