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Causes of Fires

5/27/2020 (Permalink)

House Fire House Fire

At SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana, we’ve dealt with cleaning up fire and smoke damage many times.  There have been some very strange, unnecessary, and outright silly reasons that the fire was started in the first place.  Fires can be caused by common things (cooking accidents) or completely off-the-wall things (see our list below).  Either way, it’s good to know about everything that could create a fire in your home or office in order to uphold the best practices for fire safety.  Below are some actual scenarios that are off the wall…

Alcohol + Cigarettes

An Ohio man who was having trouble with bedbugs decided the best way to get rid of them was to spray his infested couch with rubbing alcohol.  While he performed this experiment, he was smoking a cigarette.  This man obviously caused a house fire and had to be treated for burns.

Homemade Ashtray

A family in Oregon decided to cut a hole in their family room floor to use as an ashtray. (Seriously—why not just buy an ashtray?). Of course, this led to problems.  The cigarettes and ashes that the family had been throwing into their “ashtray” caused a fire to break out in their basement, which ended up costing thousands of dollars in damage.

Linseed Oil

This is a mistake that many homeowners make.  Linseed oil is one of the biggest underrated enemies of fire safety.  It’s used to polish wood, but unfortunately, the oil can also cause fires.  It’s safe on wood, but when the oil is left on the rags that people have polished with, it can spontaneously combust causing a fire due to the chemicals building up.   

Glass Jars

An elderly woman in South Carolina had empty glass jars lined up on her windowsill.  When the sunlight was refracted by one of these jars and was concentrated on her window’s curtains, it caused a fire in her kitchen.  This occurrence happens from time to time: refracted light fires have been started by glass doorknobs, glass wind chimes, and even glass panes left leaning against walls.

Microwaving Underwear

A teenage boy in Texas attempted to dry his wet underwear in the microwave.  The elastic band on the underwear burst into flames and caused significant fire and smoke damage to the kitchen area.  What should and should not go into a microwave should be common fire safety knowledge. When it comes to microwaves, avoid putting in cloth, paper, metal, and plastic.

Wall Air Fresheners

Many residents use those amazing smelling plug-in air fresheners. However, use these with caution.  There are several dangerous factors associated with them and they have been the cause of many house fires. Many of them are made from very thin plastic and the wall outlets can get extremely hot. If you leave them plugged in for too long, you’re at risk for a fire.  If you use them, unplug them at night or when you leave the house.

No matter how a fire starts, know that SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana is here to help.  Give one of our friendly team members a call at 217-355-0077 today!   

After the Fire trucks leave…..then what?

5/24/2020 (Permalink)

Fire Trucks at Fire Fire Trucks at Fire

The fire has been put out by the firemen and they were able to save your family and your home. After they leave you walk back into your home onto saturated carpet, tile floors with puddles, charred walls and baseboards, soot, smoke odor and a huge hole in the wall where the fireman entered your home.  This is a very devastating time in anyone’s life.  This is when you call the Professionals for help. This is when you would call SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana (217)-355-0077.  The SERVPRO Professionals have specialized in fire and water damage restoration and move quickly to clean up and restore your home to pre-fire condition

SERVPRO can do any size board up to secure your home.  The board up is important in keeping your home safe and secure until work can be scheduled.  The Company also extracts water and has dehumidifiers.  

SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana can also take care of not only cleaning your sentimental items but are also equipped with the environmentally friendly cleaning products to clean your walls, carpet, and upholstery.  SERVPRO also offers soda blasting.  Soda blasting is also environmentally friendly and removes soot, badly charred and other types of residue caused by fire.  The procedure may be used on brick, ceramic, glass, mortar, concrete and wood without damage.  Along with cleaning it also helps to absorb the smoke odor.  

SERVPRO provides equipment for helping with the odor.  Air scrubbers, ozones and hydroxyls are 3 pieces of equipment that can be set up for odor.   Once the structure has been cleaned and odor free, the Sevpro of Vermilion County also has a Construction Department for the put back.  

We are here for you in your most difficult time.  All you have to do is call 217-355-0077.

Steps to Take When A Pipe Breaks

5/19/2020 (Permalink)

Broken Pipe Broken Pipe

It’s the middle of the night. You’re sound asleep and then BOOM a water pipe bursts. There is never a convenient time for this situation, and the middle of the night is definitely not convenient.  This may cause many people who have never dealt with it to panic. After all, what do you do when a water pipe suddenly bursts in your home?  Call SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana at 217-355-0077 and speak with a friendly team member!  We can help walk you the steps to take if this should happen to you.

