Recent Fire Damage Posts

Fire Restoration 101: Levels of Fire Damage

8/4/2022 (Permalink)

residential fire SERVPRO of Gurnee is here to help answer your questions and restore your home to its preloss condition.

Levels of Fire Damage

Not all fires end with the same amount or level of damage. Fire damage is categorized into three different levels: minor, moderate, and major.  The trained professionals at SERVPRO of Gurnee will assess your damage and provide a plan of action to restore each unique fire loss.

Minor Fire Damage

  • Smoke residue is light and contained to certain rooms or areas. 
  • Restoration may involve dry cleaning and/or wet cleaning of ceilings, walls, floors and contents. 
  • Areas may need to be repainted, and minimal items may need to be replaced. 

Moderate Fire Damage

  • Smoke residue is moderate, and more materials require wet cleaning. 
  • Multiple areas require repainting, and the number of items requiring replacement multiplies.
  • Floors may require refinishing. 
  • Heat damage requires more materials to be replaced. 
  • Smoke orders are noticeable and the structure may require additional deodorization.  

Major Fire Damage

  • Smoke residue is present through a large portion of the structure.  
  • Smoke odor is much stronger, even overwhelming. 
  • Heat damage is severe.
  • Structural framing and finishes may be charred, requiring structural repairs. 
  • Emergency services are needed.  These include boarding up, establishing a source of electricity, winterizing the building in cold weather, and removing smoke-filled and charred debris.
  • Restoration will require extensive cleaning of the structure.
  • Contents that are salvageable will be moved off-site for cleaning.  
  • Multiple methods of deodorization are needed to remove smoke odors.

A fire of any size is one of the most devastating events a home or business owner can encounter. Each smoke and fire damage situation is different, and each requires a unique solution.  SERVPRO of Gurnee has the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore fire and smoke damage.  It is our number one priority to treat your family with respect and your property with care.  Call us today at 847-838-2954 for a no cost assessment.

Fire Restoration 101: Types of Soot

6/4/2022 (Permalink)

black soot webs appear similar to spider webs spread across the ceiling of a home It's not poor housekeeping! These are soot webs caused by wet soot formed during a house fire.

There are three different types of soot: wet, dry, and protein. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Gurnee will test the soot to determine which type of damage occurred. The cleaning procedure we use will then be based on the information identified during pretesting.

Wet Soot - Plastic and Rubber

  • Low Heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Creates smoke webs that are more difficult to clean.
  • Example: plastics, synthetics, household fires

Dry Soot - Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
  • Example: organic materials, wildfires

Protein Soot - Food products

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 
  • Example: grease or food, kitchen fires

A fire is one of the most devastating events a home or business owner can encounter. Each smoke and fire damage situation is different, and each requires a unique solution for the specific situation.  SERVPRO of Gurnee has the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore fire and smoke damage.  It is our number one priority to treat your family with respect and your property with care.

Call SERVPRO of Gurnee today at 847-838-2954 for a free inspection to assess your unique situation.

Fire Restoration 101: Pretesting

4/4/2022 (Permalink)

After a fire why is pretesting so important?

At SERVPRO of Gurnee, fire damage professionals use pretesting to determine the scope of the loss, type of fire loss, and the method of cleaning for areas that have been affected. This process also helps determine what items are restorable or repairable vs. those items that will need to be replaced. 

Factors determined by pretesting:

  • Cleaning Method
  • Condition of Surface
  • Level of Soil
  • Type of Soil
  • Pre-Existing Conditions

Pretesting helps to ensure our customers are back into their home as soon as possible, within a realistically accurate time estimate. For help 24/7/365, call on the professionals at SERVPRO of Gurnee today at 847-838-2954.  We are here to help.

Fire Restoration 101: Safety First

2/4/2022 (Permalink)

kitchen after fire House fires have many sources. This one was caused in a kitchen by a dishwasher malfunction.

After your fire has been put out you may be left with the question, “What should I do next?”  SERVPRO of Gurnee can help.  We will walk you through your next steps. Safety is our number one concern until help arrives, so here are some basic do’s and don'ts:

Do:

  • Limit movement in damaged areas
  • Keep your hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls, and woodwork
  • If the electricity is off, empty the freezer and refrigerator completely.  Prop doors open to help prevent odor.

Don't:

  • Don’t touch contaminated surfaces
  • Don’t attempt to clean walls, carpet, contents, or other contaminated surfaces
  • Don’t use food, cosmetics, or mediations exposed to soot.
  • Don’t send clothing to ordinary cleaner; improper cleaning may set odors

No one wants to experience a fire in their home or business.  If you experience this and need help, please give us a call at 847-838-2954.  SERVPRO of Gurnee has the expertise and experience to assist you in the cleanup and restoration of your property.  We are here to help!

Christmas Tree Safety in Northern Lake County IL Homes

11/29/2021 (Permalink)

christmas tree and fireplace U.S. firefighters respond to roughly 200 Christmas tree fires per year. Follow these tips to stay safe this holiday season.

Don’t let a house fire disrupt your holidays.  The most common sources of winter holiday fires are live Christmas trees and holiday decorations that are too close to a heat source, candles, and cooking fires.  Although these fires are rare, they do occur, and they can be destructive and deadly.  The following are a few tips to help make your Holidays safe from fire.

When purchasing a live Christmas tree, safety starts before you even head to the tree lot.  If you live in a condo or apartment, there is likely a restriction against live Christmas trees.  Be sure to check with your HOA or management company for any rules or restrictions before choosing a tree.  At the tree lot, look for a fresh, green tree!

