Recent Fire Damage Posts

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!   

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.  

Summary

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!

Difference Between Fire Classes

3/10/2020 (Permalink)

Different Classifications of Fires The Different Classifications of Fires

The fire classification system is designed to categorize fires into groups based on the type of fuel involved. Each fire class is represented by a letter of the alphabet (with the electrical which are simply referred to as “electrical fires”) and an icon. This helps users to select an appropriate fire extinguisher in the event of a fire.

Class A Fires

  • Solid Combustibles
    • Fire involving solid combustible materials such as wood, textiles, straw, paper, coal etc.

Class B Fires

  • Flammable Liquids
    • Fire caused by combustion of liquids or materials that liquefy such as petrol, oils, fats, paints, tar, ether, alcohol, stearin, and paraffin.

Class C Fires

  • Flammable Gases
    • Fires caused by combustion of gases such as methane, propane, hydrogen, acetylene, natural gas and city gas.

Class D Fires

  • Flammable Fires
    • Fires involving combustibles metals such as magnesium, aluminum, lithium, sodium, potassium and their alloys. Combustible metal fires are unique industrial hazards which require special fire extinguishers.  

Class F Fires

  • Combustible Cooking Media
    • Fires involving particularly hot or deep oil and grease fires, such as deep fat fryers in commercial kitchens or overheated oil pan fires in homes. Normal water-based extinguishers with large droplets would cause an ‘explosion’ of stream and carry burning oils and fats from the container. Equally, a CO2 extinguishers jet would carry burning oil out of the container and also would have in-sufficient cooling effect to stop reigniting. Wet chemical extinguishers, on the other hand, lay a cooling foam layer on top of the burning fat/oil and react with the liquid, stopping air supply to the fire.

Electrical Fires

  • Electrical Appliances
    • Fires involving electrical appliances such as computers, electrical heaters, stereos, fuse boxes etc.

Call SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana for any of your fire needs, 24/7 at (217) 355-0077.

Fire Damage Restoration, Are You Prepared?

2/26/2020 (Permalink)

An incident that requires fire damage restoration can happen unexpectedly, but that doesn't mean you can't be prepared. During a fire, the safety of you and your family matter first. Knowing what to do during and after the event will help to keep your family, and your property as safe as possible. Here are some tips to help during a home fire.

Fire Damage Restoration 

Getting out of your home

Small flames can grow into a large in as little as 30 seconds, and it only takes a few minutes for black smoke to fill the house. Along with the intense heat of a fire, what some people may not realize is how dark a room can become due to the thick smoke. 

To be prepared you should:

  • Practice making your way out of your house without the ability to see
  • Locate multiple ways out of each room in your home
  • Have a folding ladder in upstairs rooms to escape out of windows 

Once the fire has been eliminated

Caution should always be taken entering your home until the restoration process is complete. Before entering your home again, be sure to check with the fire department to ensure it is safe to re-enter. Upon doing so, be mindful of any possible structural damage, and collect as many valuable documents and records as possible.

Contacting a Fire Damage Restoration Company

As soon as possible, call your insurance company. Keep in mind that your insurance company may have a national account they suggest, but you don’t have to use the company they suggest. After that, be sure to call a restoration company. Fire damage restoration varies in the time it takes to complete depending on the extent of the damage. The aesthetics is just the beginning of what's necessary to restore a home. Soot can be very hazardous to your health and is best handled by a professional. There is also the risk you could be exposed to electrical elements that should be professionally handled. 

If you have experienced a fire and need fire damage restoration, don't wait, call SERVPRO of Champaign-Urbana anytime at (217) 355-0077.

(SB)

Why you want SERVPRO on Your Side After a Fire.

12/30/2019 (Permalink)

The chill of winter is here and with it, an increased risk of fire. The Red Cross reports that the rate of home fires increase in winter months due to factors such as space heaters, Christmas lights and increased use of fireplaces.

While we all hope a fire will never happen to us, planning for what to do in case it does is wise. This includes creating a fire escape plan for your household but also choosing what restoration company to work with to mitigate the damage. By deciding this in advance, you will be able to better react should a fire occur.

Choosing a fire restoration company is one of the most important things to look at, a fire restoration company is who will be able to restore your house and its contents to the pre-fire state. That is why we utilize three methods of deep-cleaning to ensure your life can resume like normal. Our trained technicians of SERVPRO of Champaign-Urbana can handle:

Structural Cleaning

Fire damage can seep into every aspect of your home, even requiring the structural elements to need thorough cleaning. By doing a pretest, we will determine the extent of the damage first thing, then begin cleaning the required surfaces with the recommended equipment and cleaning solutions. This can involve cleaning soot deposits off surfaces and preparing walls for repainting by preparing the surfaces to adhere to paint.

