Recent Fire Damage Posts

The Dangers of Smoking Inside the Home

10/7/2019 (Permalink)

An ashtray with smoked cigarettes An ashtray fire can happen if a cigarette is not completely stuffed out

Fire is one of the most destructive natural forces in the world, and when it strikes your home, the consequences can be deadly. Sometimes there is no way to prevent fire damage, as lightning strikes or high winds near an existing fire can ignite your home at any time. Other causes, such as a cigarette fire, are avoidable if the homeowner takes precautions to change their habits to protect their homes and loved ones.

Safety Tips

Cigarette fire is among the most common causes of house fires due to a myriad of factors. Consider the following tips to avoid accidental fires in your home:

Never smoke in bed – Too often smokers will have a cigarette while laying in bed and will fall asleep, thus dropping the cigarette and lighting their mattress on fire

Mind your ashtrays – An ashtray fire can happen if a cigarette is not completely stuffed out and/or it is full of old butts that can catch on fire

Keep lighters out of reach of children – All children imitate their parents, so it is never a good idea to give them a way to imitate your smoking habits by leaving lighters and matches within their reach

The most important and foolproof method to avoid fire due to smoking, however, is to simply never smoke in the home. Consider going outside for every cigarette, and ensure your ashtray is several feet away from your home, car, trees, and any other flammable items.

Home Cleansing Solutions

Once you make the switch to smoking cigarettes exclusively outside, you may become more sensitive to the odors left behind by your past smoking habits inside your home. Unfortunately, cigarette smoke is an odor that is absorbed into your furniture, walls, carpeting, and any other porous surface or material. Likewise, odors and other damage that can stem from a cigarette fire will need the help of a professional odor removal and fire cleanup company in The Landing,WA. It may be difficult to change your habits at first, but taking steps to ensure a fire is not caused by an otherwise avoidable incident can keep your home and family safe.

Proper Placement and Maintenance of Home Fire Alarms

7/19/2019 (Permalink)

Make sure you test the functionality of all fire alarms once a month

Properly preparing for the unthinkable at your home in East Renton Highlands,WA, can potentially save lives. This is why it’s important to maintain your early warning devices. A fire alarm is designed to alert you as soon as possible after smoke and/or heat is detected so that you can extinguish the fire or escape the building. But have you considered checking to make sure your home is properly equipped?

Fire Alarm Placement

The placement of these units is key to the safety of your family and home. The National Fire Protection Association recommends installing detectors in the following locations:

  • Each level of the house (including basement)
  • Each bedroom
  • Hallways that connect multiple rooms
  • Near stairs
  • Living room
  • Garage

When checking your home for fire alarm placement, make sure that they are located no more than 12 inches from the ceiling. Basements are an exception; there you will want to place the alarm on the ceiling at the bottom of the stairs. They should also be placed at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance. The operation of the alarms could be affected by drafts, so be sure to place them away from doors, windows, vents and ducts.

Fire Alarm Maintenance

Make sure you test the functionality of all fire alarms once a month. Even a hardwired unit has batteries in case of a power outage, so it’s important to replace all batteries twice a year. You can remind yourself by replacing the alarm batteries when you adjust your clocks for daylight saving time. Cleaning should be done occasionally with a vacuum brush attachment. It’s recommended that a fire alarm is replaced every 10 years.
Fire detection devices are critical to your home safety. With correct placement and maintenance, they will alert you to potential danger before a fire gets out of hand. Should smoke damage or fire damage occur, a fire cleanup professional is Here to Help.

Who Is Responsible After a Fire?

6/28/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage in an apartment building can be devastating for both tenants and property owners.

An apartment fire is devastating for both tenants and property owners. The primary concern, of course, is that everyone is safe. The secondary concern of both parties is deciding who will replace and repair which items. If you have suffered a fire in Renton, WA, it is important to understand which types of damage you are liable for. A clear understanding of common responsibilities is necessary before embarking on restoration, replacement and cleanup efforts.