Checking Your Tree

  • Bend the needles.  If they break, the tree has probably already dried out.
  • Grip a branch and slide your fist down it.  Most of the needles should stay on the tree.
  • Check the trunk, especially at the bottom where it’s cut.  It should be covered in sap and sticky to the touch.
  • Shake the tree.  If green needles fall everywhere, it’s too dry.

Before bringing the tree inside, shake it to dislodge loose needles or other debris.  Prior to placing it in the tree holder, make a fresh cut off the bottom of the trunk.  A freshly cut trunk will absorb water more effectively.  Use a tree holder that’s wide and strong enough to keep the tree stable.  

It is also very important to take care of your tree once it is inside.  Fill the holder with water as soon as you set your tree up.  Then, check it every day.  It needs to stay full!

Additional Tips

  • Place your tree away from heat sources, especially open flame heat sources.
  • Don’t block exit routes with your tree.
  • Use only lighting approved by a nationally recognized laboratory such as UL.
  • Check all lighting for frayed wires.
  • Don’t leave the lights on when the tree is unattended.
  • When the tree dries out, discard it immediately.

With these safety tips, your holiday can be fun and enjoyable for your family and your guests.  Please contact your local fire department for questions about fire safety and make sure you have a working fire and carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home.

In the event you sustain fire or smoke damage from a decor mishap, please contact SERVPRO of Gurnee at 847-838-2954 for help.

Fall Fire Safety for Northern Lake County IL Homes and Businesses

11/24/2021 (Permalink)

smoke and smoke detector For more information on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, contact your local Fire Department or go to NFPA.org.

With the fall time change, remember to change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. This is an easy way to remember this task and to keep your detectors in working order, however this is not the only attention you need to give to these life saving devices.  The following are important facts regarding the use and installation of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.

Smoke Detectors

  1. Make sure smoke detectors are installed in every bedroom, outside sleeping area, and at least every floor of your home.
  2. Test your smoke detector every month.
  3. Have a plan when your smoke detector sounds to get out, account for everyone, and call 911.
  4. Replace smoke detectors every 10 years.  Many new smoke detectors have a 10 year sealed battery.  Make sure you test your detector to make sure it is working; if it is not, replace it.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

  1. Make sure carbon monoxide detectors are installed outside each sleeping area and have at least one on every floor level.  The law requires a carbon monoxide detector to be installed within 15 feet of every room used for sleeping purposes.
  2. Test your carbon monoxide detector every month. 
  3. Contact your local fire department when your carbon monoxide detector activates, move to fresh air outside, and make sure everyone in the home is accounted for.
  4. Replace carbon monoxide detectors every 10 years.

Furnaces

  1. Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths.
  2. Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  3. The leading factor contributing to home heating fires (25%) is failure to clean, principally from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.

When purchasing smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, make sure they have been rated by an approved agency such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).  Homes built within the last 20 years will have hard-wired smoke detectors located on each floor of the home.  When replacing these smoke detectors, make sure you use a licensed electrician to assure the work is performed according to applicable codes.

In the event you sustain damage in your home or business from smoke or fire, please contact SERVPRO of Gurnee at 847-838-2954 for a no-cost assessment.  We are always here to help.

Simple Tips for Cooking Fire Prevention in Your Northern Lake County Home

8/30/2021 (Permalink)

pan with lid and fire Cooking is the #1 cause of fires in homes.

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and fire related injury.  Here are a few steps from FEMA and the US Fire Administration to help keep your family safe while cooking:

Stand by your pan

If you leave the kitchen, turn the burner off

Watch what you are cooking

Fires start when the heat is too high.  If there are signs of smoke or boiling grease, turn off the burner

Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove

This way, no one can bump them or pull them over accidentally

Keep a pan lid or baking sheet nearby

Use it to cover the pan if it catches on fire.  This should help smother the fire.

In the event your home does sustain damage from fire or smoke, SERVPRO of Gurnee is here to help.  Our experienced technicians are standing by to restore your home.  Call us today at 847-838-2954 for a free assessment of your property damage.

Fire Sprinkler Systems: Myths and Facts

6/30/2021 (Permalink)

sprinkler head A home fire sprinkler can control or put out a fire with a fraction of the water that would be used by fire department hoses.

Automatic sprinkler systems have a proven track record of protecting life and property for over 100 years. However, there are still some common misconceptions about the operation and effectiveness of automatic fire sprinkler systems.  Source: American Fire Sprinkler Association

Myth: “A smoke detector provides enough protection.”

Fact: Smoke detectors save lives by providing an early warning to a smoke or fire incident, but can do nothing to extinguish a growing fire or protect those physically unable to escape on their own, such as the elderly or small children. Too often, battery operated smoke detectors fail to function because the batteries are dead or have been removed. As the percent of homes in America that were “protected” with smoke detectors increased from zero to more than 70%, the number of fire deaths in homes did not significantly decrease.

Myth: “Water damage from a sprinkler system will be more extensive than fire damage.”

Fact: Water damage from a building sprinkler system will be much less severe than the damage caused by water from fire fighting hose lines or smoke and fire damage if the fire is allowed to spread. Quick response sprinklers release 8-24 gallons of water per minute compared to 80-125 gallons per minute discharged by a fire hose.

Myth: “When a fire occurs, every sprinkler head goes off.”

Fact: Sprinkler heads are individually activated by fire temperatures in excess of 155°. Residential fires are usually controlled with one sprinkler head. 90% of all fires are controlled with six or fewer heads and a study conducted during 80 years of automatic sprinkler use found that 82% of the fires that have occurred were controlled by two or fewer sprinkler heads.

Myth: “Sprinklers are designed to protect property, but are not effective for life safety.”

