Recent Fire Damage Posts

Fire Damage Effects Overview

8/12/2021 (Permalink)

Fires can often be underestimated as they begin small but can grow to have devastating effects in a short span of time. Fire damage usually comes in two forms: flames and smoke. 

Flames will definitely consume everything they touch. They can corrupt the integrity of large structures including the building itself. They also destroy objects by reducing them into ash. Unfortunately, few property owners consider the damaging effect of smoke on the property and the extent it takes to restore the property to its previous condition. 

During a fire disaster, smoke will always find the coolest areas to settle. As such, it will travel through plumbing, vents, and other openings as it goes to higher areas in a housing structure. It will stain and provide a distinct odor to one’s belongings. As such, anything spared from flames is often rendered useless due to smoke. 

Prompt Decision Making 

As is the case with any other emergency, a clear action plan is the best way to address fire damage. Fire damage not only destroys property by turning it into ash but also contaminates it through color and odor. Additionally, fire damage can result in the production of toxic chemicals due to the effect of fire on different materials as they get heated up together. These factors necessitate the need to respond as quickly as possible to help prevent further damage. 

Fire Damage Recovery Essentials 

In the event of a fire disaster, it's crucial to have a disaster recovery plan. The plan must detail the steps taken after the occurrence of a disaster and must include detailed contact information for the main stakeholders who get to visit the concerned commercial or residential property.  The plan should also have details on any critical resources or property that need to be recovered. 

It is also important to turn to your insurance company to help you navigate the immediate financial hurdles that come with restorative action on the property after fire damage. A strong partnership with your insurance firm provides you with the best chance of quick recovery time in the event of fire damage. 

It is highly recommended to turn to experts when it comes to fire damage repairs to assist in other technical aspects of property restoration. Fire-related disasters result in highly complex problems which include physical and chemical damage. Fire residues are acidic, abrasive, and contain carcinogens. Working with professionals who specialize in fire recovery efforts as quickly as possible helps to deal with fire damage in the safest and quickest way possible.

For more in-depth information regarding the effects of fire damage, visit our fire damage category blog page

Hello Summer! Hello... Wildfires?!

7/8/2021 (Permalink)

Welcome to summer Torrance! It is the time for barbecues, pool parties and all things that will finally draw us out of the room we’ve been stuck in through the thicks of quarantine. Take this season to reconnect with friends and loved ones, and in the process, stay safe! As temperatures rise, especially in Southern California, the risk of wildfires increases dramatically. We are well acquainted with the routine each year, waiting to see which valley dusted in brush chooses to ignite itself and spread. The Earth has always behaved this way, but the forces of mother nature are to be reckoned with when met with civilization. That is why SERVPRO is here to provide helpful insight for our customers. Here are some things to consider implementing during peak fire season:

  • Cleaning your HVAC unit to avoid tracking faults that may cause a fire
  • Storing propane and gas tanks correctly, and paying heed to their release valves so high ambient temperatures do not increase fire risk
  • Test your fire alarms
  • Prepare an emergency ready kit and plan

These are just a few of the things you can do as a property owner or a heedful occupant to prepare your space for the season’s wrath. But do not worry! SERVPRO is here “Faster to any disaster!” Read our blogs to learn more about fire damage preparedness and what we can do for you in all types of property damage situations.

Fire Damage and how to Protect you and your Loved ones from it

4/1/2021 (Permalink)

two windows with flames bursting from them Read our blogs on fire damage for more information and useful preparation tips.

Negligence can cause a fire incident in your house, which can not only damage your property but also cause injuries to your family and pets. Usually, it just takes a cigarette or an open gas supply to start a raging fire which can engulf the whole place in flames within minutes.   

However, there are a few steps that can save your loved ones from this deadly hazard, but before we get to that, you need to understand what happens during a fire.

What Happens During a Fire?

