Recent Fire Damage Posts

Buying a Fire Damaged Home? What to Check For First.

12/30/2019 (Permalink)

House on fire in garage fully engulfed Understanding when a home goes through a fire damage.

Buying a Fire Damaged Home? What to Check for First.

With home prices skyrocketing, people are willing to do almost anything to get a good deal, including buying a house that has had a fire. That could be a good investment because they cost less and may even be negotiated to a lower price. But the following are things you need to know before buying a fire damaged home in the Palm Desert area.

How Deep Was the Damage?

How much damage a house has suffered can determine whether it’s worth purchasing and/or flipping. If the damage was only cosmetic where just the carpet and walls were scorched, that wouldn’t be too big of a deal. But if the damage is deeper and affects the sub-floors, joists, plumbing or the HVAC, then you’re talking serious money and it might not be worth your time or effort.

How Long Since the Fire?

Do you know how long it’s been since the fire occurred? If the house has sat for a while needing fire damage cleanup without any repairs done on it, then you might want to pass. The longer fire damage is unattended, the more deterioration will take place. Soot and ash are acidic and can cause irreversible property damage if not treated immediately. Soot can cause the metal in plumbing fixtures, lights, etc., to pit or corrode. Glass in windows and mirrors can be etched by soot residue, making them look cloudy and soiled. Plastics, appliances, vinyl windows and fabrics can be permanently discolored by soot residue.

Fire damage and water damage are almost always linked because firefighters extinguish flames with water. And many times, a fire will open a house up to the elements. If that water isn’t immediately removed or dried up, it can cause severe problems with mold and may weaken the foundation. And since water is a solvent, it will slowly dissolve, break apart and destroy most of the materials in a home if not dealt with promptly. These problems must be handled by restoration professionals that have the needed equipment.

What About Hidden Damage?

It can be difficult to see if a home has structural damage from a fire when you’re doing a walk-through. That’s why you should not only get a home inspected before buying, but you should also contact SERVPRO of Palm Desert to do a walk through and consultation. If you have a better idea of how much structural damage exists and a rough estimate of what it will cost, you’ll be able to negotiate a deal to ensure a higher return on your investment.

Home shows on TV make flipping a house look fun, quick, and profitable. But the true reality is that those with fire and water damage can be a lot of work if you don’t know what you’re doing. The best way to buy a house with fire damage is to have SERVPRO of Palm Desert on your team to do the work needed to once again make it a livable home. 

What You Should and Shouldn't Keep After a Fire

10/9/2019 (Permalink)

Ash on the floor of charred contents, papers, book. Charred Remains of your home contents after a Fire can be devastating. Protect your family.

What You Should and Shouldn’t Keep After a Fire

One of the hardest tasks to deal with after a fire is deciding what you can keep and what to toss. Many objects are obvious losses, but others may leave you unsure whether they’re salvageable or not. You want to save money, yet you also need to stay safe. So, here are some tips from SERVPRO of Palm Desert on how to handle some of the more questionable items that have been exposed to fire and smoke:

Food

Throw out all food that’s been in contact with smoke and/or firefighting chemicals, including fresh produce, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, opened containers and packages, food packaged in cardboard, foil, paper, plastic, cloth, screw-topped jars and canisters, and any foods stored outside the refrigerator that were exposed to smoke or fumes.

Some canned goods may still look good on the outside, but heat damage can re-cook the ingredients in the can. This activates bacteria that causes food spoilage, making them unhealthy to eat.

But aren’t foods that were in a refrigerator or freezer be safe?

Sometimes seals on those appliances aren’t air-tight and smoke can leak inside to damage food. If the electricity went out during the fire for more than 2 hours, then it’s likely spoilage occurred so all items should be discarded.

Medicines & Cosmetics                     

The Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) says the effectiveness of drugs can be destroyed by high temperatures from a fire. If you think your medicines have been exposed to excessive heat, consider replacing them. The same is true if they’ve come into contact with firefighting chemicals.

As to cosmetics, high heat can change their composition without showing any visible signs. They could end up damaging hair and skin. Plus, they can absorb the toxic fumes that go along with all fires, which is not anything you want to put on your skin.

Clothing

Clothes, bedding, and other fabrics can often be salvaged after a fire with proper cleaning and disinfecting. However, if anything is burned, throw it away. Use even stricter judgment when considering your child’s or baby’s clothing as they’re more susceptible to any leftover toxic residue.

But what about clothes that were packed in plastic bags and stored inside of drawers and closed closets? Aren’t they safe from smoke residue and odor?

No. Rapidly expanding air during a fire easily penetrates clothing even when plastic covers are used to protect them. As the air inside cools down and fresh air begins to circulate, garments covered by plastic with the odor inside are not subject to the normal airing-out process. This allows the malodors to thoroughly penetrate the garment.

To add to the problem, the plastic itself will attract and retain odor to a considerable degree and so must be removed and disposed of ASAP.

Remember if you are going to put in a claim with your home owners insurance make sure to document and take pictures of everything that is damaged for your adjuster and your records. List all the items with good descriptions. 