Content Cleaning

What fills your home is just as valuable as the home itself, which is why we promise to take care of your belongings and restore what we are able to. We can clean and deodorize area rugs, furniture and upholstery in most cases, utilizing either wet or dry cleaning processes. All other belongings that are eligible will also be restored to pre loss conditions, including electronics, furniture, clothing and more.

Deodorization Services

Fire can leave behind tenacious smoke odors, but it can also leave behind hazardous soot particles that can lead to health issues. Instead of utilizing artificial fragrances to mask the odors, we are able to go to the source and remove them by utilizing air scrubbers and other tools. With a variety of deodorization methods available, we will work with you to find what is best for your situation.

If you’ve been affected by a fire, reach out right away! You can call us anytime at (217) 355-0077.

(SB)

Smoke Detectors

9/2/2019 (Permalink)

You really can never be too prepared.

Fires can happen anywhere, at any time...under the right conditions. The preventative measures you take prior to a potential fire loss could save your home, or more importantly your life!

Replacing the batteries in your smoke detectors twice a year is a must. A good rule of thumb is when you change the clocks change the batteries in the smoke alarms, this will provide consistent battery life in your detectors.  This gives you a chance to check your smoke detectors to make sure they work properly. Put an evacuation plan together. Make sure your loved ones and those living with you know what to do in the event of a fire. Having a central location to meet once everyone is outside is a great plan.

After you and your loved ones are safe, call SERVPRO to make it "Like it never even happened." Reach us in the office 24/7 at (217)355-0077, we are always here to help you in your time of need. 

Smokewebs

8/28/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana, Your fire and water cleanup and restoration professionals!

This isn't your typical Halloween decoration. In fact, these are not made from cobwebs at all. This is what is known as "Smokewebs."

Smoke webs occur when the ionization process of burning synthetic materials (rubber, plastics, etc.) create charged particles that tend to cling to certain surfaces. These charged particles will attract to themselves repeatedly and form "chains" of soot. Smoke webs are especially common in low heat or smoldering fires which produce "wet smoke." The webs are common in stagnant air spaces such as the corners and edges of ceilings or cabinets.  Soot from synthetic materials is tacky, pungent, and smears very easily with conventional cleaning products. Our Production Staff uses professional grade chemicals specifically designed for smoke and soot produced by any material.

No matter how big of fire damage, you should always contact your local SERVPRO. We'll make it "Like it never even happened." Call us 24/7 at (217)355-0077.

Champaign/Urbana Some and Soot Cleanup

8/5/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Champaign / Urbana will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises, therefore, smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – (217) 355-0077

Fire=Soot

8/5/2019 (Permalink)

Fire disasters not only cause FAST damage but it also causes lasting damage. When you have a fire in your home or business it is not just the flames that are dangerous, it is the smoke as well. We have specialized trained employees who take their time to make sure there are absolutely no remains of soot on your personal belongings after your fire disaster.

  • Dry Cleaning - Used for cleaning light residues or to pre-clean prior to wet cleaning.
  • Wet Cleaning - An effective cleaning method for removing moderate to heavy residues.
  • Spray and Wipe -Effective for items that can’t withstand wet cleaning.
  • Foam Cleaning - Used for upholstery fabrics that might shrink or bleed if wet cleaned.
  • Abrasive Cleaning - Involves agitation of the surface being cleaned.
  • Immersion Cleaning - Contents are dipped into a bath of the cleaning product.

We here at SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana know how devastating water, fire, mold, or asbestos disaster can be and we are dedicated to helping you get through it. Give us a call today at (217) 355-0077. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Every Second Counts

6/13/2019 (Permalink)

In a fire, seconds count. Seconds can mean the difference between residents of our community escaping safely from a fire or having their lives end in tragedy.

This reinforces why everyone needs to have an escape plan. Here are some key messages to employ:

  • Draw a map of your home with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
  • Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
  • Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
  • Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
  • Close doors behind you as you leave – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
  • Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.

via http://www.nfpa.org/

Have you contacted your local fire department? See how you can get involved with them and your community to prevent house fires. Sometimes they will have events or give out smoke detectors for your home. Don't think this could never happen to you because it easily could. We don't have control over everything in our homes! Be safe and have a plan! 

Contact us at (217)355-0077!