  • Fires are very fast, and within a few minutes, they can spread over a large area. They spread quickly by burning items present in the vicinity.
  • It is a common-known fact that fires are hot, but how hot are they? A room engulfed in flames can reach a temperature of above 100 degrees at the floor level. The situation is worse at eye level because temperatures in the area ucan reach around 600 degrees.
  • A fire engulfs the whole place in darkness because of the black smoke. This smoke usually contains toxins and poisonous gases that can cause drowsiness and disorientation. Fire feeds on oxygen and thus, will deprive you of it which will cause you to lose consciousness. This condition is known as Asphyxiation.

How to Protect Your Home from Fire?

  • You should keep all the electrical cords away from the reach of pets because they can chew on them, which can result in short circuits and hence, fires.
  • Replace flamed candles with flameless ones to avoid accidental fires.
  • Always maintain your smoke alarms.
  • Always conduct inspection and maintenance of your heating sources at regular intervals.
  • Keep flammable items away from your stove and oven.
  • Always keep your gas-powered dryer checked and maintained.
  • Many household items are flammable; therefore, always store them in a cool place away from excessive sun exposure.
  • Place fire extinguishers at places where you can access them immediately in case of a fire hazard.
  • Your fireplace can also start a deadly fire, so install a fire screen in front of it.

If you follow these few simple instructions, then it will be easy for you to protect your family, pets and home from a fire incident.

What to do when you smell smoke from a fire

2/22/2021 (Permalink)

House fire with firemen strategizing in foreground How to prevent a fire like this

You’re lying down, scrolling your bedtime Facebook feed like usual when your nose detects the distinct charred smoke effervescing from the seams of your bedroom door. What do you do? What do your instincts tell you? In dire moments in between life and death, panic and fear set in, impairing your judgment to make the right call on the spot.

We’ve all probably been briefed in safety training at some point of our lives and told not to panic in case of emergencies. Once something in your house catches fire, it can grow into a blazing white hot mess consuming everything inside in no time. And, if you’re a hoarder or collector who accumulates newspapers, boxes and other flammable materials, those possessions can add fuel to the fire.

Smokey Bear shouldn’t be the only one prepared for such circumstance. One must always be prepared in case of an emergency and you need pre set instructions to kick in during these pivotal moments. Let’s go through a couple of important things you should do in case of a fire.

  • Know your way out: Smoke from the fire can fill up rooms almost instantaneously. Thereby, decreasing your vision clarity every passing second. If you need to feel your way through to the exit, it might be too late. You must be well aware of all the emergency exits, windows and main exits in order to safely evacuate the building with all your family members. Since, the thick black smoke will be filling up the place, it might block some of the exits. You must be familiar with all the possible escape routes to go for an alternate exit if one is blocked from collapsing debris or black smoke.
  • Call 911 immediately and sound the alarm: You might be one of the first people in the vicinity to know of the fire. You can save many other unsuspecting victims by sounding the fire alarm on your way out. This will allow others to start evacuating simultaneously, preventing further damage. The first thing you should do once you establish your safety is to call 911 for disaster control.

Now, here’s what you should NOT do in case of a fire emergency and pay attention:

  • Using the elevator: If you’re a resident of a building, you must use the fire exit or regular stairs because when the fire alarms are rung, most elevators are automatically sent to the lobby level and restricted for the Fire Department’s use only.
  • Opening doors better left closed: Oftentimes when a fire starts in one part of the room isolated by a closed door, it’s not recognized until the fire eats through the door or smoke seeps in. If you see smoke coming out from beneath the door, through the hinges or seams, then touch the door or the door knob to feel if it’s hot. If it is, do NOT open the door, keep it confined within the room.

For yours’s and everyone’s safety, please call 911 immediately to get the fire extinguished. Damage control can be done after. Remain calm, exit the building, then call for help.

(SERVPRO of Torrance specialized in fire and smoke remediation)

A COVID-19 Update from SERVPRO

2/3/2021 (Permalink)

The virus is still ravaging through the world’s communities, and it is up to us to keep each other lifted up and safe. That is why we are providing you with an update on the situation for our community of Torrance.

