Recent Fire Damage Posts

Don’t try to clean soot or smoke in your Windham, NY home

5/15/2024 (Permalink)

The corner of a once-white ceiling covered in soot webs from a fire. Soot and smoke cleaning is never a DIY project, call the experts at SERVPRO of Columbia & Greene Counties to take care of it!

DIY home improvements make great weekend projects at your house in Windham. However, not everything can be tackled on your own, even for the handiest or most experienced of homeowners.

If you’ve been affected by a fire or your oil burner malfunctioned and caused a puff back, it can be tempting to immediately start the cleaning process, but this can often hurt more than it helps. It’s not easy to understand the degrees of cleaning that go into soot removal. That’s why we’ve listed three reasons it should not be something you should tackle by yourself:

1. Soot Won’t Stay Put. Because soot goes airborne, it doesn’t always remain contained to the area the fire originated in. Soot travels into crevices, cabinets, doorways, nestles on ceilings and can even infiltrate your HVAC system. Additionally, absorbent textiles such as fabrics, carpets or upholstery are a magnet for soot, often soaking up soot particles.

While it might be tempting to launder these items and scrub down the walls right away, improper cleaning can lead to ruining your belongings beyond repair. Soot from a puff back tends to be mixed with oil making it a much harder mess to clean up. Not having years of experience and the right equipment to get rid of it will only leave nasty black smear marks all over the house.

2. Soot Composition Can Vary. Because every fire is different, soot can vary greatly in its composition. While some soot has a powdery texture, others can be thick and viscous. Appearances can be deceiving, and it’s impossible to know what type of soot you’re dealing with before you interact with it. Often, burned materials can create an oily-based particle that can be a nightmare to try clean. Likely, it will migrate to areas you haven’t even thought about or can tackle, making this an undertaking that a professional restoration company should handle.

Additionally, soot from fires and puff backs contain noxious odors that are difficult to truly get rid of. Tackling soot without knowing what type is on your hands means you run the risk of making it worse and leading to more costly damage to remedy. If the property is not cleaned correctly, the smell will never go away. All affected materials, surfaces, textiles, and areas you can’t even see, or reach must be restored properly to be fully effective.

3. Soot Can Contain Toxic Chemicals. Fires require chemicals to stay active, and all those chemicals are contained in soot. Carbon dioxide, oxygen and nitrogen are big factors, but there are also chemicals released from every material that was affected by the flames. Materials such as plastics, textiles and paint can be extremely toxic once heated, and improper soot cleaning causes these toxins to be re-released into the air.

SERVPRO® of Columbia & Greene Counties has specially trained and heavily experienced fire damage and puff back technicians available 24/7 to get your damaged home back to preloss condition efficiently and effectively.

If you’ve been affected by a fire, don’t risk a DIY disaster. SERVPRO® of Columbia & Greene Couniteshas restoration teams on standby to help get your life back to normal, faster. We’ll make it “Like it never even happened.”

Winter is Coming… Are You Prepared?

12/20/2021 (Permalink)

Winter is officially upon us which means our woodstoves and fireplaces will be kicking it into high gear. Have you inspected your heat-producing devices lately? Without proper care, clogged or dirty fireplaces and/or woodstoves can lead to serious smoke damage and even worse- an uncontrolled fire. Here is a short cleaning check list to consider for your home’s heat source:

  • Check that the chimney cap and gate are clear of any debris
  • Thoroughly clean any soot or creosote out of the flue and stovepipe
  • Clear away any old debris from the catch-pit and smoke shelf
  • If specifically using a woodstove: clean the glass and check for any cracks

It is also important to have a plan of action in the event of a chimney or home fire in place before winter arrives. If your home does suffer from any smoke or fire damage from a heating malfunction do not hesitate to give the fire/smoke restoration pros of SERVPRO of Columbia and Greene Counties a call 24/7 at (518)943-8475.

Dehydrator Disaster

12/15/2021 (Permalink)

It’s that time of year again! Crafting beautiful handmade decorations can really put you in the holiday spirit. One of my favorites; dried fruit ornaments and garlands. But what happens when your dehydrator decides it’s no longer feeling cheerful? That is just what happened to this family in Hudson, NY. A food dehydrator malfunctioned, contributing some terrible smoke order throughout the home as well as destroying the island countertop, backing cabinetry, and interior plumbing. Our SERVPRO crew quickly responded! The team got to work professionally removing any soot residue from the ceiling, flooring, and furniture. They also utilized a hydroxyl machine to help with deodorizing the entire living space. The next step in the process will be to work with the homeowners on restoring the kitchen to its former glory. This holiday season, please make sure your appliances are always supervised when running or on. In the event, your countertop appliance decides to disintegrate your kitchen, give the pros at SERVPRO of Columbia and Greene County a call for a great deodorizing deep clean and remediation. When we’re done, it will be like “It Never Even Happened…” and you can get back to your regularly scheduled holiday programming.

