Recent Fire Damage Posts

Steps To Clean Smoke and Soot after a Fire

5/21/2020 (Permalink)

A fire can be a disastrous experience to endure, and the destruction can be devastating. Extinguishing the blaze is only the first step toward recovery, and you will need to move quickly to begin the cleanup process to avoid incurring even more losses. If your home in La Habra, CA, has been damaged by fire, follow these steps to sanitize your residence and minimize smoke damage.

Make a Plan

You will need to decide whether to tackle the cleanup process on your own or call in the professionals. Consider a few factors to help you make the right choice.

  • Size of the fire
  • Type of fire
  • Exposure Time

If you’re dealing with a large fire that means that damage from soot and smoke can be intensive. The types of materials that were burned can also play a role in the level of difficulty in restoring your home. The length of time your belongings have been exposed to smoke is also important, and the more time passes, the more complex the cleanup can be.

Ventilate the Home

Open all the windows and doors as soon as possible after smoke damage and use fans to increase the airflow. You may even need to remove window screens to maximize the amount of fresh air inside.

Clean and Deodorize

All fabrics and upholstery may need to be washed or dry cleaned to remove lingering odors. All solid surfaces can be to be sanitized, and your HVAC will likely need attention, as well. This can be a long and tedious endeavor, but it’s essential to clean everything thoroughly to reduce smoke and soot damage.

Repaint the Walls

It may be necessary to apply new paint to the walls of your home to ensure proper smoke cleaning. Be sure to wash the walls first, and let them dry completely.

If you don’t feel prepared for the task of cleaning and sanitizing, or your problems are persisting, contact a fire restoration service to help you avoid soot and smoke damage and return your home back to normal.

How to Trouble Shoot a Chirping Smoke Detector

2/24/2020 (Permalink)

Hands changing the battery of a smoke detector Change the battery of your smoke detector

Common Causes of Smoke Detector Malfunction

Smoke detectors are lifesavers, but they can also make irritating sounds when something is off. That is especially true for fire alarms that are powered by electricity and battery backup. The problem could be anything, including an open battery drawer or the end of its life. Either way, you need to sort it out fast.
Common causes of smoke detector malfunction in Fullerton, CA include:

  • Stuck Error Codes
  • Dead batteries
  • Obstructed terminals

Remove Error Codes

Some smoke detectors feature a simple computer that can make decisions, send notifications and store data. However, this “smartness” can also work against it. Error codes might stick in the device’s memory, making it produce the annoying chirp for no reason. To fix this, first, turn off the electricity at the circuit breaker then remove the device from its bracket. Go ahead and disconnect the power cord and also get rid of the battery. Press and hold the test button for 15-20 seconds then reassemble it. That should prevent fire and smoke damage in that particular room.

Change the Battery

Generally, fire alarm batteries can last six months. When they die, the device produces a chirping sound in 1-minute intervals. To get rid of this problem, retrieve the machine using the method described above, then open the battery compartment. Check how the battery sits in that slot first, then go ahead and copy the setup before returning it to its original form.

Clean the Smoke Detector

Sometimes, a smoke detector might not be getting full access to the battery due to an obstruction. To fix this, clean any dirt or debris on the terminals and vents then reinstall it. That will make sure the alarm goes off at the appropriate time to prevent costly fire damage.
There’s no doubt the fire alarm is one of the greatest inventions. Yet, they sometimes fail, leaving your home at a higher risk of a fire hazard. That’s why you need to know how to troubleshoot and fix them.

3 Ways To Keep Your Gas Range Clean

11/27/2019 (Permalink)

dirty range top Keep your range clean to prevent a kitchen fire

If you have a gas range in your home in La Habra, CA, you know that it makes cooking a breeze. However, cleaning your gas stove can be a major pain. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep your range clean.

1. Take Out and Soak Your Burners

Dust, grease, crumbs and more can all collect on top of and underneath your burners. However, you can easily access this area by gently lifting up the burners once your stove is off. Cleaning the top of your burners should be easy once the burners have been lifted. After you've cleaned the top of the burners, you may find it easiest to use pins or small brushes to remove anything still left underneath.