[JB]

Residential Lightning Damage Happens More than You Think

6/4/2019 (Permalink)

Strikes happen an average of twice a year!

Here at SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana, we can help you with fire damages caused by lightning strikes. When the lightning hits a residence, it travels through the electrical lines to one of the home’s electrical boxes, which can catch fire. These fires can leave severe damage, including smoke damage to your home. SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana’s mitigation team has the ability to do a chem-sponge technique that is used to clean soot off of the walls. In doing this, SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana can ensure that no fire damage or smoke damage goes untreated. If needed, affected walls in all damaged rooms can be painted after the cleanup is completed and drywall replaced where necessary. Our professional in-house crew use a white-glove treatment on your residence and can complete the entire project quickly; from the first contact to completion. Here at SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana, we are proud to serve the residents of Champaign/Urbana, Illinois, especially when the worst happens. Why chose SERVPRO? Because in the event of fire or water damage, large or small, we’re here to help. Call us in Champaign/Urbana at (217)355-0077.  [JB]

Why Board-Up After A Fire is Important.

5/10/2019 (Permalink)

If your property in Champaign/Urbana has experienced a fire, there are several reasons why you might want to board up structural damage or windows. In addition to keeping the external elements out of a building with fire damage, boarding up can also prevent additional losses due to looting and make the fire cleanup process easier.  SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana offers full-service restoration specialists who can also assist in board-up services.  

Here are four reasons to board-up after a fire!

  • In a commercial setting, there may still be viable stock on the premises. If products that appear viable remain in the building, you should consider boarding up. These items may require assessment, cleaning and may not be fit for sale, but having them properly processed rather than stolen can be helpful for insurance purposes.
  • You want to protect electronics and other valuables. Depending on the extent of the fire damage, you may be able to restore some electronics or other valuable property to working condition.
  • You need to keep out the elements. If the structure of your property has extensive damage, you should try to keep the elements out to prevent additional damage. Exposure to additional water, wind, or sunlight can compound the damage caused by smoke residue and soot.
  • You want to limit soot damage as well. It is generally a good idea to reduce foot traffic on the scene of a recent fire. When soot gets embedded into carpeting or upholstery, it can be much more difficult to restore these materials to a pre-fire condition.

Talk to our experts at SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana to board up any structure, which is always a good strategy for preventing further loss and limiting damage after a fire. Your major concern is likely to be how to recover from fire damage as quickly and completely as possible. Preventing looting and exposure to the elements can make fire cleanup more successful. Call SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana anytime at (217) 355-0077.

(SB)

Why SERVPRO? Because We Do It All!

4/17/2019 (Permalink)

We worry about your restoration emergency so you don't have to.

From start to finish, you will see that SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana will take care of your restoration emergency from start to finish. A fire, for example, can wreak havoc not only on your home or office but your precious time and checkbook too. There is no need to worry. Not only do we possess the experience, but the equipment and talent on our team to make sure the disaster looks like it never took place. After removing any drywall that is burned and unsalvageable, we will make sure your home down to the studs is clean and smelling great. Besides any demolition that needs to be done, we will begin reconstructing your home back to the way it was. This includes painting your walls as well. It will be like an entirely new room in your home.   

If you have recently experienced a restoration emergency, let our team here at SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana take care of everything so you don’t have to. We will always work with you each step of the way and make sure you are satisfied. Give us a call at (217)-355-0077 for more information.  [JB]

3 Fire Hazards to Avoid This Spring

4/15/2019 (Permalink)

Springtime is such a fun, beautiful time of year. Stay safe out there!

The weather is warmer, the trees are blooming, and my allergies are killing me. Spring has officially sprung! That being said, there are still a wide variety of fire hazards that you should watch out for, even during the warm months.

1.Grills: Whether you’re cooking burgers for the family event or grilling up kabobs for dinner, you will inherently deal with a fire. Most are gas grills, which presents an even greater risk. In fact, the NFPA (https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Data-research-and-tools/US-Fire-Problem/Home-Grill-Fires) reports that an average of 9,600 home fires is caused by grilling each year. Here are some fire safety tips for the grill:

  • Always check for any potential fire hazards before firing up the grill.
  • If the grill does not light the first time, let the gas dissipate for at least 5 minutes before attempting to light the grill again.
  • Be sure the grill is clean before using to get rid of oil and gas residue.
  • Make sure the grill is set up in an open, outdoor area and keep it a good distance from the house and railings.
  1. Dryers: This is a fire hazard year round. In fact, the leading cause of clothes-dryer related fires is a failure to keep the lint baskets clean. Lint is combustible. Lint causes fires. It takes seconds to clean out the lint basket, so just make a habit of it when you get your clothes out of the dryer. If you have space for a clothesline in the spring and summer months - use it! There’s nothing better than fresh, air dried clothes. The NFPA also recommends cleaning out the vent pipe at least once a year so lint or other flammable particles do not get stuck in the vent pipe. 
  2. Outdoor Fire Pits and Bonfires: The necessary safety precautions for an outdoor fire pit are pretty obvious, but keep these in mind when you’re having a party on a cool spring night.
  • Always have an adult present around a fire. Never leave children unattended! 
  • Always have a bucket of water or a water hose available nearby if things get out of hand. 
  • Build the fire away from homes, porches, low-hanging trees, or any other fire hazards. 
  • Monitor the number of leaves, pine needles, paper, and other contents are fed into the fire since these items catch fire quickly and result in high flames and floating embers. 
  • Always put the fire out completely before leaving the fire unattended. Don't expect it to die down on its own!

We are always Here to Help when you need us. Call us at SERVPRO of Champaign-Urbana any time at (217)355-0077.  Happy Spring!

Smoke and Soot Cleanup

2/7/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana anytime at (217) 355-0077

Winter Heater Reminders

2/4/2019 (Permalink)

We all need heat when temperatures plunge!  However, special care must be exercised when using space heaters.

Space heaters that require fuel should be handled and used with extreme caution. While fuel-powered space heaters are more efficient at heating a large space, there are certain things you must do to protect yourself from a potential fire. 

Never leave space heaters running without supervision. It's understandable that you do not want to come home to a cold house, but leaving a space heater running unattended is extremely dangerous. Space heaters may overheat which increase the possibility of igniting the fuel and causing a fire.

Here are some helpful tips to keep your home safe:

1: Always make sure the space heater is turned off before refueling

2: Remove the space heater from the residence before refueling. Never refuel inside the house!

3: Allow the space heater adequate time to cool down. Refueling a space heater while it is still hot can cause an explosion. If you spill gas onto one of the hot parts of the space heater, it could easily ignite.

4: Make sure to check if the space heater you are using is approved for indoor use. Most fuel powered space heaters are designed for outdoor use only!

5: Always be sure to double check your home fire extinguishers to insure that they are charged and that the expiration date has not passed.

6: Do not place space heaters on carpets or other flammable fabrics. Make sure the space heater is not in a confined space where it may overheat

7: Electric space heaters should never be plugged to power in a damp room. Humid air can caused the space heater to short, leading to an electrical fire.

8: Always make sure that electric space heaters are directly plugged into an outlet. Extension cords increase the risk of shorting.

9: Before purchasing any space heater, make sure that the space heater has passed safety tests in the United States. The easiest way to tell is to check for an Underwriters Laboratory Label (UL).

SERVPRO of Champaign-Urbana stands ready to remediate any incidence of damaging fire.  However, we offer these few watchwords to minimize the prospect of a building fire when using space heaters of any type. (JB)

Dealing with Smoke Damage Problems

2/1/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke damage leaves your property with black marks which can be unpleasing to look at. It destroys the appearance and structure of everything in it. This includes walls, ceiling, furniture and any other item in the affected room. It also leaves the building with an unpleasant odor that is hard to eliminate unless you turn to professionals like us for assistance. We are here to assist any smoke damage victims in the Champaign/Urbana area by offering friendly yet professional services to deal with the disturbing issue and restore your home or business property to its previous state.

We use our experience and high-tech equipment to make sure that we clean and deodorize the building making it a comfortable place to live in. Smoke, due to its nature, can easily seep through the smallest cracks. It is, therefore, hard for you to notice it and this could lead to substantial damages when the issue gets out of hand.

Our team is qualified and has knowledge about how smoke works. This makes us the best option for you. We offer complete cleanup and odor removal in Champaign/Urbana. We do this by following simple yet effective steps as follows;

Removing soot from the household

This is the residue left behind after the smoke damage. It is the action taken after assessing the level of the damage and marking the affected areas.

Determining and getting rid of the source of odor

The smoke smell remains in carpets, upholstered furniture and clothing unless it is eliminated before the cleaning process. We use high-quality additives and chemicals to help break the molecules and get rid of the smell.

Cleaning the room

After deodorizing, it is time to eliminate the smoke spots by doing a thorough cleaning of the walls, carpets and the washable clothes ensuring that they are all left immaculately clean.

