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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Fire Damage Blog Posts

5 Common Types of Smoke Damage

1/12/2022 (Permalink)

Overhead kitchen fire rose to affect plenum ceiling. Kitchen fire damage.

Depending on the substance that a fire consumes determines the type of smoke damage which occurs. Prior to inspection, in the initial call, we may ask what burned or request photos to get a better grasp on the extent which fire and smoke damage occurred. Below are some common types of smoke damage SERVPRO of Culver City / Baldwin Hills may inquire about.

  1. Tenant Smoking

This is the most common type and is caused by residents that smoke. In multifamily buildings, property managers / owners deal with these odors on a regular basis. This smoke can cause a great deal of damage to the structure, from unpleasant odors to surface damage. Smoking damage typically requires intense cleaning. 

  1. Protein Smoke Damage

Second to tenant smoke kitchen fires are the most common. They typically produce protein smoke. Protein smoke damage occurs when food burns and clings to wood or painted surfaces and has the potential to discolor the surfaces it affects permanently.

  1. Wet Smoke Damage

This smoke damage occurs when a fire is slow burning with a low temperature. It is one of the more difficult forms of smoke damage to address and is sometimes the hardest form of smoke damage to clean. It tends to be sticky and thick, and latches to almost all surfaces.

  1. Dry Smoke Damage

Usually, this is one of the easier forms of smoke damage to take care of. It is nearly the opposite of wet smoke damage and occurs from high-temperature fires. This damage produces finer particulates, however, if it lands on porous surfaces this will make it more difficult to clean up.

  1. Petroleum Smoke Damage

When an oil-based substance is burned, petroleum smoke damage occurs. This smoke is darker and lingers on nearly all material it comes in contact with, and often stains surfaces.

Commercial Fire Cleanup Steps

12/15/2021 (Permalink)

pressure washing foundation pressure washing foundation

These are typical steps in the commercial fire damage restoration process:

1. Inspection

Call your local SERVPRO to come and inspect the damage to your property. Our highly trained Project Managers and Technicians thoroughly inspect your property to determine the extent of the fire, smoke, and soot damage. Hiring a professional restoration company will allow for a complete comprehensive review of the property damage. They will also record and document all damage for your insurer if needed.

  1. Safety Work

Property damage can continue even after the fire has been extinguished. The priority should be to prevent further damage to your property. A restoration company will look at what needs to be protected and take the proper steps to do so. With a lot of your windows, walls, and roof potentially damaged, the restoration company will look at what needs boarding up or if your roof needs tarping. This helps to protect your property from further damage.

  1. Water Removal

Water removal post firefighting efforts is top of the list. Hiring a professional team to investigate the possibility of leaks or places where mold can develop is very important.

  1. Smoke and Soot Removal

Odors and staining left behind from smoke or soot damage go beyond surface level. With SERVPRO’s specialized techniques, the next step for SERVPRO of Culver City / Baldwin Hills is to remove the smoke and soot left behind on the ceilings, walls, and other surfaces.

  1. Cleanup

There are a variety of cleaning techniques that can be used to clean up these damaged items and structures, along with equipment such as industrial air scrubbers and foggers that will help remove smoke odors.

Reduce Structural Risk Against Wildfires

9/20/2021 (Permalink)

No symbol over wildfire symbol No symbol over wildfire symbol.

Readyforwildfire.org advises that a large step in reducing wildfire risk to your property is creating defensible areas or zones. These are described as (3) zones with varying defined distances and tasks to perform within each Zone: 0, 1, and 2.

Zone 0: (0) to (5) feet

The Immediate Zone is the area closest to the structure and the most vulnerable. Remove any combustible material surrounding your property. This can be dry grass or brush, outdoor furniture, trashcans etc. Clean any fallen leaves and needles regularly and repeatedly during the fire season.

Zone 1: (5) to (30) feet

The Intermediate Zone can include other buildings, structures, trees, etc. Keep it “lean, clean, and green.” Remove dead plants, dry leaves, pine needles, etc. from your rain gutters, roof, and yard. Regularly trim your trees to a minimum of 10 feet from other trees. Branches that hand over your roof should be removed and any dead branches should be kept 10 feet away from your chimney. Move any woodpiles at least 30 feet from any structure.