2. Avoid Grease Build-Up

With how frequently you use your stovetop, it's often easy for grease to build-up on your stovetop. Unfortunately, grease fires can cause major damage to homes, and homeowners may find it useful to contact emergency restoration services if a grease fire affects their home. Even if grease doesn't necessarily cause a fire, however, it can cause a smoke smell in your home. You can avoid the build-up of grease, however, by wiping off your gas stove after each use and using warm soapy water and a cloth to scrub off stubborn stains that won't budge.

3. Remove and Clean Your Grates

Though you likely don't focus too intently on your grates when cooking, it's important not to forget about your stovetop's grates when cleaning your range. It's often easiest to clean your grates after removing them from the stovetop first. Then, you can let your grates soak in warm soapy water. If your grates still aren't clean after soaking, you can use a brush to remove any leftover grime.

Range cleaning doesn't have to be a chore. You can keep your gas range clean by taking out and soaking the stove burners, avoiding the build-up of grease, and removing and cleaning the stove grates.

Fire Prevention and Preparation Tips

10/9/2019 (Permalink)

Close up of replacing battery in domestic smoke alarm Change the batteries in your smoke detector regularly

Fire Prevention and Preparation Tips

Fire damage to a house can be extensive. It's not just the flames and smoke that can harm a house, either. The water used to put out the fire can also cause major destruction.
A fire cleanup company can help restore your Fullerton, CA, home after an emergency. Yet the best way to avoid damage to your house is to prevent a fire from occurring. Below are some fire preparation and prevention tips:

Use Space Heaters Properly

Space heaters are a common cause of house fires. Make sure that any flammable items are kept at least three feet away from space heaters and other hot objects. You should turn off these space heaters when you are sleeping, as well.

Cook Safely

The kitchen is another common source of home fires. You should thus stay in your kitchen while grilling, frying or broiling. You should also keep flammable items such as towels and potholders away from the stove.
Be sure to have a fire preparation strategy in case flames appear in the kitchen. If a fire does appear on a hot pan, keep the pan in place to prevent the fire from spreading. Instead, put a lid on the pan and turn off the burner.

Keep Your Home Protected

Change the batteries in your smoke detector regularly. If a home fire does occur, a smoke alarm can alert you to the blaze. Keep your house number visible from the street so firefighters can find your residence quickly.
You should also set up a fire preparation plan. Make sure that all of your family members know how to get out of each room in the event of an emergency. You should also set up a meeting place a safe distance from your home.
Teach your kids about fire safety, as well. Finally, get the contact information for your local fire damage cleanup company so you can call them as soon as the flames are out. Restoration professionals can repair any damage that does occur to your home.

Fire and Smoke Cleanup Methods Used by Experts

7/18/2019 (Permalink)

Ozone generator

When your La Habra, CA, home is on fire, the first step is safely evacuating. The second step is calling the fire department. Eventually, however, the flames will be gone, and you'll have to face the resulting fire damage, including smoke stains and layers of ash. Fortunately, fire damage cleanup is possible. Methods such as dry-cleaning and content storage help get the job done. However, handling fire cleanup on your own isn't advisable.

  • Smoke inhalation is a safety hazard.
  • Smoke carries harmful chemicals into the air.
  • Amateur cleanup efforts often increase damage to the home.
  • Homeowners don't have the right equipment or training to deep clean the home and furnishings.

Fortunately, content cleaning experts do have the right training and supplies to address even hidden fire damage concerns.

Dry Cleaning

The dry-cleaning process gets fabrics clean without the use of water. Instead, clothes are soaked in a liquid solvent. The products used by commercial cleaners act safely and quickly, sometimes providing results in less than an hour. This method of cleaning is used for better results than you'd get from throwing your furnishings into your own washer and dryer.

Ozone or Hydroxyl

A lingering odor of smoke is common after a fire. Unfortunately, this is because particulates get caught in fibers throughout your home. Professionals use machines that generate ozone or hydroxyl to kill the bacteria causing those odors.

