Recent Fire Damage Posts

What You Should And Shouldn't Do After An Austin Home Fire

1/31/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage What You Should And Shouldn't Do After An Austin Home Fire Fire damage can be devastating. Here are suggestions on what you should and shouldn't do if your Austin home has a fire.

A fire can have a devastating affect on your home and your life. While the severity of a fire can range greatly, even the smallest home fire can cause problems, such as toxic fumes, an abundance of soot, in addition to the damage. Once the fire department is called, they’ll most likely use hoses and foam to put out the fire. While this puts out the fire, the excess water can lead to water damage Austin, if it's not cleaned up right away.

Once the fire is out, you should refrain from cleaning up the mess, especially if you're not sure on how to tackle the damage. Your safety can be at risk. Excess water from putting out the fire if not removed right away and properly can lead to extensive water damage Austin, and a build up of mold. If mold starts to appear, then you need to reach out to a mold remediation Austin professional.

Cleaning items such as rugs and furniture on your own may cause you to spread soot around, which will make your property even dirtier. You may also be putting your health at risk, if you don't have the proper cleaning equipment.

So, in a case where you have Texas fire damage, you need to reach out to a fire and water damage specialist who can help analyze the situation and work with you to help save your home.

What To Do After A Fire:

Avoid Soot
If you have to enter your home after a fire, do everything in your power to avoid tracking soot everywhere. If you have old and tattered towels and sheets, use them on the floor so you don’t keep moving soot everywhere. If you find that you have to move items, wear protective clothing and rubber gloves.

Unplug Your Appliances and Check Your Plumbing
If you lose your power, you should remove all of the food from your refrigerator and keep the doors open. Left over food will start to rot and then you'll have unpleasant odors to deal with. You may also have to deal with mold as well, which is extremely nasty. If this is the case, you should consider having a mold inspection Austin,to ensure that it doesn’t spread.

Check your other appliances to make sure that they weren't damaged. If they don't look right, then don’t use them.You should also examine your plumbing fixtures; if they’re covered with soot, then wipe them off as best as possible.

Keep Your HVAC System Clean
Soot can get into your HVAC system, if you don't cover it right after the fire. Find durable fabrics to cover the unit, so that you can help keep out any soot particles. If you need to use your HVAC, have it checked by a professional before you do.

What Not To Do After A Fire:

Don't Clean Your Walls
You may think that basic household cleaner and paper towels will clean up all the soot on your walls; it's quite the opposite. Soot is filthy and extremely messy. While you may think that cleaning is the answer, you'll find yourself spreading soot all over the place. Your walls will become even dirtier than before and you may have to repaint them, or even replace them.

Don't Clean Your Rugs
The same advice applies to rugs and carpets. If they're immersed with soot, then using a household cleaner will just spread it around. Your rugs may also be soaked with water, so don't try to vacuum this or draw out the water on your own; reach out to a professional for water removal Austin. A light colored rug, for example, will suddenly turn dark, and the soot will be impossible to remove. The same goes for any type of upholstery or fabric. Leave it be until the professionals arrive, as they have the equipment to clean these items properly.

Don't Clean Your Appliances and Electronics
In the aftermath of a fire, your electronics and appliances may be damaged, but you might not even be aware of it. Heat and water can damage such items beyond repair; so if they're unplugged, make sure, with the assistance of a professional, that they are functional before you plug them in. Take every precaution to avoid the likelihood or starting another fire.

Don't Use Any Electronic Devices
You should make sure that your electricity is good to go before you even consider plugging in any electronic devices, as this could be a safety issue. Excessive fire and water damage Austin can cause some electric items such as ceiling fans and lights to short out, causing more problems. Have a fire damage professional or an electrician inspect your circuits before using any appliances or electronics.

Don't Eat Any Contaminated Food
If your pantry and refrigerator have been affected by fire damage, you should immediately discard any opened items, as they could be contaminated. If anything is covered with soot, or has had contact with excessive heat, then it should go. Some foods such as canned goods may be salvageable, but don't risk this…consult with a fire damage professional about what can and cannot be saved in the aftermath of a fire.

Don't Have a Dry Cleaner Restore Your Clothes
You'll find that some dry cleaners have experience in cleaning clothes that have been affected by fire and water damage, while others do not. Soot can be problematic, especially if you deal with a cleaner who isn’t properly equipped for this task. Make sure you find a cleaner who has the knowledge to handle extremely dirty and damaged clothing, especially after fire and water damage.

Why You Should Choose SERVPRO After Fire Damage Austin

If your Austin home has experienced fire damage, you need to repair and restore as much of your property as fast as possible.