Shut Off the Water

Go to your main valve and turn the water off. They usually have a stop tap on them. It’s good to know where your water main is in case of emergencies, so if you don’t already know now is a great time to find out. Commonly this is found in the basement or garage, but may be found in other places as well.  Shutting it off will stop the water flow. If you find that the pipe that burst is a hot water pipe then close the valve that’s on top of the water heater as well.

Remove Any Nearby Electronics

If there’s anything electric plugged in near the burst pipe that is not in or requires you to be in standing water go ahead and unplug it from the socket and move it away. This will prevent risk of a fire.  DO NOT touch any electronics that are in standing water, do not walk thru standing water as there is a real risk of electrocution.  Shut off the electricity from the breaker if possible, if not then call an electrician for assistance. 

 Call A Professional Immediately

Finding a 24-hour service to handle an emergency can be tough, but emergency water damage companies do exist, like SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana. We are fully licensed, highly trained and qualified.

Have Someone Check Everything Out

If there’s significant water damage, it’s extremely important to the health of your home that you have it examined by a water damage professional. It’s also a good idea to have an electrician check to make sure that no electrical aspects of your home were damaged. The owners, Dave and Suzi McGuire, have been building trust for 30 years.  They have accomplished this with hard work, having a highly trained staff, meeting commitments and going the extra mile for their customers. 

File An Insurance Claim

You’ll need to contact your insurance company immediately to begin an insurance claim for the damage.  SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana can help walk you thru this process.  We strive to make the entire process from start to finish both painless and seamless for you.  Call SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana at 217-355-0077 and speak with a friendly team member today!  We are here to help!

Raccoons are so cute, BUT not in your business!

5/19/2020 (Permalink)

Raccoons Raccoons

Raccoons are cute and fun to watch.  However, they are very destructive when they are living in your attic.  Here are list of problems that can be caused by wild animals in an attic:

Nesting materials and food debris throughout the attic

Odor problems inside the home

Parasites, roundworm, and other pathogens

Pheromone scent that can attract new wildlife

Lots of feces and urine in the insulation

Growth of mold on contaminated attic areas

It is important to act as soon as possible when you have confirmed that you have guests in your business.  You would need to call someone to clean, decontaminate, and restore the attic to its original state. This is just another job for SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana.  These Professionals will do the following in complete Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  1.  Vacuumed animal droppings throughout the attic and or insulation.
  2. If the insulation has high concentration of droppings /remove the insulation and replace with new after cleaning and sterilizing.  
  3. Larger debris must be picked up by hand.  
  4. Nesting material such as sticks, leaves, and etc. used for nesting.  Keep in mind that often the nesting materials are often full of parasites. 
  5. Clean with an antimicrobial  

When unexpected guests come your way, remember to call SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana (217)-355-0077. 

Is it safe to stay in a house with smoke damage?

5/18/2020 (Permalink)

Confined Fire Damage Confined Fire Damage From Microwave

Is it safe to stay in a house with smoke damage?

In short, the answer is no.  No matter how big or small the fire that caused the smoke damage, it is a major health risk.  Whether it’s the result of a large house fire or a small fire that was contained to one room there are very real dangers to consider.

It’s easy to assume that the smoke from a fire that only affected one appliance and didn’t reach any other rooms will be contained to that area.  For example, if the microwave caught fire and was dealt with quickly,  it’s not unreasonable to think that the upstairs bedroom wouldn’t possibly be affected by smoke damage. Unfortunately, this isn’t entirely accurate.

While smoke seems to dissipate quickly, it is incredibly invasive.   It will find its way into all manner of places around the home,  using whatever means possible.  Sometimes this means you’ll find smoke damage within HVAC vents, sometimes you’ll find the most smoke damage behind walls.  Often it can be found in household furnishings and it’s not uncommon to find smoke damage within light fittings and electrical sockets.  Even if you cannot see any smoke there could be still be smoke particles which you cannot see.   This is what is so dangerous as it’s the smoke particles which are a health risk.

What is smoke damage?

Smoke damage is the physical damage caused by smoke that’s generated by a fire, not the damage caused by the fire itself.  Caused by the remnants of the fuel that fed the fire, smoke does not destroy items like fire does.   Instead, it coats objects in soot and odor.

