Recent Fire Damage Posts

Celebrate Summer Safely

7/25/2018 (Permalink)

Summer in Central New York is the time to enjoy the great outdoors! It is however, important to keep safety in mind. Please consider the following tips in order to enjoy being outdoors with friends and family in a safe way to keep you and your loved ones safe all summer long!

  • When using charcoal grills, only use start fluids designed for BBQ grills. DO NOT add fluid after coals have been lit.
  • When using a gas grill, ensure the hose connection is tight. You want to avoid having a gas leak which may cause a fire to ignite outside of the grilling area. Applying soapy water to the hose will easily help identify any leaks.
  • When camping, always use a flame-retardant tent and set up any camp far away from the campfire.
  • Always build a campfire downwind from the tent area.
  • Clear any vegetation and dig a pit before building your fire.
  • Extinguish the fire before leaving the site or going to sleep.
  • Store liquid fire starters away from the tent area and only use dry kindling to freshen a campfire.

Steps to Take After a Fire

7/2/2018 (Permalink)

Fires can be understandably overwhelming. Here are the first steps to take after a fire.

  • Make sure the local fire department has given the okay to go inside the residence.
  • Call your insurance company so they can start a claim and initiate paperwork. If you are a tenant contact your landlord.
  • Call loved ones to let them know you are okay and inform anyone who wasn’t home what happened.
  • Secure the residence to prevent theft by locking doors and covering windows or holes. If you need help, give us a call! We offer board up services to secure the property. 
  • Get a copy of the fire report by contacting your local fire department.
  • If the residence is uninhabitable, contact a friend or relative in the area to see if you can stay with them or the American Red Cross for assistance.
  • Notify your employer, friends, family, post office, children’s schools, delivery services such as newspapers, utilities, telecom services and the police all of your current move.
  • Consider the cleanup requirements. Does all of your contents need to be cleaned? Does every rooms need to be cleaned? Was the affected area contained to certain rooms in the home?
  • Talk to your insurance company about what your policy covers before having a cleanup and restoration company come on site.
  • If counseling is needed, especially for small children, don’t be afraid to seek help.

Grilling Safety Tips

6/18/2018 (Permalink)

Summer is finally here and we all know what that means…. grilling time! Who doesn’t love a nice steak or veggies cooked on the grill while basking in the sun? It’s easy to forget that while grills are a great way to cook food in the summer, there are some hazards that go along with them. Here are some tips to remember for safe grilling. 

  • Use your grill outside and away from low roofs. This will not only prevent toxins from lingering in your home but will also prevent potential fires.
  •  Place the grill on a flat surface away from anything that may catch fire such as trees, shrubs, fences and hedges.
  • Do not grill with loose clothing or dangling bits that can catch fire or are flammable.
  • Have a fire extinguisher on hand and know how to use it. It’s also a good idea to have a small squirt bottle fill with cold water nearby to douse any minor flames.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grilling area.
  • Do not leave the grill unattended.
  • Smoke and char contain chemicals that have been linked to health problems including cancer. Do not stand over the barbeque and inhale the smoke if at all possible. While char stripes may look good on your steak, char has been known to contain cancer causing toxins. Cook the meat to your liking and then remove it from the grill before too much char builds up.
  • Bristles from wire brushes have been known to get stuck on the grill and then people’s food which enters the digestive system causing abdominal pain. Use a different kind of nylon or plastic brush to clean your grill to ensure no one digests these harmful bristles. If you already use a wire cleaning brush or plan to continue using one, just make sure you check your grill before cooking to clean any bristles off.

Follow these simple safety tips for a fun and safe grilling season!                              

Fireworks Safety

6/18/2018 (Permalink)

When most people think of summer, particularly the Fourth of July, fireworks come to mind. While it’s best to just let the pros take care of bright light displays, we realize that many people often ignite their own fireworks. Here are some tips on how to stay safe while lighting off your own fireworks.

