Recent Fire Damage Posts
Soot! What is it?
After a house fire, the danger unfortunately doesn’t stop once the flames have been put out. Soot may have spread to your entire Wesley Chapel home, posing a threat to your health and the building. Learn more about soot, how dangerous it is, and how to restore the damage below.
What is soot?
Soot is made of tiny carbon particles created by incomplete combustion of fossil fuels (wood, oil, coal, and more). Soot contains lots of acids, as well as chemicals, metals, soils, and dust. These particles leave an ugly sight and foul smell.
During a fire, soot spreads to the whole house, attaching to surfaces. Thus, the acidic properties of soot can further damage your home and indoor air quality if the soot is not removed immediately.
Soot can inhabit your home even if there wasn’t a fire. Excessive use of candles can lead to soot buildup, so make sure to use them sparingly (they are also a fire risk). Fireplaces can release soot as well if they’re not ventilated enough. Furnaces are also a source of soot contamination when they produce a puff back.
What are the dangers of soot exposure?
Statistics show that particle exposure leads to around 20,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. Soot-related diseases are the culprit of many of them. Moreover, soot exposure causes 300,000 asthma attacks and two million lost workdays annually due to respiratory problems.
Soot can enter your body through inhalation, ingestion or via the skin and eyes. These toxic particles can cause breathing issues, including asthma, bronchitis, coronary heart disease, and even cancer. Infants, the elderly, and those who already have breathing problems are the most affected.
To avoid the health risks of soot exposure after a home fire, make sure that all soot-affected areas are properly cleaned and sanitized.
If you’ve experienced a fire in your home or business, call SERVPRO of Wesley Chapel!
Let Us Handle Your Fire Damage
DIY fire damage cleanup? Let the professionals handle it.
We understand that after a fire damage occurs in your Tampa home, the number one priority to the homeowner is to get their life back to normal as quickly as possible. One mistake they make is to attempt to cleanup the smoke damage and remove charred debris themselves. While it sounds like a great idea to save money and speed the process up, it can actually cause more harm than good. Certain cleaning agents can increase the amount of loss you have and even render other items unsalvageable.
It’s important that Bay Area homeowners allow a professional remediation company to take the proper precautions to protect areas of the home that may not have been affected. Did you know that soot particles are sometimes smaller than the eyes can see? That’s why the first thing our team does is set up containment to keep soot away from areas it shouldn’t be.
The cleaning process is also different depending on the material that’s been involved in the fire. While sheetrock and wood structural elements tend to leave behind a powdery, light residue called dry smoke, rubber and plastic contents produce wet smoke which is think and difficult to clean from surfaces without the proper procedures.
Luckily for you, SERVPRO of Wesley Chapel has certified technicians who have the knowledge and the equipment to make your fire loss “Like it never even happened.”
Laundry Room Fire's Are More Common Than You Think
This laundry room fire caused extensive damage to this 5000 sq ft Bay Area home.
While cooking remains the leading cause of house fires, laundry room fires account for an average of 15,000 fires each year in the United States according to the National Fire Protection Association. That’s exactly how this local Tampa Bay Area fire began. With it being our largest residential fire to date, our team have used all of our tools and resources to get these clients home back to them and make it “Like it never even happened.”
Between structural damage for this 5,000 square foot home the affected contents inside during the fire, we have been busy! Calling in engineers, electricians, plumbers, and even moving companies to help!
If you’re interested in helping prevent a laundry room fire from happening in your home, we’ve listed a few tips to help below!
- Clean the lint filter after every use. Lint is highly flammable, so allowing it to build up in your dryer’s filter is dangerous. Before you start a load of laundry, always make it a habit to pull out the lint filter and clean it. You also need to check around the vent pipes and ducts to make sure that they stay clear of lint.
- Replace your foil accordion vent pipe with a rigid metal pipe.Many dryers have a foil vent pipe that can collect lint that easily gets stuck in the folds of the vent, becoming a fire hazard. You can prevent lint build-up by replacing the vent pipe with a sturdy metal vent, which will reduce the amount of lint being left behind.