Specialized Additives

Fragile textiles, such as antique rugs, must be handled with care. Professionals may use special additives in their cleaning supplies that break up smoke molecules. These products are used in restoring carpets, furniture, drapes, and clothing. They are a valuable resource in the hands of fire damage cleanup professionals.

One of the most important reasons to hire professionals from a smoke and fire damage company is avoiding further destruction. It's easy to make mistakes when handling fragile and damaged belongings. Instead, hire professionals with methods such as dry-cleaning and the use of specialized products to protect and restore your home.

Dealing With Smoke Damage to Your Building

6/27/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke damage might require special cleaning agents or even structural rebuilding

Smoke can quickly and thoroughly pervade your commercial building in Fullerton, CA, often causing more damage than is apparent. Smoke damage might require special cleaning agents or even structural rebuilding. That's why it's always a wise idea to contact commercial building restoration professionals. They can provide the professional smoke cleaning necessary to get your business back on its feet quickly.

What To Do While Waiting For Your Restoration Professionals

There are several things you can do to mitigate smoke and soot damage while waiting on the arrival of your restoration professionals:

  • Help reduce the fumes by first airing out the building.
  • Keep hands clean to avoid additional soiling to upholstery, walls, and woodwork.
  • Change the HVAC filter and cover vents with a damp, loosely woven material, such as cheesecloth, to capture any loose soot in the air.

Because improper cleaning can increase the damage caused by soot residue, do not wash the walls.

What To Expect From Your Restoration Professionals

Your commercial restoration professionals will closely inspect your building to determine the extent of the soot and smoke damage and to develop a plan of action. The plan often involves the following:

  • Missing windows and walls are boarded up.
  • Damaged roofs are covered with tarps.
  • Standing water is removed.
  • Dehumidifiers and air movers are strategically placed to complete the drying process.
  • Smoke and soot are removed with specialized equipment.
  • The property is cleaned and sanitized using cleaning methods that will have your property looking “Like it never even happened.”

The final step is to restore your building to the condition it was in before the fire occurred, from minor repairs such as repainting and installing new carpet to major reconstruction of damaged areas.

Soot and smoke damage can take time away from your business. However, knowing how to respond quickly can help you get back to focusing on your work in minimum time.

Key Steps in the Fire Cleanup Process

5/21/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot damage in a Fullerton, CA home

A house fire can be a devastating event. You could face bodily harm and costly damages to your property and possessions. There is also lots of work to be done after a fire, including taking care of smoke damage and restoring your home to the pre-disaster state. With the proper approach, you can pick up the pieces and rebuild effectively.

Your Initial Responsibilities

Dealing with something as terrible as a fire and smoke damage in your home can be a shocking experience. Is important to keep a level head and respond appropriately. Once crews extinguish the fire, you should do the following:

  • Take inventory of the damage.
  • Contact your insurance agent and provide pictures.
  • Get in touch with a fire cleanup specialist.

Removal of Soot

Fires often leave particles of carbon and tar, known as soot, behind. It can find its way onto any surface or object such as furniture, walls, carpet, hardwood or electronics. Soot damage can cause severe health problems such as respiratory issues and even has a connection to cancer and heart disease. A professional fire cleanup crew will come to your Fullerton, CA, home and use specialized techniques to safely remove the soot. There are some do-it-yourself remedies such as water and vinegar.

Smoke Cleanup

The smell of smoke can be unbearable. It can also discolor walls, tarnish metals and corrode objects. It’s important to handle smoke cleaning quickly to avoid excessive damage. The professionals will deodorize the carpets and furniture to help get rid of the smell. They’ll also use potent chemicals to prevent the spreading of the smell.

Structure Cleanup

Fire restoration teams will also do a thorough cleaning of your home’s structure, including the roof and siding. In some cases, this may require rebuilding or replacing parts of the home.

