Recent Fire Damage Posts

Restoring Vs. Replacing: Fire Damage Edition

3/18/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Restoring Vs. Replacing: Fire Damage Edition In most cases, it is actually more affordable to restore your belongings after a fire and/or water loss than to replace them.

After experiencing a fire and/or water loss it is common for people to think that replacing all of their contents would be less expensive than restoring them. As a professional in the Restoration Industry we are here to tell you that is false! The technicians at SERVPRO of The Southtowns are trained to see beyond this common misconception, and restore your contents/valuable to a preloss condition.

The mitigation process of cleaning yields excellent results at a cost-effective price. Mitigation stops further damage and reduces the loss, while restoration puts the damaged items back to their preloss condition. For ultimate results, mitigation needs to begin within twenty-four hours of a loss. Any delay will complicate or, may devalue the mitigation effort. In order to guarantee the removal of smoke odor, all of the contaminated areas need to be cleaned, deodorized and possibly sealed (where applicable). Also, all odor molecules, whether airborne or absorbed, need to be neutralized.

So if you experience a fire and/or water loss this spring, give the experts at SERVPRO of The Southtowns a call (716) 646-6684 to begin the restoration and mitigation process immediately! We are always, “Here to Help”.

Think Twice Before You Plug That Space Heater In

12/3/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Think Twice Before You Plug That Space Heater In Use extra caution this winter season when operating a space heater. Be sure to follow safety regulations to prevent a fire from happening.

It is that time of year when there is a chill in the air and a little extra warmth is needed. However, if not used properly space heaters can be very dangerous. Here are some great space heater safety tips to prevent a fire in your home this winter season.

Electric space heaters are generally more expensive to operate than combustion space heaters, but they are the only unvented space heaters that are safe to operate inside your home. Although electric space heaters avoid indoor air quality concerns, they still pose burn and fire hazards and should be used with caution.

1. Place heater on a hard, level surface

2. Turn heater off when you leave

3. Keep heater 3 ft. from the nearest object

4. Avoid using extension cords

5. Look for heaters with tip over and over heat protection

6. Keep heaters away from water and flammable items such as papers, blankets, and curtains. 

Educating yourself about the safety hazards that come with the improper use of portable heaters will help you achieve better peace of mind as you keep your home warm, comfortable, and fire hazard-free this winter.

Chimney Fires Cause More Damage Then You Think

12/3/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Chimney Fires Cause More Damage Then You Think Chimney fires account for more than $120 million in damage every year.

Did you know chimney fires account for over $120 million in damage every year? As you prepare for colder winter months, be sure to get your chimney cleaned.

If you do experience fire damage in your home, here are some Do and Don't tips: 

DO:

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas until cleaning is complete.
  • Blow or brush vacuum, loose soot particles from upholstery, drapes, and carpets.
  • Wash house plants on both sides of leaves.
  • Clean and protect chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim and appliances.
  • Change HVAC filter.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to prevent redistribution of soot from ducts.

DON’T:

  • Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces.
  • Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstery.
  • Send garments to ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.

Picture This

9/24/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Picture This In order to prevent further damage to your belongings, call SERVPRO of The Southtowns IMMEDIATELY after a fire.

Picture this; you have just entered your home after a fire. There is black soot EVERYWHERE making the house feel dark and cold. There is a horrible odor that has permeated the entire house. Your life is in chaos as you try to figure out where to go from here.

That’s when your instincts kick in. Every day you clean your kitchen table, its routine, which is now covered in black soot. You rush to underneath your sink and pull out your trusty bottle of cleaner, and begin to clean your kitchen table because it is all you know what to do at this moment.

This is the WORST thing you could possible do! There are different types of soot, each requiring its own special cleaning process. Should you experience a fire this year, please call the professionals at SERVPRO of The Southtowns IMMEDIATELY to begin the fire restoration process.

While you wait for help you can:

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
  • Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further spoil upholstery, walls, and woodwork.
  • Place old towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery, drapes, and carpets.

Fire damage can be devastating. Let the professionals at SERVPRO of The Southtowns make it “Like It Never Even Happened”. 