- Clean inside, underneath, and behind the dryer.Lint and other debris can build up in the spaces surrounding your dryer. Heat or a spark from the dryer can ignite the flammable materials, causing a fire. You can reduce the risk of fire by dusting and sweeping around your dryer once a week to keep it lint free.
- Avoid drying items that have been exposed to combustible materials.If you have items soiled with oil, grease, or gasoline, don’t put it in the dryer because the heat could cause the item to catch on fire. Instead, hang those items up to dry!
- Check to make sure that there is space between the dryer and the wall.Your dryer needs clearance from the wall so that air can circulate around it to cool it down. If the back of the dryer is blocked, it can easily overheat. Additionally, your vent pipe needs space so that it doesn’t get bent or compressed to prevent lint build up!
Do you have an escape plan in the event of a house fire?
A shocking fact that 1.32 million homes go up in flames each year here in the United States. A long with that, over 2,500 human lives are lost as well as more than 12,600 people become injured in residential fires each year.
The American Red Cross has come out with many shocking statistics likes these, but more importantly they have released life saving tips that you can implement into your home and lives.
While disaster happen most of the time uncontrollably, fires are one type of disaster that can you can prepare for and can potentially be prevented.
These tips put out from the Red Cross are pretty easy to implement and can have a big impact on you. When a fire ignites, people inside a home sometimes have as little as two minutes to escape and find safety. Research shows that these tips released from the Red Cross do in fact save lives when practiced regularly. Be prepared, stay safe, Practice your plan.
Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
Test smoke alarms every month. If they’re not working, change the batteries.
Talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.
If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL FOR HELP. Never go back inside for anything or anyone
Facing Damage From a Fire: What to Expect
Here at SERVPRO of Wesley Chapel we might handle more water damage projects then fire, but our fire damage projects consume majority of our time. The cleaning process after a fire tends to be rather long and detail oriented to remove all of the soot, ash, and smoke from your home or business, but we are the ones to get it done, and done well. Our crew here at SERVPRO takes the time to make sure the work is done properly and effectively because we truly can make it “Like it never even happened.”
Our team here at SERVPRO of Wesley Chapel might be familiar with the process and the aftermath of what a fire leaves, but those who call our company do not. Majority of the time our customers are people who have never had an experience like this before, and we understand. We understand the emotional and stressful implications a fire leaves on your life and that is why it is our goal to lessen that burden. We are here to walk you through the process of exactly what is happen, when it will happen, and how it will happen. As we do our best to work with empathy, we work alongside with clients making sure everyone is on the same page throughout the whole process. Not every project is like the next but here are the basic steps of a cleanup job when facing damage from fire, smoke, or soot and what will happen from the moment you call us here at SERVPRO of Wesley Chapel:
Step 1: Emergency Contact: As soon as we take your call, we begin a plan for 24/7 emergency response.
Step 2: Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment: Once onsite, we assess damage and needs to stabilize the structure and mitigate further or secondary damage.
Step 3: Immediate Board-Up and Roof Tarp Service (if needed):
Step 4: Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present)
Step 5: Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces
Step 6: Cleaning and Repair
Step 7: Restoration
The team at SERVPRO of Wesley Chapel is here 24/7 to help with your restoration needs.
A local house fire in New Port Richey caused by an electrical malfunction inside the home.
It was an early, average Tuesday morning. Rolling out of bed, sleep still hanging over me, I make my way downstairs to make my coffee. As my pot is brewing, I gather my things in the home office ready to get a jump start on my work for the day. Finally, with coffee in my hand, I walk across the room to crack a window for some fresh air.
Ready to be greeted with the sound of birds, a nice breeze, maybe even the smell of my freshly bloomed flowers sitting right outside the screen of my window.
Instead, the instant smell of smoke fills my nose and a pit forms in my stomach. Being abruptly awakened by the realization that this thick, very pungent smoke seems to be coming from a fire very, very close. Nearly spilling coffee all over me, I hustle out the front door, through my Port Richey neighborhood to find exactly what I wished wouldn’t be happening. A house a street over was in massive flames.