Never try to salvage any possessions that could put your health at risk. When in doubt, throw it out! If you have any other questions or concerns about what can be salvaged after a fire, or if you need to schedule fire restoration services, please contact SERVPRO of Palm Desert today.

Fire dangers in the aftermath

7/2/2019 (Permalink)

Man Cleaning Wall from the effects of Fire Damage Smoke Cleaning up after fire.

Fire Dangers After You Think It Is Over!

There’s been a fire at your home or business. Once the firemen leave, your first inclination may be to go inside the structure to see what you can salvage and start the cleaning process. But cleaning up after a fire is much more complicated than regular cleaning. It’s also very dangerous. Because once the last flame has been snuffed out, the dangers from a fire continue.

Soot Hazards

Since fire destroys all materials, the soot that covers everything you touch and that you kick up in the air is full of toxic substances. One of the most important things to do is order an Asbestos Test to make sure the materials do not have asbestos. This testing will be done by a 3rd party that is a licensed hygenist. The professionals at SERVPRO of Palm Desert wear heavy duty personal protection equipment (PPE) on fire mitigation jobs until all the soot is removed. Here are some of the poisons found in the soot and ashes of a building fire:

· Mesothelioma (cancer) causing asbestos fibers from building materials

· Carbon materials can produce carbon monoxide, ammonia, and nitrogen oxides

· PVC can create hydrogen chloride, phosgene (used as a chemical weapon during World War I), dioxin, Refrigerant-40, bromomethane (a pesticide), etc.

· Hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide (poisonous gasses)

· Petroleum based items can produce formaldehyde, acrolein, furfural, cresols, and other harmful chemicals

· Even wood smoke releases more than 100 chemicals also found in cigarette smoke

Removing the Odors

One of the main aftereffects of a fire are odors. These can be difficult to remove without professional know-how and equipment. For instance, did you know that several factors can impact the strength of fire odors? Some of these are:

• Size - The bigger the fire, the more objects have burned, and thus there’s been more smoke.

• Length -The longer a structure has been exposed to smoke, the more deeply odor has seeped into porous materials.

• Space - When a fire occurs in a smaller room, the smoke odor becomes more intense and concentrated.

• Stuff - Not all odors are equal. For instance, burning wood, plastic and protein, all emit different smells with varied consistency.

SERVPRO of Palm Desert has the knowledge and equipment to eliminate the diverse and pungent odors that occur after a fire. Besides the easily accessible areas, we also examine wall cavities, duct work, crawl spaces and plumbing chases to establish whether they also suffered any smoke or fire damage. We’ll ensure that they’re cleaned, repaired and that all traces of odor are removed.

So as tempting as it may be to rush back into your fire damaged home or business once the fire is out, play it safe and call SERVPRO of Palm Desert first so that we can safely make it “Like it never even happened."

Accidents Happen in Palm Desert, But Don't Let Smoke Ruin the Party

4/23/2019 (Permalink)

Accidents Can Happen When We Are Distracted but There is Help to Restore Your Home!

SERVPRO Exists to Restore Fire Damage From Your Palm Desert Home

What starts as an innocent party may turn into significant damage in just a few minutes. Perhaps you are hosting a gathering in your home in Palm Desert and leave the stove unattended to greet your guests only to come back to a kitchen engulfed in flames. Alternatively, a scented candle is left too close to your window treatments, and they catch on fire. The reality is that accidents happen and as homeowners, we are always vulnerable to being a victim. 

Mitigating the losses in your Palm Desert home due to fire is mostly dependent on how quickly you reach out to a professional team to restore your home. Thankfully, our SERVPRO rapid response team is available 24/7 and can begin the assessment of damage shortly after receiving your call. Our formal training lets us gauge both the nature of the fire and the type of residue it left behind, allowing us to tailor our approach specifically to your needs. 

Contrary to what most people think, smoke also contains small particles that when combined with humidity in the air can become acidic. Our SERVPRO technicians know exactly how to work within this environment while wearing protective personal equipment and looking at how the resulting soot settles onto the surfaces of your home. The damage to your furniture and belongings is proportionate to the amount of time this acidic residue remains on them. 

Aside from the apparent damage smoke causes, there is also the lingering smell that can permeate your whole home. When our SERVPRO crew works to eliminate that foul smell we take into account just how porous each surface is and how the soot got there. In our process, we attempt to follow the same route the smoke took to saturate your belongings with odor-fighting solutions. This specific odor-fighting approach makes our services efficient and effective, returning your home to you as soon as possible. 

An accidental fire in your home should not turn into a tragedy. SERVPRO of Palm Desert holds the solutions to your specific problems, and we are quick to implement it. Call us at (760) 346-7270 and let us leave your home “Like it never even happened.”

Fire Safety Tips

1/4/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Safety is Everyone's Responsibility

For most people, homes are one-time assets, containing their most precious belongings. A home is the most important thing you own. It is prudent to ensure the security of your home and family from destructive elements such as fire.

