Recent Fire Damage Posts

Fire and Odor Go Together

7/19/2022 (Permalink)

House Fire House Fire

Even the smallest fire with minimal damage will have pungent and irritating malodors. Eradicating malodors is a process that often requires multiple methods and meticulous cleaning.  Additionally, not all fire odors are the same which stems from the different types of fires.  The material being burned emits a unique type of smoke and the smoke particles themselves are the source of the odors.  Hot burning wood or paper has a white smoke that is cleaner than burned plastic which is black and creates a distinct fire signature which looks like spider webs.  A protein fire has a greasy texture, opaque appearance and overpowering odor. 

The process for odor elimination begins with the removal of any charred and unsalvageable materials as well as suspended airborne smoke particles with the use of an air scrubber.  This is followed by either a wet or dry cleaning followed by ozone treatment and possibly a thermal fogging as a final measure.  The cleaning may require a cleaning of the HVAC system as well as the duct systems smoke was sicked into the ventilation system.  If you are experiencing the unfortunate ordeal of a commercial or home fire and the odors associated with it, call SERVPRO of Orange County for a no cost estimate at 919-245-0788.  Our trained staff can make fire damage and the accompanying odors, “Like they never even happened.”

How to Safely Enjoy Fireworks

7/1/2022 (Permalink)

Adolescent holding sparkler Fourth of July (July 4th) celebration with child holding sparkler and fireworks in background

With the 4th of July just days away and firework stands touting their wares in most major shopping complexes, safely enjoying this seasonal novelty is dependent on using common sense and the implementation of fire safety strategies to prevent personal injury and property damage. 

Here are several tips to safely enjoying your fireworks:

  • Always ignite fireworks outdoors
  • When igniting fireworks never light near homes or buildings where sparks or flames could start a fire
  • Light Fireworks on pavement- dry grass and leaves pose fire hazards and if ignited could spread to structures
  • Monitor weather conditions- if it is windy do not ignite fireworks, as sparks could be blown onto combustible materials
  • Never allow children to use fireworks unsupervised
  • Never light more than one firework at a time
  • If a firework fails to ignite, discard it
  • Never through used fireworks directly into the trash
  • Make sure they are fully extinguished prior to discarding

Have a safe fun-filled 4th of July!

Propane Grilling Safely

5/10/2022 (Permalink)

Now that springtime has brought warm temperatures, many people will enjoy grilling at home.  Exercising safety precautions in grilling is essential to having a great experience.  Many homeowners enjoy the convenience of propane grills.  Here are a few quick and easy tips to grill safely using a propane grill.

  • Always grill outside. Regardless of the weather, propane as well as charcoal grills are made specifically for outside use.
  • Never store propane tanks inside, including the garage.
  • If the grill fails to light- check for leaks using soapy water. If a leak is detected when the valve is open, there will be bubbles.  Never check for leaks with a lighter or match.
  • Never smoke around a propane tank.
  • Do not allow children to connect or disconnect the propane tank.
  • Always check the propane tank for dents or cracks and if damaged have it replaced.
  • When transporting a propane tank make sure there is proper ventilation and never leave a propane tank inside a car.
  • When storing your propane tank and grill- disconnect the hose and cover with a plastic tank. Make sure that the valve on the tank is closed.

Five Uncommon Fire Hazards

3/21/2022 (Permalink)

There are numerous fire hazards that are obvious, however; the uncommon hazards are equally as deadly.  Here are five hazards that most people are unaware of.

  1. 9 volt batteries: These powerful energy store houses can pose a significant fire hazard if not stored properly.  If they are left loose inside a drawer or placed in a trash can where they come in contact with metal, a fire can ensue.   Volt batteries should be stored and disposed of inside a plastic container that has nothing flammable or metal inside it.
  2. Coffee Creamer: Powered non-diary coffee creamer is highly flammable when dispersed and should be kept away from open flames and heat sources.
  3. Laptops: Laptop batteries can get extremely hot and if left on something flammable like a book, holstered furniture or bedding it poses a significant fire hazard.  Place laptops on a flat table when not in use.
  4. Toaster: The crumbs inside a toaster are a fire hazard. Clean crumbs out regularly by turning the toaster upside down over a trash can. Newer models have a catch tray that can be easily removed and replaced to remove crumbs.
  5. Glass or crystal décor: These beautiful ornamentations can pose a fire hazard if left in direct sunlight where the concentrated sun rays can become a catalyst for a fire.