The composition of smoke is complex,  but often results in a greasy layer making it particularly difficult to remove.   Even so, no matter how small or large the fire, smoke will want to travel to cooler areas and will use whatever means available to get there.   This can include ducts, wiring, pipes, or any other crevices.  This means that smoke has often reached places you cannot even see.  While smoke may seem to dissipate quickly the quick cooling of the particles leave a film and odor able to penetrate the contents of a building and its structure.

Can fire smoke damage make you sick?

Fire damage is heat damage and is what causes objects to melt and burn.  Smoke damage doesn’t destroy items like fire damage does.   However, they are both incredibly hazardous to health.  The number one cause of death related to fires is smoke inhalation.   This occurs when the products of combustion are inhaled during a fire.

Smoke is a mixture of heated particles and gases and it’s impossible to predict its exact make up.  The items burned, temperatures reached and the amount of oxygen available all play a critical part in determining the type of smoke produced.   For example, wood fires create a completely different kind of smoke to protein fires.

Not only can smoke inhalation cause burns to the respiratory system, but it can cause further complications which can result in death or permanent damage. Coughing, vomiting, nausea, confusion and sleepiness are all signs of smoke inhalation.  During smoke inhalation, you have more carbon monoxide in your lungs which prohibits oxygen into your body.   Prolonged exposure to smoke inhalation can result in death or permanent brain damage.

Health risks of staying in a smoke damaged house

Many people might think that the health risks of fires are removed once the fire is put out, sad to say, this isn’t entirely accurate.  Smoke can be incredibly toxic. Tar and carbon are just two of its common byproducts, but smoke can also contain heavy metals and other toxins.   If these are breathed in over a period of time, they can go on to cause health implications.

Breathing can become difficult if staying in a smoke damaged house.  Lungs and sinuses can be affected directly making breathing hard.  Residual particles in clothing and furnishings can irritate the skin, which normally cannot be treated with lotions.   Sometimes, these skin irritations can be severe.  To be safe, even if you cannot see any smoke damage it’s vital that you have SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana come in and complete a thorough clean and decontamination of the entire property.  


It’s not just the immediate fire that’s a risk to your health.   Staying in a property that’s had a fire, whether you can see smoke damage or not, is a risk to you and your family's health.  Give SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana and speak to one of our friendly team members today at 217-355-0077!  We are here to help!

Mother Nature Hits Again

5/5/2020 (Permalink)

Shingle Damage Due to a Storm Shingle Damage Due to a Storm

When Mother Nature hits, it can hit hard, and your home is often in the path of destruction.  Storm damage can cause expensive long-term problems when repairs aren’t carried out quickly.  High winds, heavy rain, flooding, and even lightning can all cause damage to your home.  From water running down roof beams into the walls to debris damaging windows, there are many ways a storm or tornado can damage your property.  The sooner the damage is assessed, the quicker you can see the need for repairs – and start the insurance claim process.

Ten Steps to Check Your Home for Storm Damage

1. Check for Debris on the Roof

Tree branches and other debris can cause large problems to a home particularly the roof.   A damaged roof can cause big problems, even if the impact site is only small.  Water may leak in during the storm and may be unseen for some time until it pools and becomes a big problem. Clear any debris you can, if you can access it safely, and inspect the roof shingles for damage.

2. Look for Missing or Broken Roof Shingles

Scan the roof thoroughly.  Are any shingles missing or slipped from the storm?  A shingle that’s still on the roof but has slipped can still be a cause of water damage.  Cracked shingles, if you can see them, are also a sign of weather damage to your home.  This could indicate a larger impact from debris, too, which may have affected other parts of the roof.

3. Inspect Your Chimney Flashing and Gutters

The metal flashing around your chimney can come loose or been damaged during the storm.  This could mean that there is the potential for water damage inside your home.  Water runs underneath the flashing, down the chimney or roof beams, causing dampness.  Gutters may also come loose or blocked during the storm.  A blocked or loose gutter is a sign that your roof may not drain properly.  Water pools on the roof can weaken the structure and cause water damage.

4. Assess Water Stains on Interior and Exterior Walls

Can you see any clear damp patches either outside or inside your home?  Hard and heavy rains can cause water damage as water runs into small cracks in the walls.  Exterior walls can take a few days to dry out, so by checking over a three day period will help you catch these cracks.

5. Check Exterior Walls for Holes

A classic sign of storm damage is a spider-web pattern of cracks that radiate out from a central point.  This indicates an impact has occurred on the outside wall.  Smaller signs of damage include chipped paint or plaster or minor holes in a stucco exterior.