When your family’s business is to clean up from disasters like this, fire becomes a regular occurrence for you. My family has been incredibly lucky enough to not have this type of event affect us directly, but we have shed tears countless times with families who have faced destruction due to fire. However, even more times have we cried alongside families as they see the work our company has done for them.
Unfortunately, that Tuesday no human lives were lost but that does not mean there was no pain in that day. All possessions, memories, and two dogs were lost in that fire, and there are no words that can be said to lessen the pain of a loss like that.
Before that morning I had been around homes damaged because of a fire, the difference is that I have looked at physical damage after the fire, counted what was lost, and how to restore a family’s home. What changed that day is my perspective. After experiencing that first-hand moment of what leads up to a client calling SERVPRO of Wesley Chapel, my eyes have been forever opened to the emotional stressors a fire can cause. Stressors that last years, or even a lifetime.
Ours neighbor’s home being lost in that fire was unpreventable as it was caused by an electrical malfunction. Situations like that one can happened at any time and while we may not be able to plan, we can prepare. As much as I wish I didn’t wake up and smell smoke that day, and of course my neighbors feel the same, it was definitely an eye-opening experience that I will never forget. I have gained a better understanding of how to give our clients service, service with empathy and compassion.
Smoke Alarms: Life Savers
When smoke alarms are properly installed and maintained, they save lives. According to the National Fire Protection Association (https://www.nfpa.org/), residential smoke alarms should be in every bedroom and on every level, including the basement. In office and commercial environments, check your state requirements or contact your local fire marshal to help ensure all codes are met. Test smoke alarms monthly using the test button. Smoke alarms with non-replaceable batteries need the entire smoke alarm unit replaced every ten years. Other alarms need batteries replaced every year, and the unit replaced every ten years. If the alarm chirps signaling low battery, take the proper steps to replace the unit or the batteries immediately. Never disable or remove the battery from an alarm. Almost half of fires where smoke alarms were present but did not activate had missing or disconnected batteries. In larger commercial facilities, hard wired or wireless smoke alarms offer benefits such as not needing to be tested as often and activating throughout the entire building if smoke is detected in just one area. If you need help installing, testing or changing batteries in your smoke alarms, contact your local fire department, an electrician or the American Red Cross (https://www.redcross.org/). Be sure your home or workplace has a fire emergency plan in place and conduct regular fire drills. For more information on emergency preparedness, contact SERVPRO of Wesley Chapel at (813) 929-9898.
Fire Drills: Not just for school days
We all remember fire drill days at school, the loud and piercing alarm vibrating through the halls, students lining up single file, determined to get to their meeting spot. We won’t even outgrow fire drills once we’ve made the step into the real world and start working – fire drills follow you wherever you go and that should include your home.
It’s the middle of the night. You’re sound asleep when suddenly the smoke alarms in your house go off. It’s dark. The house is filling with smoke. Fire experts say you have about two minutes to get out safely. Would you and your family know what you should do?
Coming up with and practicing family safety drills can help to make sure your family is prepared in the event of an emergency. It is an important topic to discuss with your family, especially children.
The National Fire Protection Association has a helpful section on how to create a family fire escape plan. It includes how to draw a fire escape path for your home, how to reinforce fire safety to younger children, and tips how to stay as safe as possible during a fire.
Some tips include:
- Practice waking up to smoke alarms, low crawling and meeting outside. Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.
- Have a designated outside meeting place a safe distance from the home
- Assign “partners” for young, elderly, or family members with mobility issues
- Close Doors behind you as you leave each room to slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire
- All members of the household should know two ways to get out of every room.
- Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas or homes on the second floor or above. Learn how to use them and store them near the window.
- Pick a place outside for everyone to meet and make sure everyone knows where it is.
- Practice your home fire drill until everyone in the household can do it in less than two minutes.
- Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.
Your family’s safety is the first priority. After emergency services have done their job SERVPRO of Wesley Chapel will be here to help you repair, restore, and recover your belongings.