As of February 2nd, there have been 3.3 million cases in LA County. According to the New York times, The highest report for the county was on December 26th, with a spike of 64k new cases reported that day. The trend has been decreasing ever since, but other minor spikes occurred the first week of January, assumingly linked to the holiday season before. On January 25th, Governor Gavin Newsom lifted California’s stay-at-home order, permitting businesses to resume outdoor dining services.

Things have appeared to settle down, but what’s in store is still up in the air. The first doses of the vaccine arrived in California mid December. They have been slowly rolling them out to essential workers and high risk groups. As of February 2nd, over 3 and a half million vaccines have been administered in California according to the LA times. The first phase of vaccine distribution,1A, consisting of healthcare workers and long-term care residents has been administered. Phase 1B is underway, offering the vaccine to senior citizens and essential workers. The next phase is 1C, determined by age-based groups. Limited information regarding phase 1C was released on January 25th by Gov. Gavin Newsom. 

Here at SERVPRO, we encourage you to maintain grit during the next phases of this pandemic. Our services will continue during this time because we realize they are needed now more than ever. Our technicians are equipped with CDC certified PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) and high grade disinfecting chemicals. We understand that you may not need our services right now, but keep us in mind. And in the meantime, stay healthy and refer to CDC guidelines to keep yourself and others safe until our country is once again in full swing. May 2021 be better!

SERVPRO Is Wishing you a Happy New Year!

2/2/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Is Wishing you a Happy New Year!

The struggles of 2020 did not spare one person on Earth. It was a rough year, and those of us that are lucky enough to have made it to this point are thankful. The technicians, managers, and workers here at SERVPRO sure are, and we extend our thanks to you, our customers, for continuing to support us during such a tumultuous time. When the end of this pandemic will arrive is still highly uncertain. Hang in there folks!

We hope at SERVPRO to do everything we can to keep our community clean and safe. We continue to provide COVID cleaning/clean up services for both commercial and residential properties. Just give us a call at (310) 320-2112 to request a quote. We understand the strain of the present, so we guarantee a fair price for the services provided. Our technicians use CDC approved cleaning chemicals to disinfect your space and wear appropriate PPE to protect everyone on site. Although we do not have the power to make the virus “Like it never even happened,” we do have the power to help you gain some sense of control over the state of your space. Stay well, and maintain hope for 2021!

There are Different Types of Fire Extinguishers? Apparently Yes!

8/12/2020 (Permalink)

Different types of fire extinguishers infographic know your extinguishers!

You’d think that fire would only come in one flavor, but apparently that’s not the case. There are different classes of fires which describe what is being burned and how to extinguish it. With different types of fire, it’s important to be able to know how to prevent them, which types of fire are which and what you need to do to extinguish them safely. Here are the different types of fires and what extinguishers to use with each:

Class A

Class A fires consist of wood, paper, cloth, rubber and plastics. Water, foam, dry chemical, clean agent, and water mist fire extinguishers are the way to go for these fires. Each extinguisher has a different property to it that extinguishes the fire.

Class B

Class B fires are flammable liquids like gas, petroleum grease, tar, oil, alcohol, butane and many more. Extinguishers for these fires are carbon dioxide, dry chemical, and clean agent.

Class C

Class C fires entail electrical equipment that has set on fire like motors, computers, appliances, and transformers. These fires can be extinguished by carbon dioxide, dry chemical, clean agent, and water mist extinguishers.

Class D

Class D is a more rare form of fire that is caused by combustible metals like titanium, magnesium, or potassium. These fires can only be extinguished by dry powder extinguishers.

Class K

Class K fires are very common as they are caused by cooking oiled and greases like vegetable and animal fats. These fires can be extinguished with wet chemical extinguishers. Do not try to extinguish a grease fire with water because it will not work.

Summer has come! Here's what to look out for to prevent fire damage

7/8/2020 (Permalink)

Here in Southern California, our summers are hot! With temperatures reaching over 100 degrees, this is the catalyst for many brush fires that sweep the state every summer. These fires have the unfortunate potential of reaching resident areas, which is why being prepared for a fire should be in the mind of one who lives in high risk areas. 