Fires can be traumatic, and the aftermath, including smoke damage, water damage, and the onset of mold, can be extremely distressing. SERVPRO of East Central Austin will diligently investigate, remediate and restore your Austin home in the aftermath of a fire. We'll examine the extent of your fire damage repairs and provide the proper equipment and expertise to ensure a smooth restoration process.

Our team of trained and certified professionals have the experience and knowledge to tackle all of your fire damage repairs. If you're in need of help, call our local Austin SERVPRO office today: 512-420-9886.

How to Keep Your Home Safe During the Holidays

12/2/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage How to Keep Your Home Safe During the Holidays An unattended stove can cause fire damage, not just during the holidays, but at any time.

The holidays are upon us and you’re all set to decorate your Austin home. While it’s easy to get caught up in decorating, cooking, baking and visiting with family and friends, it’s also easy to overlook things that can be dangerous if not checked, such as potential fire hazards and fire damage and even water damage Austin.

You don’t want any type of Texas fire damage to affect your home during this time of year. So, here are a few precautions that can help you have a safe holiday.

Preventing Kitchen Fires

If you’re planning on doing a lot of cooking for the holidays, you should always be focused on what’s on your stove. Never leave any pots or pans that are being used unattended. Keep any potentially flammable items away from the stove while you’re cooking, including paper products such as napkins and plates, wooden spoons, and fabric items such as dishtowels and potholders.

You should also stay alert while you’re cooking. A lack of sleep or too much eggnog can impair your ability to focus on your holiday dinner. Most holiday related fires are actually cooking related, especially during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Preventing Fire Hazards While Decorating Your Austin Home

While it’s typically warm in Austin, it can get cold during the holidays. If this is the case, you should make sure that any holiday decorations are nowhere near a heat source. This includes gas and wood fireplaces, space heaters, radiators, and other appliances that can produce heat. Most decorations catch fire when they’re placed near a heat source, so use extreme caution.

Candles are a major cause of fires during the holidays. If you need to use candles as part of your decorations, then use flameless, battery operated ones instead of traditional candles. These offer the same decorative effect without the risk of fire. If you do use regular candles, make sure that they’re placed in secure holders, and keep them far from flammable items such as curtains or fabrics. Always make sure that you’re there when they’re being used - never leave them unattended.

Fire Hazards with Holiday Lights and Christmas Trees

Christmas trees have the potential to be extremely dangerous if not properly monitored. If you do get a cut Christmas tree, make sure it’s firmly mounted in a durable stand and placed far from any heat source, where it can dry out and potentially catch fire. Check your tree’s water levels daily and make sure that it has plenty of water. A dry Christmas tree can go up quickly, so make sure that there’s plenty of hydration.

If you already have holiday lights, plug them in to check that they’re in good condition and that they don’t heat up. Any faulty lights that don’t work, heat up, or have frayed cords should be discarded and replaced with new ones. You do not want to put damaged lights on your Christmas tree, as this can cause a fire. You should never leave your holiday and tree lights plugged in when you aren’t home or if you’re sleeping - always unplug them. As for your tree decorations, make sure that you use non-combustible and flame-resistant items to prevent fire damage.

If you have young children, safeguard your house and your decorations at least six inches out of their reach so that they can’t get to them.

It’s very important not to overload extension cords or power strips. Check the wattage of your extension cords and surge protectors before you start plugging several strips of lights into them. Any lights or extension cords that you plan on using should be UL listed.

If you do a fair share of outdoor decorating, use lights that are only designated for outdoor use, and if you do hang lights outdoors, use a wooden ladder to drastically reduce the likelihood of electric shock. You should also have someone assist you while you’re hanging lights outside, in the event that you should slip and fall - never do this alone.

Of course, the holidays are meant to be a fun time to get together with friends and family, but they should also be safe. Accidents and unexpected fires happen at an alarming rate every year during this time, so please take these precautions to ensure that you have a safe holiday.

SERVPRO Can Help With Your Holiday Safety Questions

SERVPRO of East Central Austin is locally-owned and specializes in water extraction Austin, water restoration Austin, mold inspections and mold remediation, fire damage, residential and commercial cleaning services, and more.

Give us a call if you find yourself in need of any ideas or suggestions on how to keep your home safe during the holidays.

Be safe and Happy Holidays!

Tips for Preventing Fire Damage in Your Austin Home or Business

6/16/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Tips for Preventing Fire Damage in Your Austin Home or Business Fire damage, leading to additional water damage, smoke damage and more. Tips on how to prevent fire from occurring in your Austin property.

Keeping Your Austin Property Safe from a Fire

Austin residents and business owners often don't realize the many steps they can take to prevent their home or business from becoming the victim of a fire. Here's are some helpful tips, explaining how to better protect your home or business from possible fire hazards.