Fact: Sprinklers provide a high level of life safety. Statistics reveal that there has never been any multiple loss of life in a fully sprinklered building. Property losses are 85% less in residences with fire sprinklers compared to those without sprinklers. The combination of automatic sprinklers and early warning systems in all buildings could reduce overall injuries, loss of life and property damage by at least 50%.

In the event that you do sustain fire or water damage, SERVPRO of Gurnee is Here to Help.  Call us today for a no-cost assessment of your property damage.  We are always available for your call at 847-838-2954.

Use of Hydroxyl Generators For Fire Restoration in Northern Lake County Homes

5/27/2021 (Permalink)

hydroxyl generator SERVPRO of Gurnee is available 24/7/365 to assist with your fire damage emergencies.

During a house fire, firefighters douse the interior of the home with thousands of gallons of water. This water soaks into walls, floors, and your belongings. After they put the fire out and no signs of hot areas pose additional threats to reignite the fire, the fire department’s personnel return to the station. Their job doesn't include removing the water or foam soaking into your residence.

The presence of so much water is why SERVPRO of Gurnee uses specific machinery to mitigate fire damage from homes in Northern Lake County. One of these choices involves our options regarding deodorizing equipment. Initial efforts to help make the air safer to breathe while we work on your home have the potential to bring about unexpected effects.

Ozone can cause permanent changes in the color of damp carpets, furniture, and other furnishings. Plants can also suffer drastically when ozone generators fill an area. We must wait until after one of our employees turns off the machine and then a bit longer to clear the air of ozone before we can enter the home. However, we do have a safer alternative with very few drawbacks.

We can safely use hydroxyl generators while we work, as well as in damp conditions. If you see us wearing masks or respirators as part of our personal protective equipment (PPE) while we work on mitigating the fire damage in your dwelling, this is because of the soot hanging in the air. Hydroxyl generators push hydrogen peroxide molecules into the air where they can interact with odor-causing particles at the molecular level.

The extra oxygen molecule turning plain water into hydrogen peroxide has a fragile bond with the water molecule, allowing the oxygen to form bonds with other substances. Our desiccant machines pull the water molecules produced by the breakdown of H2O2 as we remove the water hosed in during the fire. Ozone does not give us the flexibility to work as efficiently as hydroxyl generators provide.

SERVPRO of Gurnee wants to assure our customers that we strive to use the most efficient methods when mitigating fire damage. We are available for your call at 847-838-2954.

Northern Lake County Area Soot Clean Up

3/25/2021 (Permalink)

soot damage on brick wall Property fires are devastating events. At SERVPRO of Gurnee, we guide our customers through the complete process from start to finish.

After a fire, the damage by smoke and different types of smoke and soot residue can make cleanup complicated. It is important to understand the different types of smoke and soot.  The type of residue will greatly affect the restoration process.  The professionals at SERVPRO of Gurnee are well trained in identifying and cleaning these various varieties of damage.

Wet Smoke (Plastic and Rubber) 

Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky and 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 fire) 

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

Fuel Oil Soot (Furnace puff backs) 

While “puff backs” can create havoc for homeowners, in most cases the contents and structure are quickly restorable.

Other Types  (Tear gas, fingerprint powder, and fire extinguisher residue) 

Special loss situations require special care and a unique plan for restoration.

If you are in need of assistance after fire or other smoke damage, please don’t hesitate to call SERVPRO of Gurnee.  We are here to truly make it “Like it never even happened.”

Wood Burning Fireplace Safety in your Gurnee, IL Home

2/26/2021 (Permalink)

wood burning fireplace with brick hearth Wood burning fireplaces can help keep your home warm and create ambiance, but safety is of the utmost importance.

Fireplaces can make a home feel warm, cozy, and inviting as well as aid in heating your home.  Follow some of these simple safety tips to ensure your fireplace does not become a safety hazard.

Keep the damper closed when not using the fireplace

Be sure the damper closes tightly when the fireplace is dormant. If you plan on replacing the damper, consider investing in one that closes at the top of the chimney, as this type tends to offer more reliable moisture seal to the elements outside than those that close at the base of the flue.

Build a better fire

First, always make sure your damper moves freely and is open before starting a fire. When laying the firewood, use dry, cured hardwoods like oak, elm or maple. These will burn cleaner and longer than softwoods like pine, spruce and cedar. Some experts recommend that you hold a lit twisted piece of newspaper in the chimney to get warm air rising before lighting the kindling in your fire. Remember — never use liquid fire starters indoors.

Manufactured logs and kindling are also an option

Not only are they convenient, but they emit lower rates of pollutants, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Because they burn very hot, they should only be used one at a time.

Inspect the structure and flue

If it’s been awhile since your chimney sweep stopped by, do a quick walk around yourself, looking for structural integrity both inside and out of the fireplace. Be sure the mortar and bricks are in good shape.

Check the flue. You should be able to see daylight when you look up your flue. If not, there may be combustible material at the top, like a bird’s nest or leaves. Have the sweep inspect the issue.

Reduce creosote build-up

Creosote is that tar-like, flaky stuff that can lead to chimney fires. One of the easiest ways to reduce this buildup is to avoid green or wet wood. Also, building smaller fires can help since they produce less smoke, and in turn, less creosote.  Manufactured chimney “sweeping” logs that have chemicals in them to reduce certain types of creosote can help. Just remember that none of these replace the need for an annual chimney cleaning.

Use your fireplace tools

Standard fireplace tools consist of a poker, tongs, a broom and shovel. You may want to add a dust scoop and a good pair of gloves to your collection. These tools are there for your protection, but they only help you if they’re used consistently and correctly.

Practice smart hearth habits

Use a spark screen on top of the fireplace to keep burning embers from escaping up the chimney and a grate or glass doors on the front to keep sparks inside the wood box. A non-flammable rug adds even more protection for your floor.