There's nothing like outdoor grilling. It's one of the most popular ways to cook food. But, a grill placed too close to anything that can burn is a fire hazard. They can be very hot, causing burn injuries. Follow these simple tips and you will be on the way to safe grilling.
- Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors
- The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
- Never leave your grill unattended.
- Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
- There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
- If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
- Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
- There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
- When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.
- Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using your propane grill. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If your grill as a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off both the gas tank and the grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
Big booms that light up the sky with an array of colors make every Fourth of July magical. Tracing out your name with sparklers will never age as time passes on. Wonderful memories are made whether you're grilling out, boating by the sandbar, or laying by the beach in Lutz with a cold beverage in your hand. However, fireworks are not safe in the hands of consumers. Fireworks cause thousands of burns and eye injuries each year. People can enjoy fireworks safely if they follow a few simple safety tips:
- Be safe. If you want to see fireworks, go to a public show put on by experts.
- Do not use consumer fireworks.
- Keep a close eye on children at events where fireworks are used.
- Fireworks cause an average of almost 18,500 reported fires per year.
- Sparklers account for roughly one-quarter of emergency room fireworks injuries.
- NFPA is opposed to consumer use of fireworks. This includes sparklers and firecrackers. Even sparklers burn hot enough to cause third-degree burns.
The Importance of Cleaning Dryer Vents
From potentially dangerous to practically brand new, call SERVPRO of Wesley Chapel for your duct cleaning needs.
According to FEMA, failure to clean home dyers causes 34% of home dryer fires. Home dryer fires cause $35 million in property loss and can even cause injury or death.
To reduce the risk of these fires happening in your or your insured's home or business in Odessa, SERVPRO of Wesley Chapel can help clean dryer vents and ducts that may have lint build up.
Other tips for keeping your dryer vents clean from the National Fire Protection Agency include to clear the lint filter before and after each load and making sure the outdoor vent flap will open and is not restricted by snow, a bird's nest, or other potential obstacles.
For more information on cleaning dryer vents in Odessa - or anywhere else local from Land o" Lakes to Dade City, contact SERVPRO of Wesley Chapel Professionals at (813) 929-9898.
Fire Damage Restoration
Fire damage in a Brooksville kitchen.
Dace City Fire Damage Restoration
A fire can be devastating to any Dade City home, causing severe fire damage, affecting its look and value. The restoration process is complex and requires the services of fire remediation experts like SERVPRO of Wesley Chapel.
The Fire Restoration Process
There are several techniques used to restore a home after a fire. The main goals are to remove anything that cannot be salvaged, extract all excess water, thoroughly dry everything and rebuild all damaged areas.
Water and Mold Issues
One of the effects of fire damage is the water left over after the fire is out. Furniture, drywall, floors, and carpets are soaked and provide a prime breeding ground for mold and mildew. SERVPRO utilizes large fans and powerful dehumidifiers to dry out your home in preparation for cleaning and rebuilding.
The Cooling and Heating System
The filter and coils of an HVAC system of a home are often blocked by soot and particulates from a fire. The parts must be replaced, and the cost depends on the amount of damage caused by smoke and heat. The ductwork must also be checked for soot buildup as it will cause problems if not removed.
Rebuilding the Home
A home that is left structurally unsound by fire damage will need to be reinforced and rebuilt. While this can done through independent contractors, the SERVPRO of Wesley Chapel remediation service team can take care of the rebuilding process, reducing stress and worry for the homeowner.
Removal of Damaged Items
Part of the fire restoration process is the removal of anything that cannot be saved. If smoke-damaged items are allowed to remain, they may contaminate the home. SERVPRO may be able to help with salvageable items or can make recommendations for their repair.
A fire is a sudden, disruptive life event and working with a professional fire remediation service like SERVPRO is the fastest way to clean and restore a home. Our experts will get things back to normal with minimal stress to the homeowner and will often cost less than hiring additional contractors. Most home insurance policies will pay for at least part of the remediation costs.
Locally Owned Company with National Resources
As a locally owned and operated business, we work and live in Brooksville too. We are close by and ready to respond immediately when you need cleaning or restoration services.