Responsabilities after a Fire


The Tenant Handles Personal Belongings


As a tenant, you are responsible for anything you brought into the building. The building owner handles structural damage in an apartment fire but is not liable for personal belongings. These may include the following:

• Clothing
• Bedding
• Furniture
• Electronic equipment
• Jewelry
• Musical instruments

As a tenant who has lost personal belongings due to fire damage, your renter’s insurance should cover the cost to replace lost or damaged items. The tenant lease agreement likely specifies who handles costs associated with temporary housing if the rented location becomes uninhabitable. Either the landlord’s or renter’s insurance will often cover relocation. If not, the American Red Cross is set up to help supply basic necessities.



The Building Owner Handles Structural Repairs



Building owners are not responsible for the tenant’s personal belongings. However, as a building owner, you are responsible for structural damage. After a fire, your best course of action is to hire a professional fire restoration company to repair any damage and restore your property to a pre-fire condition “Like it Never Even Happened.” Check your insurance policy, as it may help cover repairs. As a building owner, you're likely responsible for handling the following things:

• Electrical systems
• Plumbing systems
• Structural damage
• Cabinets
• Fixtures
• Flooring
• Roofing

Returning to Normal Is a Collaborative Effort

Recovering from an apartment fire requires thoughtful cooperation among renters, building owners and restoration professionals. Once the police decide it is safe to re-enter the building, the tenants and building owners can assess the damage and being the recovery process.

FAQs About Lint Fires

5/22/2019 (Permalink)

Clean the lint trap after each use

Many home fires in Newcastle,WA, begin in the homes’ dryer. Though these types of fires are quite common, many people are unsure how to maintain their dryers and how to prevent a lint fire. Knowing more about these fires can help you protect your home.

What Are the Signs That Your Dryer Needs To Be Cleaned?

Before this type of fire occurs, there are often signs of a problem. Your dryer may need to be cleaned if you notice the following issues:

  • Clothes come out of the machine and are uncomfortably hot to the touch
  •  It takes longer than usual for your clothes to dry
  • A burning smell present in your laundry room
  • Clothes are not fully dry at the end of the laundry cycle

How Do You Clean Your Dryer?

It’s often possible to prevent a lint fire from occurring by minimizing the amount of lint present in the dryer. It can be helpful to remove and clean the lint trap after each use. Additionally, you can use cleaning kits, vacuums and brushes that allow you to more thoroughly clean your dryer, though it’s often helpful to make sure these products are compatible with your machine prior to purchasing them.

How Do You Prevent These Fires?

A fire caused by your home’s dryer can cause damage throughout your home, and it may be necessary to contact fire damage restoration professionals in order to restore your home. However, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of a dryer fire. In addition to cleaning the lint trap often, it can be useful to have your machine inspected yearly so professionals can look for signs of damage.

Learning about the common causes of home fires can make you feel more at ease in your home. It’s often helpful to know the signs that your dryer needs to be cleaned, how to safely and efficiently clean your machine and how you can help to prevent a lint fire.

The 3 Most Effective Smoke Odor Remediation Methods

4/17/2019 (Permalink)

The smell of smoke may linger long after fire or smoke damage in a home in Renton, WA.

Three effective smoke cleaning methods for getting rid of every trace of smoke odor.

  1. Ozone Machines

    These machines release ozone molecules that follow the same paths as smoke and work to neutralize odors. This treatment is fast and highly effective but requires that occupants evacuate a residence.
  2. Thermal Foggers

    A thermal fogger fills an area with fog, which is allowed to stand for about thirty minutes. Evacuation is necessary, and the treated area must be ventilated and allowed to dry before occupants can return. This treatment should be administered by smoke damage cleanup professionals.
  3. HVAC Air Scrubbers

    An HVAC air scrubber connects to the central air system and filters air as it circulates. These smoke cleaning mechanisms filter out particles and do not neutralize any odors. It may be helpful to combine this treatment with a deodorization method.

Which Damage Is Caused By Fire?

4/16/2019 (Permalink)

A fire is often the primary issue in instances where these types of damage. A fire may:

• Destroy building materials and contents
• Cover surfaces in ash and soot
• Result in smoke damage

What happens when water is used to extinguish a fire?

Even though the water used to put out a fire starts as clean Category One water, the presence of ash and soot will cause it to immediately degrade to contaminated Category Three black water. It is necessary to clean and disinfect areas exposed to this type of water.