Check your smoke detectors and fire extinguishers

Regularly checking your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is important. Why not tie that check into your first fire of the season maintenance routine?

Keep fire extinguishers handy. Be sure to have a few fully charged, annually-inspected fire extinguishers nearby and in plain sight. Store them near doorways leading into the area with the fireplace. Also, keep one near the fireplace itself, taking care to locate it in an area that will stay cool.

By keeping these fireplace safety tips top of mind, you’re ready to fire up your fireplace and make warm, cozy memories all winter long. If the unexpected happens, and you do experience damage in your home from excess smoke, soot, or fire, SERVPRO of Gurnee is here to help.  

6 Steps for Restoring Fire Damaged Properties in Northern Lake County

2/5/2021 (Permalink)

house on fire with flames and grey smoke shooting out SERVPRO of Gurnee can help restore your home or business after a fire of any size. We are here to help!

When one of our customers calls for fire damage restoration, the team at SERVPRO of Gurnee springs to action to help make it "Like it never even happened."  How do we do it?  Here is a six step breakdown of a standard fire mitigation.

Safety

Before any work can be completed, we must be certain that the structure is safe to enter.  Sometimes, a fire inspector must clear the site before any work may begin.

Inspection and Air Quality

Air quality is a major concern that will need to be addressed after a fire.  Air scrubbers and air movers are utilized to clean the air and help remove airborne particles that could otherwise continue attaching to and staining surfaces and causing lingering odor.  The restoration professional will then assess the work that needs to be completed next to mitigate water, smoke, and soot damage.

Debris Removal

Before any water or fire mitigation can begin, soot and debris must be removed from the structure.  Soot can cause additional damage the longer it remains on surfaces.  It should be removed as quickly as possible along with any debris that will impede the remaining cleanup process.  Soot and soot webs can be removed by sweeping and utilizing HEPA vacuums.  

Content Removal

All items that are too damaged to repair should be removed from the structure as well as items that are to be restored, cleaned, and stored until the structure is fully restored and they may be moved back into the home or business.

Water Removal, Dehumidification, and Demolition

Standing water should be removed as soon as possible.  Wet materials will then either be removed or dried in place utilizing air movers and commercial grade dehumidifiers.  Mold and mildew can grow quickly in these conditions, so professionally drying the structure is very important.

Content Evaluation

Some items will be unsalvageable after a fire.  Others, however, will be able to be deep cleaned and deodorized.  Restoration professionals will evaluate the contents of your home or business to make this determination.  Priority items will be discussed with the property owner.  Oftentimes, it may be more cost effective to replace a damaged item, but the item may hold sentimental value.  In these cases, the decision might be made to attempt cleaning the item.

SERVPRO of Gurnee employs certified technicians who will assist with each step of the fire restoration process.  If you suffer this type of loss, please call 847-838-2954 for assistance.  We are here to help.

Fire Restoration 101: Reconstruction

1/26/2021 (Permalink)

house on fire with flames shooting out Property fires are devastating events. At SERVPRO of Gurnee, we guide our customers through the complete process.

Once the process of cleaning and restoring the structure and contents of your home or business that are salvageable has begun, it is time to plan the final phase of fire restoration which is the reconstruction and refinishing of structural elements that were not cleanable.  Depending on the damage sustained, there may be a little or a lot of work to accomplish.

Some common items that may need attention are:

Drywall, Sealing, and Painting

Flooring

Hardwood flooring and/or trim refinishing

Cabinetry repair or replacement

Exterior refinishing such as siding or roofing

Driveway repair (damaged from fire trucks)

Plumbing

Electrical

And more.  Every project is unique.

SERVPRO of Gurnee is uniquely positioned to work with our customers until the final completion of their fire reconstruction.  Our team has decades of experience in construction and understands what it takes to bring you home back to its preloss condition.  Only licensed professionals or direct employees are allowed into your home to perform work, and our standards are high.  

If you are in need of reconstruction after fire or other damage, don’t hesitate to call SERVPRO of Gurnee at 847-838-2954.  We are here to truly make it "Like it never even happened."

Fire Restoration 101: Methods of Content Cleaning

6/24/2020 (Permalink)

soot damaged figurine before and after ultrasonic cleaning SERVPRO of Gurnee uses Ultrasonic technology to restore delicate items such as this porcelain figurine from damage caused by soot.

When a home or business sustains damage from a fire, much of its contents can often be saved and restored.  The experienced professionals at SERVPRO of Gurnee are trained in multiple methods and technologies which can be used to restore your belongings. The following are specific systems and methods available at our facility. 

ULTRASONIC CLEANING

Ultrasonic technology uses a spectrum of sound frequencies, water, and cleaning solutions to remove debris and soot from non-porous items.  These frequencies range from 20,000-100,000 cycles per second, with various frequencies performing separate applications.  Lower frequencies can be used on sturdier items with heavy soil, and higher frequencies are safer for more delicate items.

ESPORTA WASH SYSTEM

The Esporta Wash System uses hydraulic action to force organic and inorganic contaminants out of items to be cleaned.  Commonly, these items are clothing, linens, and shoes.  The force applied is comparable to the force of waves crashing against a beach.  Esporta restores 90% of soft contents  damaged by odor, soot, grime, mold, and mildew to food-grade clean using sustainable, phosphate-free detergents.  

OZONE CHAMBER

Ozone generation is a process that removes smoke odor molecules by releasing additional oxygen into the air.  While ozone is often used in open air to deodorize a home, there are some safety concerns.  Ozone is most effective when utilized in a controlled environment such as an ozone chamber.  Contents and furniture that cannot fit into either the Ultrasonic system or Esporta are first cleaned by hand and then often placed into an ozone chamber to remove any lingering odors of smoke by eliminating the microorganisms that cause them.  Our dedicated ozone chamber is utilized for items with stubborn embedded odors that would otherwise be impossible to remove.  