6. Check Your Windows

Your windows may not be clearly broken by the storm, but give them a second look.  Small cracks, glass panes that are loose, or even damaged window frames can all lead to much larger problems.  Look for signs of water inside your windows, as this indicates a small leak that could be a big problem.  Check also for damage caused by flying debris or high winds to your window frames. Dented or cracked frames can cause your window to become loose and a hazard.

7. Scan Your Soffits

When you get an opportunity where you can safely access your soffits,  look closely at the surface.  Any dents, cracks and paint chips caused by hail or debris may be a sign of a bigger problem underneath.  If you see a dent or crack in your wooden or PVC soffits, inspect the area in more detail.  Is the soffit loose? Has water been drawn into any areas it shouldn’t? Make a note of the dents and paint chips you can see: the more there are, the greater the chance of costly underlying damage.

8. Investigate Your Outbuildings and Fencing

When you’re checking your property after a storm, don’t forget any outbuildings or fences. Walk around your outbuildings and check for signs of water damage. Check windows and frames and make sure doors haven’t been damaged by high winds.  Take a walk around your perimeter fencing.   Make a note of any damaged or missing panels, or of damaged posts that will need to be replaced to secure your boundary once again.

9. Assess Trees and Pylons on Your Property

Check any pylons on or adjacent to your property for signs of damage caused by high winds. Slack or broken cables, or tilting pylons, are all cause for concern.  Call the utility supplier as soon as you notice any problems, do NOT attempt to approach downed power lines.  This can cause serious injury or even death.  You should also check out the trees on your property for loose branches that pose immediate danger to vehicles or your home.

SERVPRO of Champaignn/Urbana is here to help!  We can help with everything from tarping a roof to water clean up and much more. If you think your home has suffered at the hands of nature, give SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana a call at 217-355-0077.  Our friendly and caring staff are here to help get you and your family back to normal. 

See What Our Customers Have to Say

5/4/2020 (Permalink)

Customers Water Loss Customers Water Loss

Have you ever experienced a disaster in your home such as fire or smoke damage, flooding and water damage, discovering mold, or even have a bat infestation in your attic?  You might wonder who among all the restoration and cleanup companies to call. Dave and Suzie McGuire started their SERVPRO franchise in 1990 and have 30 years of experience, highly trained certified technicians, 24-hour emergency service, are locally owned and operated, and are a trusted leader in the restoration industry. Since their beginnings, the McGuires, through both hard work and building trust with the communities they serve, have grown from one territory to four territories covering 13 counties. Don’t believe SERVPRO is the best? Check out these testimonials left by some of our customers!

“SERVPRO recently cleaned my parent’s home when they were getting ready to sell.  The carpet was well worn with many stains, but my parents did not want to replace the carpet just to sell the condo. SERVPRO came in and did an amazing job making the carpet look almost good as new!  My parents were extremely pleased because the cost of cleaning the carpet was considerably less than replacing it.  Thank you SERVPRO.” - Strange (Piatt/DeWitt)

“We had a large water damage that resulted in having to gut most of our home.  The staff from SERVPRO was so great.  They were the 1st people to come in and make us feel like everything would be ok.  Our personal belongings were treated with care and each step of the process was explained along the way.  Thank you for giving us some peace during a very hectic time in our lives!  - Poggendorf (Champaign/Urbana)

“My Aunt lives down in Weldon on the family owned farm a little over two hours from me.  Over this really cold winter her pipes burst and her house experienced a ton of flooding.  Being so far away I needed someone I could trust to help her with this mess.  I called SERVPRO and from the moment someone answered the phone they assured me everything was ok.  They sent a crew out and were able to clean up the disaster the bursting pipes made.  I couldn’t believe that they were able to save so many heirlooms that have been in the family for over a century.  My Aunt felt so comfortable and they were really sweet to her helping to ease her anxiety.  I can’t recommend this company enough.  Thank you for taking such great care of my Aunt and restoring her belongings.” - Schmidt (Piatt/DeWitt)

“In May of last year we had a house fire which caused serious damage to our home.  SERVPRO secured the property immediately and then handled the clean up and the reconstruction.  8 months later we were back in our home which was beautifully restored and actually looked better than it had before the fire!  There was a few early problems with the contents, but SERVPRO stepped up and made things right.  The cleaning people were kind, supportive and professional during a difficult time and the construction people are amazing.  Our house is 100 plus years old and they recreated details that matched it’s age and style.  They are artists!  The slogan “Like it never even happened,” isn’t exactly right… More like “better than before it happened!”  Thanks SERVPRO team!! - Lake (Champaign)