Zone 2: (30) to (100) feet

The Extended Zone includes space more than 100 feet away if defined otherwise by vegetation conditions, steep slopes, and or your local fire department. Cut down/back annual grass to the regulatory size in your area.

The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile Advantage

9/18/2021 (Permalink)

Did you know 50% of businesses may never reopen after suffering a disaster? According to the latest research, half of the time when businesses are affected by a fire or water damage, they end up having to close down. For the businesses that do survive, the majority of them had a preparedness plan in place.  By developing a SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile for your business, you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business.

Emergency Ready Program, ERP for short, allows SERVPRO to help commercial properties to be ready in case of a water or fire emergency. By entering detailed information before an event happens, you can minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. 

There's also useful information such as how to turn off electrical panels, main water, gas, etc. to stop any more damage from happening. It's at no cost of your company, as well as a concise profile document, and a guide to help get back into your building after a disaster. This approach is a great investment of your time and is designed specifically with the customer in mind. If you or someone you know would love to have an ERP done, don't hesitate to call SERVPRO today! 

How Old is My Fire Extinguisher?

8/22/2021 (Permalink)

Fire sprinkler with hang tag Fire sprinkler with hang tag.

Fire extinguishers do not last forever. Manufacturers prescribe most extinguishers with a lifespan of 5-15 years. What you may not know is how long ago you received yours. Any fire extinguisher with one or more of the following should be headed towards retirement:

  • Hose or nozzle is broken, cracked, and or blocked with debris.
  • Locking pin is missing or unsealed
  • Handle is wobbly or broken
  • Inspection sticker or hang tag (the record of checkups and maintenance) is missing

There are different types of fire extinguishers. Those with compressed gas can leak contents slowly as their seals weaken, while those with ammonium phosphate will solidify over the years, rendering the entire device unusable. You’re being proactive and putting your safety first and by asking this question because the answers can mean the difference between successfully responding to an emergency and being caught empty-handed.

Fire Restoration Can Ruin Your Personal Belongings

3/5/2021 (Permalink)

Every fire is different and even a small fire can ruin the most precious of your belongings.

With all the soot and the ash coming down it can seem like a total loss but that is not always the case, by calling a professional fire restoration company you can expect they will do their best to restore your items to preloss condition.

Fire restoration teams are essential, and SERVPRO of Culver City/Baldwin Hills can be there the minute the fire department clears it for our technicians to enter.

We will begin assessing your property immediately to determine what we can save and what needs to be replaced.

After the fire is out that’s where the team of SERVPRO of Culver City/Baldwin Hills comes in to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Removing Smoke Damage After a Fire

2/8/2021 (Permalink)

Any fire restoration professional can tell you when it comes to fire damage, the fire is the easy part. There’s really only one way to get rid of most damage to building materials charred by fire: remove them. Getting rid of the sight of smoke damage is a fairly easy thing to do. You can clean it, paint over it or remove the items. Odor on the other hand is invisible and even more bothersome and must be dealt with immediately. SERVPRO uses scientific methods and quick measures to remove smoke damage after a fire.

1. Get rid of the source of smoke odor

2. Seal salvageable surfaces

3. Clean everything left behind

Having your home professionally cleaned after soot, smoke, and fire damage can impact your health. The hidden damage from smoke can be hard to detect, you should always call SERVPRO after experiencing a fire loss of any size. 

The Do's and Don'ts of Dealing with Fire Damage

2/3/2021 (Permalink)

Facing a fire in your home or business can be overwhelming, to say the least. It’s crucial, though, to start your fire damage cleanup and restoration process as soon as possible, to get your life back to normal.

The Do's

  • Make safety a priority
  • Call your insurance agent
  • Call SERVPRO
  • Remove all clothing from the property and have it cleaned by professional fire damage restoration cleaners, not just a dry cleaner

The Dont's

  • Enter the building before the fire department gives you the go-ahead, even if it looks safe
  • Start to clean or wipe residue from walls, ceilings, and other surfaces
  • Use or try to clean carpets or furnishings impacted by smoke residues or debris until they are professionally cleaned

The residue left behind after fire damage may cause health problems if it’s not handled correctly. Only trained experts with professional equipment can ensure fire damage restoration is done safely and thoroughly. Call SERVPRO of Culver City/Baldwill Hills immediately when dealing with fire damage in your home or business.