We're Fire and Water Damage Specialists. Call us to help you (813) 929-9898.
Celebrate Summer Safety!
It’s quintessential Florida summertime: roasting marshmallows over an open campfire with a cold beverage in your hand, grilling burgers and dogs by the pool, relaxing with friends and family. Summer is a time to enjoy Wesley Chapel’s 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 you and your family safe all summer long.
- When using a charcoal grill, only use starter fluids designed for barbecue grills; do not add fluid after coals have been lit.
- When using a gas grill, ensure the hose connection is tight; check 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 campfire.
- Always build a campfire downwind from the tent area. Clear vegetation and dig a pit before building your fire. Extinguish the fire before going to sleep or leaving the campsite.
- Store liquid fire starter (not gasoline) away from your tent and campfire and only use dry kindling to freshen a campfire.
The team at SERVPRO of East Pasco wishes you and safe and happy summer!
On-The-Job Training: 5 Things from my First Fire Damage
PPE is everything. Mastering the ability to rock a hard hat and a N-95 face mask.
It all started with what seemed like an innocent text: "interested in working on Saturday?"
Without a second thought, I typed back: “Absolutely!” with a smiley face emoji. Next thing I know, I'm shopping for a hard hat. (Side note: Did you know how impossible it is to find a pink hard hat in stock in New Port Richey? I figured they were a hot ticket item.)
And just like that, I was thrown into the fire. Literally.
SERVPRO of West Pasco had been onsite for a week at a Port Richey storage facility where a fire had damaged the building as well as the contents of dozens of storage units. Our team was onsite to safely remove all contents from the building and assist facility customers as they moved out and sorted through their belongings. Some customers lost everything in the fire, while some others just had a light dusting of soot. The team carefully removed all salvageable contents from each unit and carried it out to customers, then cleaned the building to prep it for reconstruction.
And then there was me. I'm more of a behind-the-scenes type of girl, logging in my 40 hours a week in Accounts Receivable behind a computer and on the phone. Although I’d never before been to an active job site, I knew my customer service and organizational skills would translate to managing a team and working closely with people who were facing devastating losses. But, wow – I learned a lot! Here are five take-aways from my two days managing a contents-cleanout project.
1. Fire damage really smells! Each fire has its own personality, based on the contents that were burned. In this fire, Here, like plastic bins, TVs and even afghan blankets melted, leading to an odor so pungent we wore N-95 masks anytime we were inside the building or in close contact with affected contents. And after a few days, my nail polish started peeling back.
2. Even construction companies need forget to weigh down their tents. Since the customers would be going through materials for long periods of time in the hot Florida sun, we set up two tents to work beneath. With one strong gust of wind, my favorite lime green tent ended up on the storage facility roof. You can bet I won't be letting the guys live this down for years to come.
3. PPE is everything! Mastering the ability to wear hard hat, a N-95 face mask and safety goggles without causing a thick shield of fog that only allows you to see about an inch in front of your face is much harder than it seems. I'm pretty sure the atrocious bruise on my knee was from walking into a wall during one of my many run-ins with the fog of doom.
4. Black business flats are practical when working in the office, but not so much when out in the field. Never did I think that work boots would be on my shoe-shopping list.
5. Helping one customer through such a devastating loss is feat in itself; helping 44 storage unit renters who face fire damage is more than just one fire x 44. At SERVPRO of West Pasco, we learn that safety is our first priority and premiere customer service a close second. Giving your everything to 44 different customers simultaneously as they each work through the emotions and logistics of fire damage is heart wrenching and, at the same time, life giving.
The fire is cleaned up now, but I'm still shopping for my pink hard hat. Getting out of the office to work side-by-side with our production team and our clients gave me insight and knowledge to help me do my office job better, and understand the nuances of our daily business. I'm glad I was able to get my hands dirty (literally) and experience the magic that comes with the production side of SERVPRO.
East Pasco Smoke and Soot Cleanup
Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Wesley Chapel 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 East Pasco 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 – (813) 929-9898