When Fire Disaster Strikes: Why You Should Never Clean Up After A Fire

6/19/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage When Fire Disaster Strikes: Why You Should Never Clean Up After A Fire There are different types of smoke, each requiring a different cleaning method.

After experiencing a fire it may be tempting to start the clean-up yourself immediately. However, this is one of the biggest mistakes a homeowner can make. There are two types of smoke, wet and dry, and each type may greatly affect the restoration process.

Wet smoke is caused from plastic and rubber burning. It smolders at a low heat, has a very pungent odor, and is often sticky and smeary. With wet smoke, smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry smoke is caused from paper and wood. The fire is fast burning and burns at a high temperature. Heat rises, therefore the smoke rises as well leaving soot on everything in its path.

Protein fire residue, which is produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire, may also be present after a fire. This residue is virtually invisible and discolors paint and varnishes. Like wet smoke, it also has an extreme pungent odor.

SERVPRO of The Southtowns will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damaged occurred, and then develop a comprehensive plan of action to restore your home. 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.

Did You Know Soot Damaged Documents Can Be Restored?

4/11/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Did You Know Soot Damaged Documents Can Be Restored? Even soot damaged documents can be restored!

The file room is one place where you never want to have fire or water damage, but when distaster strikes SERVPRO of The Southtowns can restore important documents to a usable condition to keep your business running smoothly. 

These are medial documents at a doctors office where a small fire caused a great deal of soot damage. We are HEPA compliant and were able to deodorize and restore these documents while keeping the files in compliance. 

As experts in deodorization, SERVPRO of The Southtowns is trained to identify and eliminate offensive odors. These odors can come from a number of sources both inside and outside a structure.

SERVPRO teaches IICRC technical classes in the proper removal of odors. Masking and other short cuts don't work when your odor problem is serious or persistent.

We have the training and equipment to identify and eliminate these offensive odors. By identifying the cause of the odor and determining the conditions in which it contact any surfaces, the odor can often be removed over time without a trace. Our technicians have access to several odor removal products capable of penetrating surfaces to neutralize an unpleasant odor thoroughly.

The science of identifying and eliminating odors can be a tricky thing, so give us a call, and leave the restoration to us.

Debunking a Major Misconception

3/9/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Debunking a Major Misconception Having a professional on scene to assess the damage quickly can be the difference between hundreds of dollars vs. thousands of dollars

A general misconception among people that have suffered fire and/or water damage is that, "It is less expensive to replace rather than to restore." However, professional technicians at SERVPRO of The Southtowns are trained to see beyond the misconceptions. 

The mitigation process of cleaning yields excellent results at a cost-effective price. Mitigation stops further damage and reduces the loss, while restoration puts the damaged items back to their preloss condition. For ultimate results, mitigation needs to begin within twenty-four hours of a loss. Any delay will complicate or, may devalue the mitigation effort. In order to guarantee the removal of smoke odor, all of the contaminated areas need to be cleaned, deodorized and possibly sealed (where applicable). Also, all odor molecules, whether airborne or absorbed, need to be neutralized.


Our SERVPRO professionals utilize testing and measuring equipment to ensure that the moisture content has been returned to normal standards. Thus, preventing a multi-thousand dollar mold claim in the future, caused by ineffective drying. State-of-the-art meters and sensors allow us to document and record data that justifies equipment usage, as well as allow us to know when to safely remove it.


Only the professionals at SERVPRO of The Southtowns can make it "Like it never even happened."

Space Heater Safety Tips

11/30/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Space Heater Safety Tips Space Heater Safety Tips

It is going to be cold in WNY for the next week, here are some great space heater safety tips to prevent fires.

Electric space heaters are generally more expensive to operate than combustion space heaters, but they are the only unvented space heaters that are safe to operate inside your home. Although electric space heaters avoid indoor air quality concerns, they still pose burn and fire hazards and should be used with caution.

1. Place heater on a hard, level surface

2. Turn heater off when you leave

3. Keep heater 3 ft. from the nearest object

4. Avoid using extension cords

5. Look for heaters with tip over and over heat protection

6. Keep heaters away from water and flammable items such as papers, blankets, and curtains. 

Educating yourself about the safety hazards that come with the improper use of portable heaters will help you achieve better peace of mind as you keep your home warm, comfortable, and fire hazard-free this winter.