To prepare for these situations, consider making an emergency home kit. This blog goes into detail of the types of materials you want to add in the kit to ensure you’re as prepared as possible if that tumultuous time ever comes. Even if you aren't in a high fire risk area, it is still wise to equip your home with an emergency kit because the events of the future can never be predicted. 

In addition to brush fires, the appliances in your home could be a potential catalyst of fire. Since temperatures are higher than usual, these appliances have a greater risk of over-heating, potentially causing a fire. To prevent this, read our blog on home inspection. This will give you information on how to inspect different appliances and tools in your home to make sure they are functioning properly, minimizing any potential for dangerous malfunction. 

Take this as a reminder to note the change of seasons and how it could affect your home or surroundings. Here at SERVPRO we are dedicated top riveting you with not only the best restoration services, but with great information to prevent us having to make it “Like it never even happened,” in the first place. For any questions, or to schedule an inspection, call our 24 hour service line at (310) 320-2112. 

SERVPRO is still in Service to Assist in Fire Damage During COVID-19

4/1/2020 (Permalink)

pan on stove in flames SERVPRO is here during the Coronavirus pandemic to maintain your home's comfort!

With the state of things in America, daily life is changing by the day. Nearly the entire country is ordered to stay at home to ‘flatten the curve’ of COVID-19 cases. With orders to stay in, more time than usual is being spent using the appliances, tools, and functions that your home provides to assist in comfortable living. But as we know all too well here at SERVPRO, accidents happen. Most home fires start from cooking equipment, followed by heating appliances. Read our blogs on fire damage to learn more about fire damage preparedness. 

SERVPRO is considered an essential service, so during the quarantines and lockdowns, we are still on call 24/7 to assist in your property’s remediation needs. You do not have to live hours a day with a burned hole in your wall or a problematic pipe leak. Call our 24/7 service line at (310) 320-2112 to schedule an inspection for your home. SERVPRO also specializes in bio-hazard cleanup, so our workers have access to proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to keep you and your house occupants at ease in the restoration process. SERVPRO is here to assist in these historic times!

How to Protect your Commercial Business from Fire Damage

2/24/2020 (Permalink)

commercial warehouse in flames Prevent a scene like this by following SERVPRO's tips to preparing for fire damage.

In the last blog, we discussed how to protect your commercial business from water damage. Certain steps were explained to make sure in the event of a flood from a storm, your property would suffer as little damage as possible. Just the small act of sealing your windows and doors can save hundreds in damage costs. Preparation for these natural disasters is essential in owning a property. Thinking ahead will save your money and your stress! 

Unfortunately, water damage isn't the only type of damage a property can be affected with. Fire damage is a possibility that must be considered and prepared for, as it is the most destructive and dangerous of the two. But no need to worry, this blog will provide you with some tips and strategies to prepare and prevent fire damage.

So, how do fires happen in the first place, especially in a commercial business setting? The most common causes of fires in commercial buildings according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPS) are from cooking equipment, heating and air conditioning, and electrical and lighting equipment. With this in mind, here’s what you can do to protect and prevent these things from starting a fire in your commercial property.

Routinely Check on Electrical Appliances and Equipment

Most fires, as aforementioned, start from appliances and equipment powered by electricity. This can happen from malfunctions due to old or rusted components/parts, unconfigured settings, or outside factors like human error and rodent/pest damage (chewed power or gas lines). Routine check up on equipment is vital in preventing fire damage to your property. Checking the wires and lines that power the appliances for any damage or holes, checking their settings to see if they are configured properly to prevent overheating, and thorough inspection of the equipment to know if any parts are wearing out and need to be replaced. This may seem like tedious work, but if done it will save you hundreds in potential damage costs. 