City of Los Angeles Certificate of Appreciation

1/15/2021 (Permalink)

four men standing and smiling We are proud to be serving our community!

It was such an honor to receive a Certificate of Appreciation for the work our SERVPRO has done for the City of Los Angeles, California. Absolutely privileged to have Councilman David Ryu to tour our facility.  We were also happy to be able to help and donate much-needed gloves, masks, and supplies to our front line medical workers that are fighting this pandemic.

We are professionals that are uniquely prepared during this unprecedented time to clean and disinfect your home or business according to the protocols set forth by the CDC. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff performs on a daily basis.

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:

  • Retail Spaces
  • Water Fountains
  • Shelving/Racks
  • Sales Counters
  • Kitchen/Food Areas
  • Bathrooms
  • Schools/Classrooms
  • Offices
  • Fitness Equipment
  • Carpets and Rugs
  • Stair Handrails
  • Elevator Cars
  • Playground Equipment

Commercial Owners Be Prepared When It Comes To Mold Testing

1/9/2021 (Permalink)

Mold becomes a problem only when there is too much of it. In commercial buildings, mold overgrowth occurs in places that collect too much moisture such as air conditioning ductwork, trash chutes, and around water leaks from pipes, fixtures, or into the building envelope. Sometimes overgrowth is obvious to the eye and nose, drawn by a moldy smell, you discover a patch of greenish mold in the bathroom under a dripping sink valve. 

Other mold problems flourish out of sight with faint or no odor clues: behind the wall, for example, fed by a failing roof. 

Always schedule professional cleaning if you suspect the following on your property(s):

  • There is no visual evidence of mold but the smell of mold is present.
  • There has been a history of leaks or standing water issues.
  • Tenants complain of allergy or health symptoms that could be caused by mold such as sneezing, coughing, and headaches.
  • Tenants suspect mold issues or are unsure whether mold may be present.

You should call SERVPRO for any mold infestation that is more than a few feet in diameter; related to flooding or water damage; inside ventilation or heating systems or inside walls.

Keep Your Pets Safe From Risk of Fires

9/18/2020 (Permalink)

According to the American Red Cross, home fires are the most common disaster they respond to - and also the most preventable. Planning ahead is the best way to promote the safety of the people and animals in your home. From preventative caution to making an evacuation plan which should include pet safety.

Here are some steps to protect your pets:

  • They should have their own disaster supplies kit ready in advance which should include food, water, pet records, spare collars and/or leashes in case you need to control or calm them from being frightened.  
  • Have a safe place for them to stay if you need to leave your home.
  • Include your pets and take them with you when you practice your escape plan.  Train them to come to you when you call for them. 

Following these steps can lower the risk of harming your pets from a fire.

Home Sprinkler System for your Culver City or Baldwin Hills Property

1/31/2020 (Permalink)

ceiling with lights and sprinklers They're almost invisible and blend in with the decor of your home.

We’ve seen them in commercial and industrial properties and public buildings, but did you know you can get fire sprinklers installed inside your home? 85% of all US fire deaths occur inside the home and installing an automatic fire sprinkler could potentially save your life and your home. There is an 80% reduction in the risk of occupants dying in a fire when fire sprinklers are present. Additionally, there is a 70% reduction in direct property damage per fire. On top of reducing fire damages, fire sprinklers are cost effective. A report commissioned by the Fire Protection Research Foundation places the average national cost of installing sprinklers in new homes at $1.35 per sprinkler per square foot, or about one percent of the total construction cost. Sometimes smoke alarms just don't cut it and if you want extra protection against fires home sprinkler systems are not a bad investment. If you or someone you love suffers from a fire loss be sure to call us at SERVPRO of Culver City/Baldwin Hills.

Garage Fire Consumes Homes

1/28/2020 (Permalink)

burned garage Fire consumes home.