Many homes are destroyed due to fires. Fires may occur due to accidents through carelessness or negligence. It is therefore essential to know of ways and means to keep your house safe from fires.

Follow these top 10 fire safety tips;

  1. Fit a smoke alarm and check it regularly.
  2. Make a fire action plan so that everyone in your house knows how to escape in the event of fire.
  3. Take care when cooking with hot oil and think about using thermostatically controlled deep fat fryers.
  4. Never leave lit candles unattended.
  5. Ensure cigarettes are stubbed out and disposed of carefully.
  6. Never smoke in bed.
  7. Keep matches and lighters away from children.
  8. Keep clothing away from heating appliances.
  9. Take care in the kitchen! Accidents while cooking account for a large number of fires in the home.
  10. Take special care when you are tired or when you've been drinking. 

Fire damage can be devastating for you and your family.  SERVPRO of Palm Desert has the specialized fire and water damage cleanup and restoration training and experience to quickly restore your home. We also have specific training and equipment for odor removal and deep cleaning of upholstery and carpet. Give SERVPRO of Palm Desert a call at (760) 346-7270.

Christmas Light Safety

12/1/2018 (Permalink)

Christmas Lights on Home and Yard A House Decorated with Festive Holiday Lights all over the house and yard.

Pretty lights, candles, and decorations, presents all wrapped and put under the tree are just a few of the items bringing charm and cheer to the holiday season  -  however, if they are not used carefully, your holiday may go from festive to frightening.  

The American Red Cross offers the following safety tips to help greatly reduce the fire risk in your home or business this holiday season.  

*Place Christmas trees, candles and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators and heat vents.

*Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition.  Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer's instructions.  

*Always unplug the tree and holiday lights before leaving the property or going to bed.

*Never use lit candles to decorate a tree.  Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.

*Christmas Trees account for hundreds of fires every year so take into account a dry tree versus a well - watered tree. 

SERVPRO of Palm Desert wishes you a safe and happy holiday season!

Clothes Dryer Fire Damage

8/13/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palm Desert has another cleaning option for you for your dryer vent. We will always be happy to come out and give you a free estimate to determine if your dryer vents to the outside of the home or to the roof top. 

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are an estimated annual 15,500 fires, 10 deaths and 10 injuries due to clothes dryer fires.  

It is something consumers may not think about as we use our machines to help our households function. 

Only you can prevent clothes dryer fires.  Proper Installation & Choice of Building Materials to include:

  1. Make sure the dryer duct is made of solid metallic material. Both vinyl and foil are combustible and spiral-wound surfaces tend to catch lint more readily.
  2. The dryer duct should vent to the exterior and in no case should it vent to the attic or crawlspace. Avoid the use of inside heat recovery divert-er valves or termination boxes, which do not comply with current standards.
  3. Avoid kinking or crushing the dryer duct to make up for installation in tight quarters -this further restricts airflow. If you really want to save the extra space, the Dryer box is a new invention that allows the dryer to be safely installed against the wall.
  4. Minimize the length of the exhaust duct (maximum recommended lengths depend on a number of factors, such as number of bends, and vary by model-check with your manufacturer for their specifications). If this is not possible, you can install a dryer duct booster.
  5. If at all possible, use 4-inch diameter vent pipe and exterior exhaust hoods that have openings of sixteen square inches or more, which offer the least resistance to air flow.
  6. Don’t use screws to put your vent pipe together – the screw shafts inside the piping collect lint and cause additional friction.

Fire Safety Tips

1/9/2018 (Permalink)

Rancho Mirage Fire Station No. 50 Open House

Rancho Mirage Fire Department Station 50 hosted an open house at their Fire House for chambers members and catered by The Slice and Maracas.  SERVPRO of Palm Desert picked up some information at the station regarding fire safety.

Below are eight important fire safety tips from your Rancho Mirage Fire Department:

#1  Make sure your street number is visible from the street so that public safety personnel can quickly locate your property in case of emergency. 

#2  Prevent landscaping from growing over and around fire hydrants.  The time it takes to search for a fire hydrant could be critical!

#3  Turn off electrical, including ceiling fans, before leaving your residence for an extended period.  Ceiling fan motors can overheat and cause fires if left on for extended periods.

#4  The sale, offering for sale, display, possession or discharge of fireworks by any person or entity within Rancho Mirage is prohibited.

#5  Do not store flammable items near a heat source, such as a hot water heater, as they can combust.

#6  Fire extinguishers should always be kept in the home and checked on an annual basis.  Fire extinguishers are a requirement for businesses.

#7  Keep fresh batteries in your smoke detectors by replacing them twice a year.  A good reminder is to change them when you set your clocks ahead/back for daylight saving time.

#8  Keep a wrench near your gas shut off valve at all times and consider turning off the gas when you leave your residence for an extended period.

SERVPRO of Palm Desert has served the Coachella Valley since 1967.  Give us a call at SERVPRO of Palm Desert and we will help you in the event that there is a fire or flood in your home.  We are available 24 hours a day/7 days a week/365 days a year.