Installing Fire Sprinklers, Fire Extinguishers, and Emergency Exit Signs

This is a given, and in fact required for any commercial business with employees and clients under the roof to be responsible for. Fire sprinklers are connected to the smoke alarms and temperature sensors in the building to run when smoke or an excessive temperature rise is detected. Routine inspection of the system is strongly suggested as well, since like any system it is prone to malfunction and tampering. The control valves must be checked to make sure they’re open for the water to flow to each sprinkler, and a test drain can be performed to make sure the system works properly.

Fire extinguishers should be installed in an easily accessible place on every floor. One must not have to travel more than 75 feet to reach one, and they must be placed by exits so no one has to travel deeper into the building to retrieve a fire extinguisher. And even more importantly, the employees on each floor must be trained on how to use a fire extinguisher so it can be used correctly and efficiently. 

Every commercial property must have a set evacuation plan for when a natural disaster may occur. Emergency exit signs should be placed over the designated evacuation exits so in the event of a fire or any disaster, people aren't running wild confused as to where to go. The signs must also have self sustainable lighting, because it is likely in these situations that the power is shut off to the entire building.

By following these essential tips, (hopefully never) in the event of a fire, your property will be prepared to undergo as little damage as possible, and the building occupants will be safe and healthy. For any more questions you may have about fire damage, check out more of our SERVPRO blogs, or call us on our 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year service line at (310)320-2112. Happy damage preparing!

The Haunting of a Small House Fire

2/4/2020 (Permalink)

House on fire Don't let this happen to your home, watch the stove!

On one fateful night in February, you were making dinner on a Friday night. Out of nowhere, you smell a burn and realize that you left the stove unattended for about 20 minutes now. You’ve accidentally started a small house fire. The first thing you should do in the event of a small house fire is stay calm and evacuate the building. Call 911 and the fire department will be on its way. 

You might be thinking….. what happens after the fire is put out and you’re left with all this gross black stuff on the walls? That’s when you call SERVPRO. It’s important to call as soon as possible because organic and inorganic material burn during a house fire which can leave harmful chemicals lurking in the soot on the walls. SERVPRO of Torrance has a fully trained crew who will evaluate the damage and map out a speedy remediation process. 

Once the fire damage has been properly evaluated and documented by a crew member, cleanup can begin. It is important to call as soon as possible after the fire has been put out; smoke and soot damage usually affects a large amount of the property and it shouldn’t be lingering around while there’s still people inhabiting the space. 

Safety is our #1 priority, so the sooner we can assess the damage, the sooner we can get repair underway. Dealing with any kind of unexpected disaster can be difficult; SERVPRO of Torrance will be here to guide you every step of the way. Remember that our phones are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so don’t hesitate to call in the event of any emergency.

What to Know About Gas Leaks

2/3/2020 (Permalink)

Flames of a stove top Regularly check your home's gas line to prevent a gas leak.

It is everyone’s worst nightmare to have a fire ignite in their home. But with all of the technology stored and used in our homes, the event has a notable chance of occurring. One cause of fire that many people often do not notice are gas leaks. Gas cannot be seen and sometimes the leak cannot be heard. Here are some signs of a gas leak to help you identify if you are faced with the problem or not:

Smell

If the aroma in your home has changed to a gas-like smell or sulfur egg-like smell, that is one big sign something is up with your gas line.

Dead Plants

If your gas line is leaking, the content of it in the air will wither and kill your plants. Keep note of how your plants are doing!

Hiked Gas Bill

The excessive leaking of gas will cause your bill to rise, so if the price is out of the norm check the line. 

Dust Cloud Around Gas Line

The leaking of gas will cause dust and dirt to possibly be thrown in the air around the affected area.

Hissing Sound

If the gas is leaking from a small hole in the line, it will make a hissing sound as it escapes the small area.

After noting all of these signs and you come to the decision you have a gas leak, evacuate your home and call 911 or SoCal Gas at 1-800-427-2200. Do not light any matches or flip any switches, as this will spark a fire. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to call us at our 24 hour service line. SERVPRO is here to help!