Smoke damage isn’t something anyone wants to deal with, but if you find yourself in this situation, make sure to call a professional. A qualified expert will help you return your home to normal.

Fire Damage in your La Habra Home

4/10/2019 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO of La Habra, we pride ourselves in making the fire damage restoration experience a stress free situation for our clients.

Fire damage can come as a shock. At SERVPRO of La Habra, we pride ourselves in making the fire damage restoration experience a stress free situation for our clients. We work with all insurance companies. 

As soon as the fire is put out, give us a call. As soon as we can begin the restoration process, the sooner we can get you back into your home. 

Your belongings will have soot and smoke damage. SERVPRO will pack up all your damaged items and take them back to our cleaning facility to remove soot and get rid of the smoke smell. 

If you have any questions about our fire damage restoration services or need services to your home or business, feel free to give us a call. 

Steps of Furnace Maintenance

12/19/2018 (Permalink)

Keep your furnace in Fullerton,CA maintained for best results

Steps of Furnace Maintenance

Every year, before cold weather sets in, your home needs to be prepared for the change in temperatures. This preparation includes furnace maintenance. Proper preventative maintenance helps you avoid the need for fire cleaning later. Fire restoration experts recommend professional maintenance on your furnace, particularly before the air outside gets colder. Here are the steps the technicians are likely to take to get you ready for winter.

1. Vacuum the Interior

Dust can get trapped in your furnace, and when that happens, it may smoke. If the furnace is turned on, you may need smoke cleaning in addition to maintenance. Technicians in Fullerton, CA, may start your seasonal maintenance by vacuuming out the interior of your furnace.

2. Inspect the Fan Belt

The belt in your furnace keep it running smoothly, but it also endures a lot of friction. As a result, it can wear out over time, becoming loose or cracked. A good fan belt will be taut and intact. If it shows any sign of wear, the technicians can replace it so that it doesn’t slip.

3. Lubricate Bearings

Fire cleaning may be necessary later if your furnace is not properly lubricated. Some models don’t require this step, but if your furnace is an older model, it may not have permanently sealed bearings. For it to run well, the bearings need to be lubricated.

4. Change the Air Filter

The air filter to your furnace should be changed at the beginning of the season. If you are not familiar with the filter’s placement in your furnace, it is a good idea to have the technician show you how to change it, as it may need to be changed as often as once a month during periods of heavy use.

You can avoid smoke hazards and the fire cleaning expenses that come with it when you have your furnace maintained by a qualified professional before cold weather arrives. Start the season right by making sure these steps are covered.

Pets and Fire Safety

10/24/2018 (Permalink)

Remember to include your pets in your fire escape plan

In the event of a home fire emergency, it pays to be prepared. That goes for keeping your pets secure, too. But what do you need to have ready for pets in the event of a La Habra,CA, fire? Having these three things ready in case something happens will help you be in a position of better pet safety.

1. Disaster Kit

You should always have a disaster kit ready for your pets in case a fire should start. This can resemble a human’s disaster kit, but you should research the specific supplies that are necessary to care for your pet’s special needs in a crisis.

2. Evacuation Plan

During a fire emergency, an evacuation plan for your pets is an important element of pet preparation to have in place. Practice removing your pets when you simulate your escape plan, and make sure to have a safe space ready if you need to shelter your pets elsewhere after evacuating your home.

3. Important Records

Pet vaccination and ownership records need to be easily accessible in the event of a disaster in the home. Keep these documents in a fire box so they will not get ruined by flames or smoke damage. If a firefighter or other rescuer finds your pets, these papers will help him or her to understand what the animals’ individual needs and histories are.

Remember, you always need to protect yourself and your family members before attempting to rescue a pet, and you should never let an animal delay your escape time. No one wants to think about a fire emergency at home, and it can be stressful to figure out how to take care of pets in such a time. However, being prepared with the steps above and researching methods of better pet safety will allow you to react more calmly under pressure should a fire occur.

Landlords and Tenants – After a Fire, Who Pays for What?