Different Smokes for Different Folks

12/13/2021 (Permalink)

Different types of fires can cause two very different types of smoke damage that could affect your home or business. There are a few components that will determine if the damage was caused by “Wet” or “Dry” smoke: the level of oxygen present during the fire, what materials are burning, and/or how fast and hot the fire burns. The restoration professionals of SERVPRO of Columbia and Greene Counties are trained and prepared to identity and properly clean either smoke situation. Dry smoke is produced when a fire burns extremely hot causing dry particles to be deposited on any remaining structure. Cleaning of this type of smoke is typically more manageable and odor more easily remediated.  Wet smoke is the more challenging of smoke damage. This smoke is caused by a slow and smoldering fire which cause liquids to vaporize and seep into the remaining area.  Cleaning this type of smoke damage is much more complicated and involves specifically SERVPRO formulated solutions to remedy the stains and odor. Our SERVPRO of Columbia and Greene Counties team is made up of experienced cleaners and restorers that are ready to help you after a home fire. Call SERVPRO 24/7 at (518)943-8475 for all your remediation needs- especially after fire or smoke damage.

Thanksgiving Day Safety Tips

11/22/2021 (Permalink)

Did you know- Thanksgiving is the leading day for home kitchen cooking fire occurrences in the U.S.? The next most common day for cooking fires; the day before Thanksgiving! The National Fire Protection Association is here for everyone with some helpful tips to have a fun and SAFE Thanksgiving.

  • When prepping and cooking, stay in the kitchen to keep an eye on the stove and oven
  • Never leave your home when the oven is on (even if its on its lowest heat setting)
  • Make sure kids stay away from the hot stove, oven, hot food, and liquids. Steam or splash from vegetables, gravy, or coffee
  • Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them before your start cooking by pushing the test button

Damage from fire or smoke is always devastating, but especially during the holidays. If a kitchen fire accident hits your home, SERVPRO of Columbia and Greene Counties is a 24-hour Emergency Service that can help get your kitchen back up and running for the next round of big family dinners. Have Questions? Call Us Today – (518) 943-5005

Steps in a Fire Loss

4/15/2020 (Permalink)

  • Step 1- Structural Cleaning 

After a smoke or fire damage, ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting and floors will often need a thorough cleaning. A technician from SERVPRO of Columbia & Greene Counties will pretest to determine the extent of damage, and then use the specific equipment and cleaning products required to clean and protect the different surfaces found in your structure. Depending on the amount of soot, SERVPRO may even be able to reduce the cost of recovery by cleaning lighter soot deposits found on some surfaces, eliminating the expense incurred with repainting or refinishing. In other cases, SERVPRO will clean to "prepare for painting." This process deodorizes and ensures the new paint will adhere properly to the surface. 

  • Step 2- Contents Cleaning

All of the restorable contents in affected areas will be professionally cleaned and deodorized. This includes area rugs, furniture, draperies and upholstery. SERVPRO begins by carefully inspecting and testing all fabrics in the structure to determine which cleaning methods are most appropriate. SERVPRO can provide wet or dry cleaning services. Additionally, all the other restorable contents will be cleaned and deodorized to preloss condition. This includes electronics, art, wood furniture, kitchen items, clothing, bedding, bric-a-brac and much more. Finally, SERVPRO can provide an inventory list of all "to be claimed" items if requested. 

  • Step 3- Deodorization 

SERVPRO of Columbia & Greene Counties can provide specialized services that rid your home or place of business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. SERVPRO do not merely cover up lingering odors with a fragrance, they seek out the sources of the odor and remove them. Ask your SERVPRO to explain the various deodorization methods available and which will work best for you.

When it comes to your home or business, getting you back to normal quickly is our first priority. Trust the most recognized restoration vendor in the world, trust the SERVPRO professionals! 

From Fire to "Like it never even happened."

6/18/2019 (Permalink)

Electrical fire in basement moved up wall into first floor.