Combined damage occurs when damage from a fire and flooding are both present. Taken together, damage caused by fire, smoke, and water may:

• Intensify every type of damage
• Severely corrode metals
• Stain contents and surfaces

If fire damage and water damage are both present at a home in Renton, WA, it is important to contact a residential mitigation and restoration service as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more severe damage is likely to become.

When a Fire Strikes!

4/15/2019 (Permalink)

This fire loss occurred in the garage of a household due to a BBQ being left unattended.

A few years back, a couple of college students were attempting to make pasta for a quick and easy dinner before a long night of studying. They put the boiling water on the stove but quickly realized they would need to go to the store for pasta sauce, garlic bread, and Parmesan cheese - the essentials for any pasta dinner. Without even thinking, the pair left their apartment and headed across the small college town to get to the store. What did they forget to do? Turn off the stove before leaving. By the time they got back merely twenty minutes later, their kitchen was in flames and the fire department was already on scene. After the two were cleared to enter, they found their kitchen was in black, smoky shambles, and the rest of their apartment had a gray residue staining the walls and ceiling.

Unfortunately, fire damage is much more common than most would hope. Simple tasks like remembering to turn off the stove or blow out a candle can be quickly forgotten in the haste to get somewhere. In the case of those two college students, they were relatively lucky. A few years ago in Pullman, WA, a similar instance happened; however, that couple wasn’t so lucky. The fire caught two other apartment buildings, and ended up destroying three in total.

What to do when Fire strikes

Now, how does one come back from something like this? Smoke residue can be a pain to get off walls and ceilings. Smoke will seep into the smallest cracks in dressers, closets, and shelves so that even when everything is clean and back to normal, clothes, shoes, and furniture will still smell of smoke.

The easiest way to take care of this is to call SERVPRO of Renton and handle all of the cleaning - from walls to teddy bears. Not only do we have a large team of trained technicians who can come out and clean the walls and ceilings, but we will also pack up any belongings and bring them back to our facility to be cleaned and deodorized; leaving you with nothing but peace of mind that your items will be taken care of by our skilled employees.

There are also very simple things homeowners can to do help prevent smoke and fire damage. These may seem like no-brainers, but even the smallest slip of the mind can have devastating consequences:

  • Never burn candles on shelving or near a window.
    • The heat from the candle can catch the shelving on fire, and the air from outside could possibly fuel the small flame.
  • Make sure you have everything you need BEFORE you start cooking.
    • One of the most common ways to start a kitchen fire is from forgetting to turn off the oven or stove top.
  • Have windows open and a fan running when cooking
    • This will decrease the chances of a grease fire happening.

Now, what happens if a fire does start? If it’s small enough, there are a few ways to keep it from spreading:

  • Coil stove-top: if a small fire (a flame no bigger than your pinky nail) happens, turn off the stove and pour salt over the fire. NEVER use water. This could cause a bigger electrical fire.
  • Grease fire: Smother the pan with a lid and immediately put the pan in the oven. DO NOT turn on the hood fan, as that will draw the flames to a condensed area and could cause a larger fire.
  • Fire in the oven: the best way to put this out is with a fire extinguisher.
    • Note: Avoid any grease build-up in your oven by regularly cleaning

If a fire starts in your home and cannot be controlled by smothering, leave the house immediately and call 9-1-1. Smoke inhalation is just as dangerous as a fire itself, so do not linger if the fire is out of control.

Three Questions To Ask Yourself About Fire Alarms

2/4/2019 (Permalink)

Are you taking proper care of your smoke alarms?

Three Questions To Ask Yourself About Fire Alarms

You probably have at least one smoke alarm in your Cedar Grove,WA, home, but how often do you really think about it? For many people, the answer is probably “not often.” Your alarm can help prevent fire and smoke damage in your home by warning you at the first indication of a blaze, but only if you follow proper procedures. The next time you find yourself thinking about your alarm, ask yourself these questions.

1. Do you have the right number of smoke alarms in your home?
It is unlikely that you only have one fire alarm in your home, but it is possible that you still don’t have as many as you should. There is no set number of alarms that you should have in your house as the answer depends on the size of your residence. Each level of your home, including basements and attics, should have at least one alarm. There should be an alarm placed inside each bedroom as well as in the hallway outside each sleeping area.