“After having two other companies come to our house for water damage in our first floor ceiling, they deemed it necessary to tear out/put holes into the ceiling to dry the drywall and then have it repaired and repainted.  All in all… both companies gave us estimates of $1,500-$2,000.  Travis of SERVPRO came out and gave us an honest and more thorough check of our issue.  He was the only one (of the 3) to go upstairs to check a couple rooms (since that was the known source of the water coming into the ceiling).  After looking at everything, he gave us a more honest and ethical solution to our issue.  I couldn’t be more appreciative of his honest estimate and the professional integrity he showed my wife and I.  He went above and beyond to give us piece of mind that the issue was going to be taken care of and resolved.  We couldn’t say enough good things about this experience.  We will definitely be using SERVPRO for any other future needs and services.” - Mast (Urbana)

Should you find your home in need of a restoration and clean-up company do yourself a favor and call SERVPRO today!  Call 217-935-2992 and speak with one of our friendly staff today! 

SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana attends Ribbon Cutting for the new Haymakers

3/30/2020 (Permalink)

Ribbon Cutting at Haymakers Champaign County Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting at the new Haymakers

Networking with other businesses in our service area is very important to the success and growth of an organization.  SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana takes this seriously as we know that connecting with other businesses and professionals in the area is vital to our community growth and business growth.

As a result, the employees at SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana are proud to say that we are members of the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce.  Two of our marketing professionals attended a recent Ribbon Cutting at the new Haymakers to meet other professionals interested in networking and expanding their customer contacts and welcoming the new business to town.  This latest event on February 21st, 2020 at a local Champaign convenience store allowed professionals to meet other people and share information about the company they work for and the role they play.

If you are a person who feels that using local businesses is important to our community and helps in growth and development, then you should contact us.  When you have water damage, fire damage, need help with deodorization, or mold contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana at 217-355-0077.

How to Handle Damaged Belongings After a Flood.

3/16/2020 (Permalink)

If your building was damaged during a storm, the items inside may have been affected as well. If this is the case, it can be problematic to determine how you should proceed. If you are unsure about how your possessions should be treated, the following content cleaning information may help you.

  1. Curtains and Other Fabrics

Because these materials are spongy, they can absorb a lot of water. This can be especially difficult when black water is involved. It carries a high level of contaminants such as waste, mud and bacteria that can be difficult to remove. While you may be able to salvage some porous items with a thorough cleaning, some of them may need to be thrown out.

  1. Hard Surfaces and Non-Porous Items

Content cleaning for objects with hard, non-porous surfaces is usually much easier. Because the contaminated water is not absorbed, you don’t need to worry about bacteria lingering beneath the surface. With these items, scrubbing them with an anti-bacterial cleaner will likely be enough to sanitize them.

  1. Artwork and Paper Items

These items can be important and sometimes irreplaceable, so it can be upsetting when they are damaged in a flood. The good news is that they are not necessarily ruined beyond repair. A professional service will likely have access to high-quality equipment that will be able to dry these items and remove the bacteria and other contaminants.

  1. Electronics and Equipment

Like spongy materials, electronics can be difficult to save if they have been damaged by contaminated water. For the best results, you should have them taken to a professional like SERVPRO of Champaign-Urbana right away for inspection. Do not attempt to use these items before you know it is safe as you may cause more damage.

If your items have been damaged by contaminated water, then the best thing to do is have content cleaning done by a professional. A cleanup and restoration service can salvage many of your belongings and can perform any necessary repairs on your building as well feel free to call SERVPRO of Champaign-Urbana anytime at (217) 355-0077.


We Are Cleaning Experts

3/16/2020 (Permalink)

Here to Help Here to Help

SERVPRO is Here to Help during this time of need

During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.

Specialized Training

We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis.

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:

  • Kitchen/Food Areas
  • Bathrooms
  • Schools/Classrooms
  • Offices
  • Retail Spaces
  • Water Fountains
  • Shelving/Racks
  • Sales Counters
  • Carpets and Rugs
  • Stair Handrails
  • Elevator Cars
  • Playground Equipment
  • Fitness Equipment

Specialized Products

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.

Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning

If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts today at SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana at 217-355-0077.