If you are having a smoke damage issue in the Champaign/Urbana area, we are the right solution for you as;

  • We are experienced
  • Have the right equipment
  • Certified to do the job
  • We offer emergency restoration services

Do not think twice about trusting us to do the job for you and you will not regret your decision.

For any fire smoke damage issues, call SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana. 

217-355-0077 (JB)

10 Tips To Make Your Home Safer From Fires

12/24/2018 (Permalink)

It’s an unfortunate tragedy. Your home in Champaign/Urbana has been ravaged by a raging fire. A restoration company has come to the rescue to return your home back to its prior condition. Hopefully you will never experience such loss again, but it is wise to prepare your home in the event of future disasters. Even if your home has never been devastated by a fire, the following fire preparation tips can prove beneficial in giving you greater peace of mind regarding fire safety in your home.

1. Smoke alarms: Test smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries annually.


2. Prepare children: Teach fire preparation to children, including the dangers of fire. Make sure they know the proper use of 911 for emergencies. Keep matches and lighters out of their reach.


3. Plan where to go: Create an escape plan and make sure everyone in the household is aware of it. Choose an outside meeting spot for all family members to gather upon escaping. Conduct practice drills at least twice a year.


4. Share contact information: Make sure all household members know who to contact in the event that they cannot find each other during a home fire.


5. Educate on proper techniques: Teach everyone in the household to stop, drop and roll in the event their clothes catch on fire.


6. Take action if you smoke: Smokers should take extra precautions, as many residential fire deaths are caused by smoking materials. Avoid smoking in bed, especially while sleepy or medicated. It is better to smoke outside.


7. Handle heaters: Portable heaters should be turned off when not in use.


8. Take care of candles: Candles should be extinguished when not in use, and never left unattended.


9. Store other sources of light: Speaking of candles, consider using flashlights during a power outage instead of candles.


10. Examine the home for other fire hazards: Check the electrical wiring and home heating sources to make sure they are safe.

A home fire is a most unwelcome event, but by taking fire preparation seriously, you and your household can hopefully avoid this happening or, at the very least, be better equipped to handle such an emergency when it occurs, Feel free to call SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana anytime at (217) 355-0077.

SERVPRO is the #1 Company to Call in Champaign/Urbana When Dealing With Fire Damage!

12/3/2018 (Permalink)

Dealing with commercial fire damage on your own can be devastating & stressful. Our techs can help you and give you peace of mind.

Assistance Helps Speed up Recovery after Commercial Fire Damage in Champaign/Urbana

Fires in commercial establishments can be very devastating. Apart from the loss they cause by damaging the structure and contents, they also lead to business closure, which translates to lost revenue. The longer it takes to resume normal operations, the higher the cost of lost opportunities. In the worst cases, the business might even lose customers. We offer restoration services that help commercial establishments recover faster after fire incidents. FSRT certification means our customers benefit from a combination of top-notch equipment and advanced skills sets throughout the restoration process. 

The steps taken immediately restoration starts can quicken, or hamper the speed of recovery after commercial fire damage in Champaign/Urbana. Our SERVPRO technicians rely on their IICRC training to do a thorough evaluation before starting the restoration process. Such evaluation helps us establish the primary form of damage. Depending on the materials and items present in the affected area, it could be a case of predominant flame or smoke damage. If it is a case of smoke damage, we need to establish whether wet or dry smoke is the most prevalent. Having such information helps determine the level of agitation, chemical action and dwell time needed for effective cleaning. 

Commercial spaces can present unique size challenges. In a space like a warehouse, the sheer size of the walls, ceilings and other areas that require cleaning can prolong the restoration. In a hotel or office space, the challenge could be large surfaces such as glass windows that require special care to avoid problems like streaking. Our SERVPRO crews use special equipment such as mobile scissor lifts, spotting pad holders and extensions poles when cleaning up vast surfaces saving time. 

Our SERVPRO team considers the entire restoration process to determine how much effort to put into each phase, which also helps save time. For instance, if restoration involves repainting the affected surfaces, we clean to remove debris and neutralize the acids in smoke residue then restore the visual appeal though painting.

Locally Owned Company with National Resources


Restoring your fire damaged premises should not take too long. Call SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana to assist. You can reach us at (217) 355-0077 any time. 