SERVPRO of Gurnee is an industry leader in fire restoration.  We have the technology needed to restore your home and belongings to their original state, reducing the amount of personal or sentimental items that would otherwise be unsalvageable.  We are here to help and here to answer your questions 24/7/365.  Give us a call at 847-838-2954.

Fire Restoration 101: Structure Cleaning

5/28/2020 (Permalink)

cleaning soot on ceiling in house SERVPRO of Gurnee is here to help with any fire, soot, or smoke damage that may occur in your home or business.

Navigating the destruction of a fire in your home or business can be stressful, but SERVPRO of Gurnee is IICRC certified, experienced, and ready to bring your property back to its preloss condition.  Fires, large or small, can cause a great deal of smoke and odor damage. The heat generated by a fire and air currents can carry soot, smoke and odor throughout your entire property.

Before reconstruction can begin, structural cleaning is necessary so new materials will not be contaminated from previous damage. Utilizing the most up to date equipment, products and technology, SERVPRO of Gurnee thoroughly cleans damaged areas of your structure.

Our process will ensure that odor causing materials and potentially hazardous conditions are removed and treated before reconstruction takes place.

We focus on removing smoke residues from the building’s structural components and neutralizing odors given off by the residues. Following basic principles of cleaning allows us to accomplish this task:

  • Locate the smoke residues by carefully inspecting the affected area
  • Identify the type of residues
  • Capture and remove residues

When fire damage takes control of your life, we help you take it back. SERVPRO of Gurnee is ready and waiting for your call 24/7/365. Contact us for more information at 847-838-2954.

Fire Restoration 101: Levels of Damage

3/26/2020 (Permalink)

residential fire SERVPRO of Gurnee is here to help answer your questions and restore your home to its preloss condition.

Levels of Fire Damage

Not all fires end with the same amount or level of damage. Fire damage is categorized into three different levels: minor, moderate, and major.  The trained professionals at SERVPRO of Gurnee will assess your damage and provide a plan of action to restore each unique fire loss.

Minor Fire Damage

  • Smoke residue is light and contained to certain rooms or areas. 
  • Restoration may involve dry cleaning and/or wet cleaning of ceilings, walls, floors and contents. 
  • Areas may need to be repainted, and minimal items may need to be replaced. 

Moderate Fire Damage

  • Smoke residue is moderate, and more materials require wet cleaning. 
  • Multiple areas require repainting, and the number of items requiring replacement multiplies.
  • Floors may require refinishing. 
  • Heat damage requires more materials to be replaced. 
  • Smoke orders are noticeable and the structure may require additional deodorization.  

Major Fire Damage

  • Smoke residue is present through a large portion of the structure.  
  • Smoke odor is much stronger, even overwhelming. 
  • Heat damage is severe.
  • Structural framing and finishes may be charred, requiring structural repairs. 
  • Emergency services are needed.  These include boarding up, establishing a source of electricity, winterizing the building in cold weather, and removing smoke-filled and charred debris.
  • Restoration will require extensive cleaning of the structure.
  • Contents that are salvageable will be moved off-site for cleaning.  
  • Multiple methods of deodorization are needed to remove smoke odors.

A fire of any size is one of the most devastating events a home or business owner can encounter. Each smoke and fire damage situation is different, and each requires a unique solution.  SERVPRO of Gurnee has the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore fire and smoke damage.  It is our number one priority to treat your family with respect and your property with care.  Call us today at 847-838-2954 for a no cost assessment.

Fire Restoration 101: Types of Soot

2/25/2020 (Permalink)

black soot webs appear similar to spider webs spread across the ceiling of a home Soot webs caused by wet soot formed during a house fire.

There are two different types of soot: wet and dry. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Gurnee will test the soot to determine which type of damage occurred. The cleaning procedure we use will then be based on the information identified during pretesting.

Wet Soot - Plastic and Rubber

  • Low Heat,
    smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Creates smoke webs that are more difficult to clean.
  • Example: plastics, synthetics, household fires

Dry Soot - Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
  • Example: organic materials, wildfires

Protein Soot - Food products

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 
  • Example: grease or food, kitchen fires

A fire is one of the most devastating events a home or business owner can encounter. Each smoke and fire damage situation is different, and each requires a unique solution for the specific situation.  SERVPRO of Gurnee has the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore fire and smoke damage. It is our number one priority to treat your family with respect and your property with care.

Call SERVPRO of Gurnee today at 847-838-2954 for a free inspection to assess your unique situation.

Gurnee Fire Restoration 101: Pretesting

2/19/2020 (Permalink)

After a fire why is pretesting so important?

At SERVPRO of Gurnee, fire damage professionals use pretesting to determine the scope of the loss, type of fire loss, and the method of cleaning for areas that have been affected. This process also helps determine what items are cleanable or repairable vs. those items that will need to be replaced. 

Factors determined by pretesting:

  • Cleaning Method
  • Condition of Surface
  • Level of Soil
  • Type of Soil
  • Pre-Existing Conditions

Pretesting helps to ensure our customers are back into their home as soon as possible, within a realistically accurate time estimate.

For help 24/7/365, call on the professionals at SERVPRO of Gurnee today at 847-838-2954.  We offer a no cost assessment of your unique situation, and we are here to help.

Fire Restoration 101: Safety First

2/3/2020 (Permalink)

kitchen fire aftermath with soot covered cabinets Kitchen fires can produce hard to clean, wet soot.