Smoke and Air Quality, Should You be Concerned?

2/7/2022 (Permalink)

On Monday January 31, 2022, a fire broke out at the Winston -Salem Weaver Fertilizer Plant. The imminent danger was the potential for the over 600 tons of ammonium nitrate and 5000 tons of finished fertilizer to explode. Residents within a one-mile radius were asked to evacuate. From the onset, plumes of smoke have continuously billowed into the sky creating a haze throughout the entire region which impacts the air quality. Fires put harmful toxins into the air and according to the EPA, Smoke is made up of a complex mixture of gases and fine particles produced when wood and other organic materials burn. According to the EPA soot particles can cause health effects.

People with heart or lung disease, people with diabetes, the elderly, small children, and pregnant women should take their doctor’s advice as to the best way of dealing with soot particle inhalation. In the case of the fertilizer plant fire, the fire department is sending up drones to monitor the air quality. Concerned citizens can monitor the results by following the local weather reports.

A structure fire can impact both the outdoor and the indoor air quality. Even if you have a fire that does minimal structural damage the indoor air quality will be impacted. It is important to have the soot and fire residue removed by a trained restoration company, such as SERVPRO of North Orange County, to not only eliminate odor, but to restore air quality to preloss conditions. If you experience a fire, large or small, or are just concerned about indoor air quality SERVPRO of North Orange County can help. Our trained technicians can clean fire damaged buildings and contents, removing odor and improving air quality by capturing harmful airborne particles with air scrubbers. Additionally, SERVPRO of North Orange County offers duct cleaning as a further method of improving indoor air quality. Call 919-244-0788

Dangers of Portable Heaters Exposed

1/11/2022 (Permalink)

Portable heater on hardwoods Dangers of Portable Heaters Exposed

As temperatures plunge keeping warm inside as well as outside is a necessity.  Even with central heating and air systems or gas heating units certain rooms may require an additional boost of warmth to provide comfort.  To meet this need portable space heaters are used.  According to the National Fire Protection Association heating equipment is the second leading cause of house fires in the United States and the third leading cause of death.  Is this mainly due to make and design of portable heating units or misuse by operators? 

Portable space heaters must meet certain regulatory requirements to be sold in the U.S. and most are UL rated for safety.  Additionally, when sold new, all portable heating units come with operator instructions that list proper operating procedures for safety.  With this being the case, the majority of fires caused by space heaters can be attributed to improper use by the operator.    In order to keep safe when using a portable heater follow these tips.

  • Do not place the heating unit near combustible materials, such as upholstery, bedding, clothing, paper etc.
  • Never leave a portable heater unattended.
  • Do not go to sleep with a portable heating system running.
  • Do not attempt to use portable heaters as a primary heating source.
  • Never use a portable heater with a frayed electrical plug.
  • Never place a portable heater into an outlet that is loose.
  • Never attach a portable heater to an extension cord.
  • Attach your portable heater on a circuit by itself due to the amount of energy it consumes.
  • Never run the electrical cord of the portable heating unit underneath a rug or carpet as this could result in a fire.
  • If the unit is defective do not use it.
  • Place portable heating units on flat surfaces where they can’t tip over.
  • Keep pets away from portable heating units.
  • Never use an outdoor space heater inside where it does not have proper ventilation. Improper use of this sort can result in death due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange County Celebrates Service with First Responders Day

1/7/2022 (Permalink)

On Friday October 8, 2021, SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange County recognized First Responders from Orange County North Carolina at the UNC men’s soccer game against Wake Forest University.   Town of Chapel Hill Fire Department, University of Chapel Police, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Hillsborough Police Department and Orange Rescue Squad were in attendance.  In a combined effort with Tarheel Sports Properties and SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange County autographed soccer balls were given to each first responder that attended and chose to be recognized on field level during halftime.  

 In addition to field level recognition SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange County and the Town of Chapel Hill Fire Department each had marketing booths providing swag and information regarding life safety for any attendee.  The night was capped off by each Town of Chapel Hill Fire Fighter giving their autographed soccer ball to a child in the stands. 

SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange County is honored to bring awareness to our first responders who are willing to come to our rescue and aid in our time of need.   This event is our way of saying thank you for all you do.