Holiday Fire Safety Tips

12/1/2018 (Permalink)

Residential fires during the holiday season are more frequent, more costly, and more deadly than at any other time of the year. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) reports more than double the number of open-flame fires on Christmas Day than on an average day, and about twice as many on New Year’s Day. And when those fires occur, they do more damage: Property loss during a holiday fire is 34% greater than in an average fire, and the number of fatalities per thousand fires is nearly 70% higher. When the source of the fire is a highly flammable Christmas tree, the toll in property and lives is even greater.

To keep your household from becoming a holiday fire statistic, here are some safety tips to follow.

Cooking

Cooking is the top cause of holiday fires, according to the USFA. The most common culprit is food that’s left unattended. It’s easy to get distracted; take a pot holder with you when you leave the kitchen as a reminder that you have something on the stove. Make sure to keep a kitchen fire extinguisher that’s rated for all types of fires, and check that smoke detectors are working.

If you’re planning to deep-fry your holiday turkey, do it outside, on a flat, level surface at least 10 feet from the house.

Candles

The incidence of candle fires is four times higher during December than during other months. According to the National Fire Protection Association, four of the five most dangerous days of the year for residential candle fires are Christmas/Christmas Eve and New Year’s/New Year’s Eve. (The fifth is Halloween.)

To reduce the danger, maintain about a foot of space between the candle and anything that can burn. Set candles on sturdy bases or cover with hurricane globes. Never leave flames unattended. Before bed, walk through each room to make sure candles are blown out. For atmosphere without worry, consider flameless LED candles.

Christmas Trees

It takes less than 30 seconds for a dry tree to engulf a room in flames, according to the Building and Fire Research Laboratory of the National Institute for Standards and Technology. “They make turpentine out of pine trees,” notes Tom Olshanski, spokesman for the USFA. “A Christmas tree is almost explosive when it goes.”


To minimize risk, buy a fresh tree with intact needles, get a fresh cut on the trunk, and water it every day. A well-watered tree is almost impossible to ignite. Keep the tree away from heat sources, such as a fireplace or radiator, and out of traffic patterns. If you’re using live garlands and other greenery, keep them at least three feet away from heating sources.

No matter how well the tree is watered, it will start to dry out after about four weeks, Olshanski says, so take it down after the holidays. Artificial trees don’t pose much of a fire hazard; just make sure yours is flame-retardant.

Decorative Lights

Inspect light strings, and throw out any with frayed or cracked wires or broken sockets. When decorating, don’t run more than three strings of lights end to end. “Stacking the plugs is much safer when you’re using a large quantity of lights,” explains Brian L. Vogt, director of education for holiday lighting firm Christmas Décor. Extension cords should be in good condition and UL-rated for indoor or outdoor use. Check outdoor receptacles to make sure the ground fault interrupters don’t trip. If they trip repeatedly, Vogt says, that’s a sign that they need to be replaced.

When hanging lights outside, avoid using nails or staples, which can damage the wiring and increase the risk of a fire. Instead, use UL-rated clips or hangers. And take lights down within 90 days, says John Drengenberg, director of consumer safety for Underwriters Laboratories.  “If you leave them up all year round, squirrels chew on them and they get damaged by weather.”

Fireplaces

Soot can harden on chimney walls as flammable creosote, so before the fireplace season begins, have your chimney inspected to see if it needs cleaning. Screen the fireplace to prevent embers from popping out onto the floor or carpet, and never use flammable liquids to start a fire in the fireplace. Only burn seasoned wood — no wrapping paper.

When cleaning out the fireplace, put embers in a metal container and set them outside to cool for 24 hours before disposal. 

Should you have a fire emergency, no matter how big or how small, we here at SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana are ready to help 24 hours a day! Call us today at  (217)355-0077.

Immediate Fire Restoration and Why It's Important

11/28/2018 (Permalink)

Fires can be a devastating when they occur.  It is crucial though when a fire strikes that you get the restoration process started immediately.  The longer that it is put off the harder and more repairs will be needed. This also means the price of repairs goes up as well.  SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana specializes in fire damage and restoration.  Contacting us is the first step in getting the restoration underway. SERVPRO will try to save as much of your home and personal belongings that we can. Remember that safety comes first, so if there’s no way to safely gain access into your home, stay out until SERVPRO professionals arrive. On arrival we perform a thorough cleanup using our industrial-grade products and equipment, such as dry cleaning soot sponges to remove loose soot and specialized vacuum filters to clean carpet and upholstery.  Unfortunately fires happen, but when they do make sure you act quickly to get the damage cleaned up.  SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana takes fire damage and leaves it "Like it never even happened." Call SERVPRO of Champaign/Urbana for your fire restoration needs anytime at (217) 355-0077