2. When is the last time you replaced your alarms?
While you might think about changing the batteries in your smoke alarms, at least when they start beeping at you as a reminder, you might not have considered that the alarms themselves need replacing as well. The detectors in a fire alarm will start to wear out between eight to ten years after you’ve started using it, so it is important to replace them around this time.

3. Are you taking proper care of your alarms?
In order to keep your alarms working properly, they should be well maintained. Be sure to replace the batteries immediately when the reminder sounds so that you know they will work in case of an emergency. Each fire alarm should be cleaned regularly and tested at least once a month.

A fire damage repair service can help in the event of a fire but keeping properly maintained alarms in the necessary areas of your home can help prevent significant damage and keep you safe.

Can You Avoid a Clothes Dryer Fire?

12/27/2018 (Permalink)

Clean the lint filter of your dryer

As dryer lint builds up in your clothes dryer, you'll have to deal with more than pesky bits of fluff falling out of the appliance. The lint invariably works its way deep inside the metal shell and negatively impacts the efficiency of the dryer. Your increased power and maintenance bills in Newcastle,WA, aren't the last things to worry about either. Perhaps the situation that should cause you the most concern is the growing possibility of a lint fire.

Did You Know?

There are many startling facts about home fires and clothes dryers from the United States Fire Administration.

  • Nearly 3,000 home clothes dryer fires are reported every year.
  • Failing to clean the dryer is the leading cause of those fires.
  • The fires happen most often during the fall and winter.
  • Each year these fires cause $35 million in property loss.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency offers several suggestions for preventing a lint fire. The first recommendation is to have your appliance installed and serviced by a professional. Don't run the dryer without a clean lint filter. Keep the back of the dryer clean and regularly check the venting system to be sure it is open and not damaged or restricted. Finally, make sure the outside vent covering opens when the dryer is running.

Cleaning the Lint Filter

How can you clean lint from the dryer? Of course, pulling the lint filter out and removing lint by hand is a convenient and simple task. If it's been awhile since you cleaned the back panel and the exhaust hose, you should unplug the dryer and use a vacuum or cloth to clean the interior and exhaust areas. This deeper clean should be completed every six months or more to avoid a dryer fire. From time to time, you should rinse the dryer screen and vacuum out the lint trap.

If you aren't sure how long it's been or how to proceed, you may want to contact a fire damage professional in your area for more tips and pointers. Ultimately, regular maintenance is one of the best steps toward avoiding a lint fire.

Which Fire Extinguisher Do You Need?

10/26/2018 (Permalink)

A fire extinguisher is an essential piece of fire preparedness equipment. A variety of extinguisher classes are available. Learn about the differences between the four classes of fire suppressants and multi-class models to choose the right extinguisher to put out any home fire.

Class A Extinguishers

Class A fire extinguishers are suitable for standard combustibles such as

  • Paper
  • Plastics
  • Textiles
  • Trash
  • Wood

These extinguishers contain monoammonium phosphate. This chemical works to smother fires.

Class B Extinguishers

Class B fire suppressants are suitable for flammable liquids such as

  • Oil
  • Gasoline
  • Grease
  • Kerosene
  • Paint

Class B extinguishers combine monoammonium phosphate and sodium bicarbonate to smother and cause a chemical reaction that will put out fire.

Class C Extinguishers

A Class C fire extinguisher is designated for use with fires involving live electrical equipment. These extinguishers also contain monoammonium phosphate and sodium bicarbonate. The concentration of this nonconductive mixture may vary, and is formulated to pass standards set forth in UL711 and UL299.

Class D Extinguishers

Class D fire suppressants dispense a thick layer of inert agent over combustible or reactive metals such as

  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Pyrophoric organometallic reagents
  • Sodium
  • Titanium

Most homeowners do not require a Class D extinguisher.

Multi-Class Extinguishers

You may find multi-class fire extinguishers such as A-B extinguishers designed to combat fires caused by standard combustibles or flammable liquids. B-C extinguishers are similarly capable of suppressing fires fuel by liquids or electrical sources. A-B-C extinguishers are some of the most versatile residential fire suppressants. Depending on the part of your home where you plan to extinguish fires, you may want to choose a multi-class extinguisher for common fire hazards.

The right fire extinguisher can help you stop a home fire before it spreads and causes serious damage. If a fire causes damage to your home in East Renton Highlands,WA, rely on the expertise of fire and smoke damage restoration specialists.