An electrical fire in the garage caused this home to go up in flames in Culver City, California.  This picture shows the tragedy of all that was lost after all the flames died down and the smoke settled.  SERVPRO of Culver City/Baldwin Hills was called onto the scene to perform a board up on all open windows, doors, holes, etc. to keep anyone from trying to break into the Culver City home.  Which would have been easily accessible otherwise because of the openings in the home.  Even though the Culver City homeowners were distraught over the damage done to their home, they were thankful SERVPRO of Culver City/Baldwin Hills was able to get out there quickly and board up their home for safety, and hopefully provide a little piece of mind. Call SERVPRO of Culver City/Baldwin Hills for all your fire needs.  Our team has performed similar job situations in cities such as Venice, Westlake Village, Santa Monica, Westwood, Century City and Brentwood to name a few. 

Fire Remediation Team

1/28/2020 (Permalink)

dirty kitchen Watch your step or you'll track soot with you everywhere you go.

SERVPRO of Culver City/Baldwin Hills deals with a lot of fires in the area, such as Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Playa Vista, Ocean Park and all over Southern California.  But this specific one was located in Brentwood and it was caused by an electrical spark from bad plumbing in a heater unit. This unit covered multiple condominium units and affected many tenants and their belongings. The before picture shows the mess that the soot had left after the flames had been put out and the smoke settled.  All tenants had to evacuate because of the health hazards that are brought with fire damages. Including, but not limited to, limited ability to see and had a hard time breathing; more severe symptoms can include headaches and/or migraines. The HOA was thrilled when it was cleaned up and done.  The tenants were just as happy being able to move back into their homes. 

3 Tips to Make Sure Your Home is Carbon Monoxide and Fire Safe

1/28/2020 (Permalink)

burned house Home fire in Culver City, CA

Carbon monoxide is tasteless, odorless, and invisible which makes it extremely deadly to those unaware of it. Most fire alarms in a home are equipped with a carbon monoxide detector. However, if yours does not come equipped with a carbon monoxide detector, here is a simple tip: you can buy a wall plug-in carbon monoxide detector to plug in anywhere in your house or place of business.  But experts suggest you place it next to your hot water heater.  The second tip to keep your home safe from a fire is to have an emergency fire extinguisher within your home but also out of the reach of small children.  The third and final tip is to know all the exits in your home and to have an escape plan.  No one can ever plan for a fire but we can be prepared whether you live in Westwood, Venice, Culver City, Baldwin Hills or in Marina Del Rey. Always call SERVPRO of Culver City/Baldwin Hills in case of a fire emergency because we are the trusted industry experts.

Dryer Fires

1/15/2020 (Permalink)

dryer machine burned You may not think of your clothes dryer as a fire hazard, but these appliances account for tens of thousands of house fires each year.

In Culver City, Baldwin Hills or anywhere in Southern California, you may not think of your clothes dryer as a fire hazard, but these appliances account for tens of thousands of house fires each year. The problem most frequently occurs when lint and dust are allowed to build up. Over time, this can cause the dryer vent to become clogged with highly flammable materials, which easily combust when exposed to high temperatures.

Even if you live in Venice, Santa Monica or in Century City, your best option for dryer safety is to clean the lint trap each time before you use the dryer, and to inspect and clean the dryer vent area to remove lint buildup and other potential blockages. Regular cleaning can ultimately make all the difference in avoiding a house fire.

Quick statistics: 2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year and cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss.

SERVPRO of Culver City / Baldwin Hills Has The Resources and Experience To Mitigate Any Size Water and Fire Damage!

1/9/2020 (Permalink)

Hallway in hotel wrapped up in plastic Westside of Southern California, Santa Monica, Los Angeles Luxury Hotel suffered fire and water damage.

Luxury hotel located in Santa Monica, Los Angeles suffered a small fire that set off the fire suppressant system causing water damage to four floors.  Our team quickly deployed our key project coordinators and water technicians to moisture map, photograph the entire loss for the insurance companies and owners, document the smoke/soot, set the proper mitigation equipment to control odor and begin to speed up the evaporation process. 

Our ownership is the first SERVPRO to utilize Matterport digital photography. This camera system provides a virtual tour of the affected areas to help all interested parties. Our team has performed work for the Ojai Valley Inn located in Ojai, California, the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake, California, the Disney Holiday Inn in Anaheim.  Rosewood Miramar in Santa Barbara was also cleaned by our team. Our team is the preferred vendor for Caruso Properties.