Chimney Fires Cause Over $120 Million in Damage

11/29/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Chimney Fires Cause Over $120 Million in Damage Chimney fires account for over $120 million in damage every year.

Did you know chimney fires account for over $120 million in damage every year? As you prepare for colder winter months, be sure to get your chimney cleaned.

If you do experience fire damage in your home, here are some Do and Don't tips: 

DO:

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas until cleaning is complete.
  • Blow or brush vacuum, loose soot particles from upholstery, drapes, and carpets.
  • Wash house plants on both sides of leaves.
  • Clean and protect chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim and appliances.
  • Change HVAC filter.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to prevent redistribution of soot from ducts.

DON’T:

  • Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces.
  • Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstery.
  • Send garments to ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.

Choosing the Appropriate Fire Extinguisher

9/15/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Choosing the Appropriate Fire Extinguisher Know your fire extinguisher

Know your fire extinguisher! Using the proper type of extinguisher saves lives.

Class A: This is the most common extinguisher and can e used to put out fires in ordinary combustibles such as cloth, wood, rubber, paper and many plastics.

Class B: Used on fires involving flammable liquids, such as grease, gasoline and oil.

Class C: Designed for fires involving appliances, tools, or other equipment electronically energized or plugged in.

Class D: For use on flammable metals: often specific for they type of metal in question. These are typically found only in factories working with these metals. 

Class K: Intended for use on fires that involve vegetable oils, animal oils, or fats in cooking appliances. These extinguishers are generally found in commercial kitchens, but are becoming more popular in residential market for use in kitchens. 

Fire Damage Tips

6/19/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Fire Damage Tips "Soot Webs" may form from very hot fires

Have you ever experienced something like this? After a fire "soot webs" may form, this is a reaction of the heat and smoke, not the result of poor house keeping. Always call your SERVPRO of The Southowns professionals before attempting to clean fire damage yourself.

Fire and Smoke - Home Emergency Tips

DO:

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets
  • Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further spoil upholstery, walls, and woodwork
  • Blow or brush vacuum loose soot particles from upholstery, drapes, and carpets
  • Place old towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery, and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and  refrigerator completely and prop doors open
  • Clean and protect chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim and appliances with a light coating of Vaseline or oil.
  • Wash house plants on both sides of leaves
  • Change HVAC filter
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers

DON’T:

  • Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting your SERVPRO Professional
  • Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting your SERVPRO Professional
  • Attempt to clean any electrical appliances, TV sets, radios, etc that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service
  • Use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water. (They may be contaminated.)
  • Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. Wiring may be wet or damaged.
  • Send garments to ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor. 

Ultra Content Cleaner

3/3/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Ultra Content Cleaner Ultra Content Cleaner is an environmentally friendly, bio-based detergent

All of the products we use at SERVPRO are specially formulated, in house, to work based on 50 years of experience in the restoration industry.

Product Spot Light

Ultra Content Cleaner is an environmentally friendly, bio-based detergent designed to clean Fire Damaged Contents. It contains a proprietary blend of detergents and surfactants designed to be tough on soot and contains exclusive deodorizing components to help break down, neutralize and remove smoke odor particles while leaving a fresh lemon fragrance.

Trust the experts for 50 years in fire damage restoration. SERVPRO of The Southtowns is committed to the best products, the best people, and the best training so we can make fire damage "Like it never even happened."

24/7, 365 days a year, fire knows no rest, so neither do we.  

Bethlehem Steel fire in Lackawanna, NY

11/14/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Bethlehem Steel fire in Lackawanna, NY The fire at Bethlehem Steel blacked skies and distributed ash for many miles

I am dashing you off a quick note to offer our hope that all of our friends in the Lackawanna, Blasdell, and South Buffalo areas stay safe from the ongoing Bethlehem Steel fire. The damage is far reaching as all the way here in Hamburg we are experiencing soot falling into our parking lots.

Please know that we are giving top priority to any customers who call us needing soot clean up and deodorization due to this event.

This can be a stressful situation for families as their lives and sense of safety is being invaded by a force outside of their control. We will work with the community closely to put all those effected at ease and get them back to normal as quickly as possible.