After your fire has been put out you may be left with the question, “What should I do next?”  SERVPRO of Gurnee can help. We will walk you through your next steps. Safety is our number one concern until help arrives, so here are some basic do’s and don'ts:

Do:

  • Limit movement in damaged areas
  • Keep your hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls, and woodwork
  • If the electricity is off, empty the freezer and refrigerator completely.  Prop doors open to help prevent odor.

Dont:

  • Don’t touch contaminated surfaces
  • Don’t attempt to clean walls, carpet, contents, or other contaminated surfaces
  • Don’t use food, cosmetics, or mediations exposed to soot.
  • Don’t send clothing to ordinary cleaner; improper cleaning may set odors

No one wants to experience a fire in their home or business.  If you experience this and need help, please give us a call at 847-838-2954.  SERVPRO of Gurnee has the expertise and experience to assist you in the cleanup and restoration of your property.  We are here to help!

Testing Your Smoke Alarms

6/25/2019 (Permalink)

it's recommended to check your homes smoke alarms every month

Despite the efforts you make to ensure your home is safe, no home is completely fireproof. A working smoke alarm system is a vital part of an adequate emergency preparedness system. Older smoke alarms need replacement batteries once a year, but the rules change as you upgrade your detectors. Following these inspection tips can help keep your system in top form.

Power Check

First, you want to make sure all your detectors have power. The power source depends on the type of smoke detector you have in your system:

  • Battery-operated detectors (9-volt batteries) should have the batteries replaced every year.
  • Battery-operated detectors (lithium batteries) should be completely replaced every ten years.
  • Hardwired systems should have the backup battery replaced yearly, and the detectors replaced every ten years.

Regardless of the replacement for the battery or detector, fire remediation experts recommend that you test each smoke alarm every month to make sure it's working. Don't rely strictly on a schedule. Replace faulty alarms whenever necessary. 

Age Check

No matter where your detectors get their power, all of them must be replaced every ten years to keep the system in shape for detecting fire damage. Checking the age of the devices in your system is easy. Remove each detector from the ceiling or wall and turn it over. The date of manufacture should be printed on the back. As long as the date is within the last ten years and the device is still working, it does not need to be replaced. Return it to its designated spot and make sure that it is linked with the rest of the system.

Testing your smoke alarm system once a month is a crucial part of home maintenance. If you have outdated detectors or your power source is not properly supporting the system, prompt maintenance can help keep you safe during a home fire.

Fire Pit Safety

5/28/2019 (Permalink)

It's time to hang around the fire pit

The outdoors are calling as the weather begins to warm up. Lawns are gardens are returning back to their vivid spring colors and neighbors are coming out of hibernation. The sounds of lawn mowers and weed wackers are abundant. The smell of freshly mowed grass and Bbq's permeate the air. Spring is here to awaken all of our senses. With the arrival of spring and heading into summer, more and more people are coming outside to enjoy the fresh air.

When night falls, fire pits are being lit to extend the day and conversations with friends and family carry on into the wee hours of the night. Even through conversations with friends and family around the fire pit in the backyard are great ways to build memories, remembering fire safety and responsibility will ensure those times continue.  

  1. When lighting your fire pit ,do not use highly flammable ignition sources such as gasoline or lighting fluid. Build a pyramid with three pieces of seasoned wood (seasoned at least 6 months) stand them end to end like a rooftop and then fill in the gaps with crumpled up newspaper and some small dry kindling sticks.
  2. Make sure your pit is 10-20 ft away from any building, plant ,trees and overhanging branches. Since hot embers can travel, be cautious and keep a bucket of sand, pail of water or working garden hose close by in case an ember goes astray. Having a Class B or C fire extinguisher nearby would be good too.
  3. When extinguishing the fire make sure the fire is completely out, if you purchased a fire pit kit, most manufacturers include a safety guide to explain the proper procedure to extinguish the fire in the pit. If you use your garden hose to extinguish the fire, use the wide pray selection to keep from spreading hot embers with a direct, heavy stream of water. Thoroughly drench the fire pit to ensure it is out. If the fire is just hot embers and no flames a decent coating of sand should keep any fires from occurring. A coating of sand and a decent soaking should eliminate the threat of any fire re-igniting.

These are just a couple of quick tips to ensure you and your family have a great backyard season. Safety first and if a fire does occur that becomes to large please call your local fire company immediately and evacuate the area.

Three Reasons for Fires in your Gurnee Home

3/18/2019 (Permalink)

Education is the best fire prevention.

If a fire starts in your home you may have as little as two minutes to escape. House fires can be devastating and the road to recovery is long and hard. Educating yourself on the leading causes for house fires and prevention is a step in the right direction to ensure that your family and home are safe.

Electrical Outlets

Many electrical fires in homes or businesses are caused by faulty electrical outlets, old wiring, outdated appliances or electrical cords that are frayed.

  • If you live in an older home have an electrician complete an inspection. Standards and codes are constantly being revised and updated to ensure safety.
  • Do not overload your circuits.
  • Understand the difference between surge protectors and power strips. Both devices allow you to plug in multiple electronics, but only the surge protector will help protect your electronics from a power surge.

Kitchen Fires

Carelessness in the kitchen can lead to devastating house fires. The leading cause of kitchen fires is due to unattended cooking. It’s important to be alert to prevent cooking fires.

  • Never leave pots or pans unattended on your stove.
  • Keeping your stove an oven clean will prevent buildup of food splatter and grease that could later ignite when the stove or oven is turned on for cooking.
  • Keep any items that could ignite away from your stove top
  • Ensure that you have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen in case of emergency.

Dryers

Dryer vents are becoming a much bigger and more common safety problem. Over time, your dryer vent fills with lint that sneaks by your dryer filter. Fires can occur when the excess lint builds up in the dryer or exhaust duct.