If you've already experienced a fire, and aren't sure what to expect in terms of fire damage repairs and cleanup, be sure to check out our article, How to Handle Fire Damage in Your Austin Home or Business.

1. Fireplaces and Chimneys: If you have a fireplace or wood burning stove in Austin, it’s highly recommended that your chimney be cleaned regularly by a professional at least once a year. Creosote buildup from excessive use can start a hazardous chimney fire, and you can suffer a good amount of damage before you realize a chimney fire has begun.

Have your chimney cleaned by a professional at least once a year. Don't rely on creosote-reducing logs to clean your chimney for you. These logs are seen as a quick fix, but they will not be able to remove all of the creosote, nor should they in any manner be a replacement for a professional chimney sweep and maintenance.

Ongoing basic maintenance of your fireplace or stove, will greatly improve its performance and will help prevent chimney fires and other types of fire damage repairs from being needed in the future.

When using a wood burning stove or fireplace, you'll also want to make sure you never dump your ashes in the trash, as the ashes can smolder for long periods of time. When disposing of ashes, be sure to take them outside directly and dispose of them in a safe manner.

2. Dryers and Lint: Many people don't realize that lint can be a strong fire hazard. It's important to remove lint from your dyer every time you use it. Lint is combustible, and when heat builds up in the dryer vents, a spark can occur if the flow of air is restricted.

The lint can catch fire. In addition to removing the lint out of your filter, be sure to also check your dryer duct tubes for any lint buildup.

3. Fire Hazards that Stem from Outside the Home: Austin is known to experience grass fires and wildfires every once in a while. If you have a firewood pile near your home, you should move it and any other potential burnable items, such as twigs and leaves.

If wood and leaves are dry and next to your property, they can go up in flames fairly quickly, causing major fire damage. In the kitchen, flammable items, such as dishrags, paper bags and other flammables should be kept away from your stove and oven. And it goes without saying, if you’re a smoker, try not to smoke inside, and be careful when you do smoke.

4. Surge Protectors, a Worthy Investment: Not every property has abundant electrical outlets to run our gadgets, computers, and stereos. If this is the case, then a surge protector can be very beneficial in the long run.

Surge protectors are designed to replace outdated multi outlet power strips in the event of a power spike or a shut off during an electric storm or power outage. If you have an old style power strip with so many cords sticking out of it that it looks like an octopus, then you know it’s time to upgrade. 

Surge protectors are worthy investments, because most power strips are often cheaply made and can overload your circuits, leading to fires and fire damage.

5. Upgrade with New Extension Cords: We all have extension cords in cabinets, drawers or in the garage. However, some of them may be quite old and not as functional as they once were. It's important to use extension cords that are durable and high quality.

If you have extension cords that are more than a few years old, you should replace them with new ones of durable quality. Frayed and mangled cords are unreliable; they can spark, go up in smoke and can lead to fire damage.

6. Smoke Outside: We know that smoking isn't good for us, and we're not here to sell you on quitting smoking. But if you are a smoker, do your best to smoke outside.

And keep yourself a slight distance from your property. Smoldering cigars and cigarettes can fall and start a fire regardless if you’re inside or outside.

Make sure you don't smoke while in bed. Many fires are started by individuals who fall asleep while smoking…do as much as you can to prevent this from happening.

7. Lightning: While lightning is natural occurrence, and something that we can't control, you can take certain preventative measures to keep your Austin home or business from being hit by lightning. This guide by the National Lightning Safety Institute offers some helpful ideas on how to lightning-proof your property.

8. Check Your Electrical Wiring: Like anything else, time takes its toll on electrical wiring within your home or business. It's important to have your electrical wiring checked regularly by an electrician to avoid electrical fires from occurring in your Austin property.

How Our Local SERVPRO Office Can Help in the Event of Fire Damage

If your Austin-based home or business has suffered from fire damage, it’s important to quickly repair and restore as much of your property as possible.

A fire can be devastating, and the additional damage from a fire can include smoke damage, water damage, mold and more. SERVPRO of East Central Austin will take every effort to remediate and restore your property after a fire. We’re here to help you evaluate the overall scope of your fire damage repairs and provide the proper equipment and expertise to ensure a smooth restoration process.

We’re a locally owned Austin company, and we care about the community that we serve. We recognize how overwhelmed you're likely to be after experiencing a fire. We have the resources to help guide you through this time, and our employees are trained and certified professionals, who have the experience and know-how to handle your fire damage repairs. If you’re in need of fire damage restoration, call our local Austin SERVPRO office today: 512-420-9886.

How to Handle Fire Damage in Your Austin Home or Business

6/9/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage How to Handle Fire Damage in Your Austin Home or Business Fire engulfing a home, leading to extensive fire damage & smoke damage.