Fire damage restoration is our specialty and we have the experience to deal with any unique situations that arise. Please feel free to call me with any specific questions.

Buffalo Smoke and Soot Cleanup

9/6/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Buffalo Smoke and Soot Cleanup Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Buffalo Home.

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 The Southtowns 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 – 716-646-6684

Winter Fires

2/26/2016 (Permalink)

Did you know over $2 billion in property loss occurs from winter fires? Will you be prepared if it happens to you?

Most home fires are preventable, but sometimes common sense isn't so common. According to the National Fire Protection Association, it's not too early to protect your loved ones and your home from fire damage, by simply following sensible suggestions.

1. Have your furnace checked

2. Have your chimneys and vents checked

3. Test smoke alarms. Make sure batteries are fresh. Place smoke alarms in the kitchen, laundry room and in bedrooms.

4. Cover the fireplace with a screen

5. Beware of lit candles.

6. Beware of space heaters

7. Know how to put out kitchen fires quickly. Water doesn't help a greasefire, which can get out of control. Keep salt and baking soda on hand to sprinkle liberally on pan fires. Keep lids handy to put on top of pots and pans that get too hot.

8. Practice an escape route. Businesses have fire drills, your family should, too. 

9. Fire extinguishers can be life-savers. Store one under the kitchen sink, and in the hall closet near the bedrooms. Make sure you use the correct setting -- A for paper, wood and trash; B for grease and flammable liquids; C for small electrical fires.

10. All household members should know 911.

Space Heater Safety Tips

2/10/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Space Heater Safety Tips Space Heater Safety Tips

It is going to be cold in WNY for the next week, here are some great space heater safety tips to prevent fires.

Electric space heaters are generally more expensive to operate than combustion space heaters, but they are the only unvented space heaters that are safe to operate inside your home. Although electric space heaters avoid indoor air quality concerns, they still pose burn and fire hazards and should be used with caution.

1. Place heater on a hard, level surface

2. Turn heater off when you leave

3. Keep heater 3 ft. from the nearest object

4. Avoid using extension cords

5. Look for heaters with tip over and over heat protection

6. Keep heaters away from water and flammable items such as papers, blankets, and curtains. 

Educating yourself about the safety hazards that come with the improper use of portable heaters will help you achieve better peace of mind as you keep your home warm, comfortable, and fire hazard-free this winter.

Fire Damage

1/25/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Fire Damage Soot Webs occur from very hot fires

Have you ever experienced something like this? After a fire "soot webs" may form, this is a reaction of the heat and smoke, not the result of poor house keeping. Always call your SERVPRO of The Southowns professionals before attempting to clean fire damage yourself.

Fire and Smoke - Home Emergency Tips

DO:

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being imbedded into upholstery and carpets
  • Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further spoil upholstery, walls, and woodwork
  • Blow or brush vacuum loose soot particles from upholstery, drapes, and carpets
  • Place old towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery, and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and  refrigerator completely and prop doors open
  • Clean and protect chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim and appliances with a light coating of Vaseline or oil.
  • Wash house plants on both sides of leaves
  • Change HVAC filter
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers

DON’T:

  • Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting your SERVPRO Professional
  • Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting your SERVPRO Professional
  • Attempt to clean any electrical appliances, TV sets, radios, etc that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service
  • Use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water. (They may be contaminated.)
  • Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. Wiring may be wet or damaged.
  • Send garments to ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor. 

Throw Back to the 90's

1/19/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Throw Back to the 90's MCC Fire in science lab

MCC Fire in science lab circa the mid 1990s. Do you see Lyn and Thom Braun?! 

SERVPRO of The Southtowns has been performing fire and water restoration under the ownership to Thom and Lyn since 1995 and we continue to be dedicated to ongoing training. 

All of our crew and staff have weekly training on equipment and procedures to keep knowledge fresh and up to date. In an ever changing industry we provide IICRC certification in Water Damage Restoration and Fire Restoration. Our crews are also NYS Mold Remediation certified and Lead abatement certified. 

It is important for us that all of the SERVPRO of The Southtowns staff is well educated in not only fire and water restoration but also safety procedures to protect themselves and their team mates in what can include hazardous situations.