  • Clean out the dryer vent regularly.
  • Clean the lint filter after EACH load of laundry that is dried.
  • Clean underneath and behind your dryer to eliminate any lint that collects.

Fire Damage and Your Belongings

3/18/2019 (Permalink)

Fire damage can affect your belongings too.

Fire damage, including smoke and soot, affects not only the structure of your house but also your belongings. SERVPRO of Gurnee understands your family’s furniture, clothing, keepsakes, and other belongings make your house more than a structure; they make it home.

Contents Restoration

SERVPRO of Gurnee specializes in restoring contents damaged by water, fire, or mold. Our expertise and “restore” versus “replace” mentality can help you save money while preserving precious keepsakes that can’t be replaced. We pretest your belongings to determine what items we can restore to pre-fire condition. We use several methods of cleaning your contents, including:

  • 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.

Move-Outs/Pack-Outs

If your home requires extensive restoration or cleaning due to fire damage, SERVPRO of Gurnee can conduct an organized, efficient move-out of the affected area. Move-out will provide several benefits, including:

  • Quicker remodeling processes
  • Protecting items from potential damage
  • Protecting contents from further on-site damage

When restoration is completed, we will work with you to coordinate the move-in according to your needs. The services offered upon move-in may depend on your insurance coverage.

Electronic Cleanup

Fire-damaged electronics can present a serious hazard. Do not attempt to turn on or operate any electrical device that you suspect has been damaged by fire. Smoke residues can contain acids that corrode metal surfaces. If the residues are not removed, corrosion causes electronic failure in the device. We will coordinate the restoration of your electronics, including:

  • Television sets
  • DVD players
  • Computers
  • And more

The key to restoring electronics is taking prompt action to prevent further damage. Electronics will be cleaned and inspected by a qualified electronics technician.

Document / Photograph Drying

When your valuable documents, including photographs, are damaged by water or fire, extreme caution should be taken to help ensure the fire damage does not destroy the document. Although some documents may not be restored to pre-fire damage condition, SERVPRO of Gurnee can save a great deal and help minimize additional damage. Depending on the type of documents and the level of fire, smoke, or soot damage, they have five options for the restoration of documents:

  • Air Drying
  • De-humidification
  • Freezer Drying
  • Vacuum Freeze Drying
  • Vacuum Thermal Drying

Contents Claim Inventory Service 

When a fire emergency strikes, the damage can often feel overwhelming. We can help ease the worry and confusion during the recovery process by offering our Contents Claim Inventory Service (CCIS), which provides a detailed and accurate list of your belongings. We take a room-by-room inventory of your contents, including digital photos, and in some instances, bar coding.

Our Contents Claim Inventory Service:

  • Pre-loss list and value of contents
  • Detailed and accurate report
  • Better information to settle claims quicker
  • Assistance with burden of proof for claims
  • Peace of mind when you need it most!

Cleanup of Smoke and Soot

2/27/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot damage behind drywall

Smoke and soot are very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allow 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 Gurnee 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. 

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 – 847-557-1080

Spread Love not Fire Damage

2/8/2019 (Permalink)

Kitchen fires can only take seconds to spread

February is the month of love and what better way to show that special someone you care than with a romantic candlelit dinner. Before you show off your chef skills though, keep in mind that cooking equipment is the #1 cause of house fires so make sure you are keeping an eye on that delicious dish you are preparing. It only takes seconds to start a fire that can engulf your whole kitchen and put a huge damper on your special night in.

Ways to stay safe in the kitchen

  • Make sure your smoke alarm is working
  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking
  • Keep potholders, towels and paper towels away from the stove top
  • Turn off your burner and oven when not in use

Once you have your meal ready don’t forget to set the mood…

Candles are a go-to choice for romantic lighting, but are one of the top 5 things that cause house fires. Salt lamps, fairy lights, table lamps, oil diffusers, wax warmers and flameless luminaries can help you “set the mood” without worry so your night can go exactly as planned.

If the unfortunate does happen, SERVPRO of Gurnee can help clean up and rebuild after a fire. We have the highly trained staff and equipment to make it seem like it never happened. Call us today!

How to Clean After a Fire in My Home?

3/16/2018 (Permalink)

When you experience a fire in your home, it is a scary, unexpected time and you may have many questions as what is to come next.

First step after a fire is extinguished, the home needs to be boarded up to avoid additional damage from weather, animals, or theft. Afterwards, depending on the severity of the fire and upon clearance from the fire department is to determine the extent of the damage and survey how the home will be cleaned. There are some fires that do not require a full demo of the entire structure. SERVPRO of Gurnee inspects room by room the damage and what cleaning method would be best used. 

Once the damage is assessed, SERVPRO offers rush service for the homeowner to collect necessary soft content items such as clothing, shoes, or children’s sentimental comfort items that will be immediately needed that will be cleaned in our Gurnee facility. 

SERVPRO then can begin working on restoring your home after a fire quickly by compiling a detailed inventory list of salvageable and unsalvageable items as they are packed to be cleaned at our facility or on site. After the home is packed out, the structure is cleaned, dried, and removal of any structure materials that cannot be cleaned.

After the home and contents are cleaned, SERVPRO has a highly trained reconstruction department to complete the repairs from any rooms that requires drywall, flooring, roofing, cabinets, siding, and any other items that need to be replaced.

Deodorization after a Fire

3/12/2018 (Permalink)

Frequently, we are asked how we combat odors. Odors from a skunk, odors after a sewage loss, odors from a dead animal, odors from a biohazard cleanup, and most common, odors after a fire. Each cleanup situation is unique and we first inspect to determine the best method for removal. Three methods that we use are use of ozone, hydroxl generators, and deodorants.