Having your property be victim to a fire is probably one of the scariest things a person can experience. Although there are different types of fires, any fire can wreak havoc on your Austin based home or business, leaving you with extensive fire damage repairs. A small fire may not be as severe; you may be able to make some of these repairs on your own. But if the fire damage is extreme, you’ll need to reach out to a professional fire damage restoration company.

Here are some tips that will help you understand the different types of fire damage, how they can affect your property, and how you can take certain actions to prevent fires before they begin.

What Should You Do if a Fire Occurs in Your Austin based Home or Business?

A fire occurs and you manage to get everyone out of the house/building… Once the fire is out, the first thing you’ll want to do is review all of the fire damage. It may be extreme or it may be minimal, but you’ll need to act quickly in determining the extent of the damage, and deciphering if professional fire damage restoration will be needed to fix your Austin property.

Minor damage may be easy to fix on your own, extreme damage will most likely be beyond your ability to repair it. There’s a possibility you’ll need to replace your furniture if it’s been severely damaged, as well as your cabinets, doors, walls and even floorboards.

Even your roof can be subject to fire damage, requiring repair. Should your roof suffer damage, you’ll have to protect the rest of your home or business from not just foreign objects, like falling branches, but also high winds and rainstorms, which happen quite often in Austin. Theft and looting is also a problem, so while assessing the damage to your property, you also need to secure it as best as possible…you shouldn’t have to be vandalized while trying to perform fire damage repairs.

Smoke Damage: An Inevitable Symptom of a Fire

While a fire has the tendency to lead to destruction, depending on its severity, smoke is one lingering effect that in some cases can be even worse, because it’s so difficult to clean. Should you have a small fire with limited fire damage repairs, smoke residue may be one of the most problematic elements. If the smoke residue isn't tackled quickly, you may find yourself dealing with persistent foul odors in your Austin property, as well as stained furniture, carpets walls and floors.

Believe it or not, there are several different types of smoke damage. Some are easy to remedy, while others need professional attention.

  • Dry Smoke occurs when a fire burns hot and fast. However, it’s often one of the easier types to clean, as the smoke is often quite dry and has a powdery texture.
  • Wet Smoke is often associated with smoldering fires at low temperatures. This has a tendency to leave strong odors and heavy smearing once the fire is put out. The smearing makes it difficult to clean.
  • Protein Residue: Paints and varnishes, like polyurethane can become discolored during a fire, and hard to clean. Elements such as this will most likely requires more intense fire damage repairs.
  • Oil residue results from fires in which petroleum products, such as propane, gasoline and diesel fuel, among others, are involved. The residue is often very sticky, making it time consuming to clean.

Water Damage: The Other Effect of Fire Damage

Water damage can play an integral role in a fire. While you may think that your pipes are safe, some of them are not quite as heat tolerant as others, depending on the material. Metal pipes tend to take the heat well, while plastic pipes usually don’t. If you have a fire, there’s a strong possibility that your pipes may burst from the heat, causing major water leaks and flooding in your Austin home or business.

Depending on the intensity of the fire, water will be needed to actually put it out, therefore causing another layer of damage to your property - water damage. It’s best to remove as much water as you can immediately. If left alone, the affected areas can fall victim to the spread of mold, and they will need to be properly cleaned, dried and remediated.

If you suffer from a large fire, you may find yourself overwhelmed and unable to tackle any repairs on your own. If you need fire damage repairs and/or smoke damage cleanup and water extraction in the Austin and Manor area, and the situation is beyond your control, SERVPRO of East Central Austin can help.

Additional Issues that Can Result from Fire Damage

Electrical wiring, plumbing and appliances can also be subject to fire damage. Even the tiniest amount of smoke can cause problems with your household appliances, since they’re manufactured to take limited amounts of heat. Smoke is also quite corrosive, which can cause appliances to overheat, cause a spark or break down in the process.

If your appliances experience problems, give them a thorough inspection, so they don’t cause problems down the road. In certain situations, you may actually spend less money replacing them than having them repaired.

Another potential problem you could face is if your Austin home or business has tight insulation. Tight insulation has the potential to create a heavy smoke buildup in the vent of a fire. The insulation can exacerbate the increase in temperature, which adds to the internal pressure. If extreme heat persists, the amount of pressure can cause windows and even doors to explode, leading to more repairs.

If you find yourself in a situation that is too much to handle on your own, with extensive fire damage repairs needed, and smoke and water damage cleanup as well, calling a professional fire damage restoration company like SERVPRO of East Central Austin will certainly be your best bet.

Our professionally trained and certified SERVPRO team can lead you through the process, and help make your Austin fire damage "Like it never even happened." And in order to prevent fires in the future and help protect your Austin property from fire damage, be sure to check out Part 2 of this article: Tips for Preventing Fire Damage in Your Austin Home or Business.