8/20/2018 (Permalink)

Apartment fire damage

Sadly, fires happen when they are least expected. Apartment fires, high-rise blazes, and even warehouse infernos can leave tenants without homes and businesses without operation potential. Fires can be destructive, deadly, frustrating, and confusing. One of the biggest questions after fire damage has spread through a commercial building is, “Who pays for the damage, the landlord or the tenant?” Even the building owner can be confused about who has what rights after an apartment fire in La Habra, CA.

Types of Damage

There are two types of damage a building most often sustains during and after a fire.

• Structural damage
• Content damage

Structural damage refers to the actual brick and mortar construction of the building and property owned by the landlord. The second type of damage, content damage, denotes the contents inside the structure that were damaged by both the fire and the chemicals or water used to fight the fire.

Structural Damage

Since the landlord owns the apartment building, office structure, or warehouse, it seems reasonable and responsible to expect him or her to have insurance on the structure. This insurance covers only the actual structure, grounds, and company owned possessions for that building, and typically does not cover any of the tenant’s possessions.

Content Damage

Personal possessions of the tenant, business, or leasee are under the legal protection of that person or company. They are responsible for providing renter’s insurance or business coverage in case of an apartment fire, unexpected flood, or numerous other possible acts of destruction. Depending on the type of insurance purchased, the goods can be protected anywhere from 80 percent of their value up to and including total replacement value. In addition, the insurance policy can often cover restoration and cleanup charges.

If an apartment fire affects someone you know, help them locate their insurance policy and then contact their insurance agent. The fire may have only been a weekend inconvenience, or it could be a life-altering event. What they may need more than anything is a good friend and a steady shoulder.

For more on La Habra click here. 

4 Things To Throw Away After a House Fire

7/19/2018 (Permalink)

Few things can be as devastating as a house fire and the long-term effects it can render. After firefighters have cleared your home, you may be left to face the difficult decisions of which personal belongings can be salvaged and which you must throw away. Rather than risk the potential health effects that fire damaged items can create, here are four items you should immediately throw away:

1. Perishable and Non-Perishable Food

Unfortunately, the high heat of a house fire can activate bacteria within the sealed cans and jars of non-perishable foods. Fumes from smoke or firefighting chemicals can infiltrate containers as well, meaning any items that have been exposed to these elements should be thrown away.

2. Burned Clothing

Textile items such as clothing, bedding or other linens frequently can be cleaned and disinfected after a house fire. However, the chemicals contained in smoke and soot could not only irritate the skin upon contact but could create health concerns from inhalation. Thus, it is safer to throw out any singed or burnt clothing and textiles.

3. Medicine

High heat, smoke, soot and even water from firefighting efforts can all alter the potency of your medications. Rather than risk the effects of altered medicine, it is strongly recommended all prescription and over-the-counter medication exposed to the elements of a house fire be thrown away.

4. Cosmetics

The various minerals that come in contact with your skin through cosmetics are also at a high-risk for being impacted by the damaging effects of a fire. Products could be altered by the high heat, or soot deposits could render them unsafe. Any items that appear warped or covered in soot should be thrown out.

Fire damage in your La Habra, CA home can create a world of difficult decisions for your health and happiness. Remember to keep safety in mind, and throw away any items exposed to flames, smoke or water. Finally, consider the expertise of fire restoration specialists that may provide the peace of mind you need to rebuild your home to its pre-fire condition. Visit for more information on fire damage. 

SERVPRO of Whittier can help with your Fire Damage

3/13/2015 (Permalink)

Here is a picture of a house that unfortunately caught fire. We were able to help the family move back into their home in no time!

Have you had recent fire damage?  SERVPRO of Whittier is here to help!  SERVPRO Of Whittier has certified Technicians and Crew Chiefs to help with any fire damage--big or small!

SERVPRO of Whittier not only helps with residential, we also help small or large commercial businesses get back on their feet.  So if you have had a recent fire or water damage in your business or commercial building, do not hesitate to give us a call for an inspection.  We are here 24/7 for all emergency services.  Give us a call at (562) 698-5368.