Ozone- Is a gas with its chemical symbol O3. Use of an ozone machine causes a chemical reaction to occur having the free molecules that are split from an electrical arc to join any of the O2 molecules that are in the home that then meet and chemically change the odor molecules.

Hydroxl Generators- Hydroxls have a free electron that will allows the hydroxyls to react with the materials that are in the environment. This creates a chemical reaction that reduces the odors.

Deodorants- Deodorants are pairing agents that combine with a malodor to create new odorless compounds. Use of deodorants are through the forms of liquids, gels, and solids.

Each removal method of odors is a unique situation that SERVPRO of Gurnee professionals assess with every call that we receive. We always seek to remove the source of the odor first and clean the area.

Gurnee Residents: Fire Prevention

11/20/2017 (Permalink)

This year’s Fire Prevention Theme is “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 ways out!” The National Fire Protection Association encourages families with their children to:

  • Make a map of their home and find two exits from each room.
  • Make sure exits are not blocked
  • Have a meeting spot in the front of the home to meet if home experiences a fire
  • Practice a fire drill at least twice a year. They also suggest doing one drill during the day and one at night.
  • Make sure to teach children how they can escape on their own in case someone can’t help.
  • Close any windows or doors that you leave to try to slow smoke, fire, or heat.
  • Make sure address is clearly visible from front of structure and everyone knows how to call the fire department for help
  • Test smoke alarms once a month, and change batteries twice a year.

For great resources, and a grid to draw a map of your home go to National Fire Protection Association’s website here.

For tips on what to do after a fire or have any questions, call SERVPRO of Gurnee or SERVPRO of Libertyville/N. Chicago City/ Lake Bluff at 847-557-1080, 24/7 365 days.

After a Fire Tips

9/21/2017 (Permalink)

Cleanup after a fire or smoke damage is a job for an IICRC Certified firm. Sometimes cleaning up after a fire without the proper method can cause further damage. Depending on the source of fire determines how SERVPRO of Gurnee & SERVPRO of Libertyville/N. Chicago City/Lake Bluff will go about cleaning up after a fire. Here are some tips that can help minimize the damage after a fire until a crew arrives:

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from spreading
  • Do not send any clothing to a local dry cleaner because improper cleaning may set in odor
  • Do not shampoo carpets, upholstery, or furniture
  • Do not attempt to clean electronics or electrical equipment
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpet
  • Coat chrome faucets, trim or appliances with petroleum jelly or oil

Call us 24/7 and 365 days for help. We are always happy to help get you back into your home or business quickly.

Libertyville Smoke and Soot Cleanup

7/11/2016 (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 Gurnee & SERVPRO of Libertyville/N. Chicago City/ Lake Bluff 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 – 
SERVPRO of Gurnee & SERVPRO of Libertyville/N. Chicago City/ Lake Bluff: 847-838-2954

Cleaning up After a Fire: Interview with Ryan on Fire Cleaning

6/27/2016 (Permalink)

Nothing prepares you for a fire. SERVPRO® of Gurnee & SERVPRO® of Libertyville/N. Chicago City/ Lake Bluff understands the frustration that comes after the fire is out.

What are some of the first steps SERVPRO® takes when a homeowner or business experiences a fire?

We walk through the structure with the property owner and adjuster. We determine how much of the property is affected, how we are going to clean it, and see what can be salvaged. Then, depending on the type of fire, determine the steps needed to clean everything. Sometimes we can clean items on site if there is light soot. Other times, we carefully pack up the items, and clean them in our Gurnee facility.

Will all my contents be thrown away after a fire?

Not necessarily. It really depends on the severity of the fire. Anything highly porous may need to be thrown away. Some examples being: plastics, Tupperware, medication, and toiletries. It’s really up to the property owner to choose. We never toss anything without the owner and adjuster approval. We use a system called ContentsTrack to keep track of all the items that we store/clean in our facility. We always document all of the contents in a home with photographs and write everything down. With this system, we always know where every item is in our facility.

What type of items can be saved after a fire?

Non porous materials: glass, epoxy finished woods, ceramics, and plates are a few examples. With light smoke/soot damage we can save many items from couches, carpet, drywall, to furniture.

Can you explain the pretesting process that you go through after a fire?

We walk the entire property to see the extent of the damage. We start testing in the heavier concentrated areas and work our way out. We test the severity of the fire with a chemically treated dry sponge by testing the walls, ceilings, and contents to determine where the smoke and soot damage has migrated. We do a visual inspection to see carbon buildup in ceilings. We note the contrast of the soot build up to see the degree of damage, and this shows us the best way to clean and restore the fire damaged structure. We then determine what can be cleaned, what can’t be cleaned, and what doesn’t need to be cleaned.

How long does it take to clean up after a home has experienced a fire?

Each fire, smoke, and soot damage job is different, and we can’t give a concrete time. Each job is unique and it depends on the severity of the fire and how many contents the property has that have been affected.  

  • On average, packing out an entire structure usually takes a crew 2-3 days.
  • Structure Cleaning, on average, with a full crew of say a single family home would be about 1-2 days.
  • Average time for content cleaning takes 1-2 days.
  • The reconstruction time depends on what has been affected and needs to be rebuilt.

How long have you worked for SERVPRO?

2 years                                                   

What did you do before?

General construction 

What are some of the challenges?

Confined spaces 

What are some of the rewards?

Helping people in their time of need

During the process, homeowners are stressed and upset. What do you do to reassure homeowners that it will be ok?

Calm, courteous, let them know that we are there to do anything we can to help with process.

How do you manage to balance the homeowner’s needs and Insurance Needs?

We listen and communicate with the adjuster and homeowner.

How soon are you on site for Property Claims?

Depends on the customer’s schedule. If they need us to be there right away, we will be.