SERVPRO of Columbia & Greene Counties is committed to getting your home or business back to what it was before any disaster strikes. We are ready for whatever may hit us, no job too small or too large. SERVPRO is equipped with many experienced and knowledgeable people that are ready to help you. With all the right people and equipment to get the job done, we can make it "Like it never even happened." 

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. When various materials burn, the soot and residue they create differs greatly and requires a specific cleaning procedure. SERVPRO of Columbia & Greene Counties has all the right tools and products to get your home back to normal. Call SERVPRO today at (518) 943-5005 for your fire damage!

Call SERVPRO After Your Fire

6/17/2019 (Permalink)

Fires can be especially devastating to your home or business. After the fire trucks leave, your property will likely suffer from not only fire and smoke damage, but also widespread water damage and flooding from firefighting efforts. SERVPRO of Columbia & Greene Counties have specialized fire and water damage restoration training and experience to quickly clean up and restore your home to pre-fire condition. They also can remove the pervasive smoke odor and deep-clean soot from upholstery and carpet. 

SERVPRO of Columbia & Greene Counties has the water and fire damage training and expertise to help you get through this difficult time. Once the fire department has gone, your home may have suffered from water damage caused by firefighting efforts. We have the specialized fire and water damage restoration techniques and equipment that will remove the smoke, soot and odor so that you will never even realize a fire had occurred.  We have many satisfied and amazed customers throughout the Columbia and Greene Counties region who can attest to this.

Fire Damage and Restoration

5/30/2019 (Permalink)

Fire damage on second floor in home.

Damage caused by a fire or smoke is devastating for your family and your home. It’s a stressful and confusing time, so you’ll need a caring expert to guide you through this crisis. Our professional staff will always treat you and your family with respect and empathy, and we’ll always handle your home and belongings with the utmost care.  It is within our staff's concern to attempt to salvage and restore as many personal items as we can, and to restore your home to a pre-event condition "Like it never even happened."

SERVPRO of Columbia & Greene Counties has the water and fire damage training and expertise to help you get through this difficult time. Once the fire department has gone, your home may have suffered from water damage caused by firefighting efforts. We have the specialized fire and water damage restoration techniques and equipment that will remove the smoke, soot and odor so that you will never even realize a fire had occurred.  We have many satisfied and amazed customers throughout the Columbia and Greene Counties region who can attest to this.  Feel free to view our testimonials page for examples.

Fire TIPS

5/30/2019 (Permalink)

What to do after a fire:

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
  • Keep hands clean so as not to further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.
  • Clean and protect chrome with light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
  • Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves.
  • Change HVAC filter.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.

What NOT to do after a fire:

  • Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting us.
  • Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
  • Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water.
  • Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
  • Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.

Our Response to Fire Damage

5/16/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Columbia & Greene Counties has the water and fire damage training and expertise to help you get through this difficult time. Once the fire department has gone, your home may have suffered from water damage caused by firefighting efforts. We have the specialized fire and water damage restoration techniques and equipment that will remove the smoke, soot and odor so that you will never even realize a fire had occurred.  We have many satisfied and amazed customers throughout the Columbia and Greene Counties region who can attest to this.

We carefully inspect and test adjoining rooms of your property to determine the extent of the fire, smoke, and soot damage. This step is crucial to developing a plan of action. 

The water removal process begins almost immediately and removes the majority of the water. We then use dehumidifiers and air movers to remove the remaining water and complete the drying process. 

We use specialized equipment and techniques to remove smoke and soot from ceilings, walls, and other surfaces. 

We clean, sanitize, and disinfect all of the restorable items and structures that were damaged by the fire. We use a variety of cleaning techniques to restore your belongings to pre-fire condition. We’re also trained to remove odors using industrial air scrubbers and fogging equipment.

Restoration is the final step—getting your home or business to its pre-fire condition. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet; or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business.

Fire and Smoke Damage: DOs and DON'Ts

4/24/2019 (Permalink)

Black soot stuck in carpet after being walked all over.

These Emergency Tips will assist you in taking the proper action until SERVPRO of Columbia-Greene Professionals arrive.

DO:

  • Limit movement in home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet.
  • Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator completely and prop the doors open to help prevent odor. 
  • Keep hands clean; soot on hands can further soil upholstery and carpet traffics areas. 

DON'T

  • Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting SERVPRO of Columbia-Greene.
  • Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture.
  • Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock, and air movement may create secondary damage. 
  • Send garments to the dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set in smoke odor. 

Please follow these DOs and DON'Ts to help reduce damage and increase the chances of a successful restoration during a disaster.