  • Never let young children handle fireworks.
  • Ensure older children are supervised closely by an adult when using sparklers and remind them to keep the sparkler away from their body, clothing, hair and others.
  • Store fireworks in a cool damp place until usage.
  • Do not use or buy illegal fireworks. These typically have names such as M-80, M-100, quarter pounder or blockbuster. Illegal fireworks account for the majority of accidents cause by fireworks in the first place.
  • Never try to make your own fireworks.
  • Read the labels on all fireworks before igniting so you are aware of safety precautions and performance of each.
  • Do not carry fireworks in your hand or pocket as they could ignite due to friction.
  • Never light fireworks in a metal or glass container.
  • Wear protective goggles when lighting fireworks off or if you happen to be near the ignite site.
  • Always have a bucket of water nearby and a hose just in case.
  • Never reignite a dud. Wait twenty minutes and if it still hasn’t gone off, place it in a bucket full of water away from people, structures and flammables for several hours.
  • Never point a firework at someone, even in jest.
  • Ignite fireworks outdoors in an open space away from people, homes, brush and other flammable substances.
  • Only light one firework at a time.
  • Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water for several hours before throwing them away.
  • Do not pick up firework debris until several hours after the display as many of pieces may still be hot and can cause burns.

Please keep these Safety tips in mind when setting off fireworks this season!

Types of Fire Damage

6/1/2018 (Permalink)

 

Not all fires are the same. They are caused by and thrive on different elements so, as a result, classes of fires came about. Classifications of fires are needed to determine how to extinguish them properly. You wouldn’t want to re-ignite or spread a fire by using the wrong type of extinguisher. Determining what class a fire is, is detrimental to using the proper equipment to extinguish it.

Class A involve ordinary combustibles such as paper, wood, plastics, cloth, trash and items that leave ash as a residue.

Class B fires are fueled by flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline, propane, butane, paint and oil. Class B does not however include cooking oils or grease.

Class C are energized electrical fires which involve engines, transformers and appliances.

Class D fires are caused by combustible metals such as potassium, magnesium, titanium, sodium, and aluminum.

Class K fires are fueled by cooking oils, animal fat or grease. These normally occur in commercial kitchens.  

In one of our previous blogs, you can read about the different types of extinguishers and which ones should be used for each specific class of fire. 

Dryer Maintenance

4/16/2018 (Permalink)

There are many things in the home that should be checked on a regular basis to stop possible damage to your home. Have you ever checked your dryer vent to see if it is plugged? A plugged dryer vent could stop your dryer from running sufficiently and could possibly cause a house fire.

Dryers that are centrally located in the home are the most at risk of plugging up because the duct system is longer than ones that are located on an exterior wall of the home and vent directly to the outside.

Reasons for a dryer plugging up are:

  • Excess lint build up. Over time, lint builds up in the dryer ducting and can cause a blockage. It’s important to unhook the ducting 1-2 times a year and thoroughly clean it out from any lint or debris that may be blocking it. If possible, you can simply use a vacuum and vacuum out the dryer ducting. However, if your dryer ducting is longer and is ducted through different areas you may need to have someone do this for you. Call our office and we’ll schedule an appointment to have your dryer ducts out for you! We have special equipment that can thoroughly clean all of the dryer ducts.
  • Nesting pets. The dryer ducts can be a warm place for animals to borrow into. Animals may bring debris into the ducts to crate a home for themselves causing possibilities for fire damage. Checking that the ducts are not plugged will help ensure that this does not occur. 
  • Stuck exhaust hood flappers. From time to time, check the exhaust hood flap to ensure that it is not stuck.

Spring Fire Safety Tips

3/16/2018 (Permalink)

Spring Forward Safety Tips!

We recently moved our clocks forward an hour to get ready for spring and prepare for the warmer weather coming our way soon. This is the time of year we begin spring cleaning our homes, preparing to spend more time outside, doing repairs and refreshing our lives. This is also a great time to check things in our homes like smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers.

SMOKE ALARMS
According to the National Fire Protection Association Association, 3 out of every 5 home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no smoke alarms. Now is a great time to test your smoke alarm to make sure it still works and replace batteries if necessary. If your smoke detector begins making a chirping noise, that is a sign that you need to immediately replace it. The NFPA recommends having a smoke alarm in every bedroom and on each level of your home.

CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless gas that can have harmful affects on people and animals. CO alarms should be installed outside in a central location outside of bedrooms and on each levels of the home. Some smoke detectors are also CO detectors. Use the same rules for CO detectors as you use for smoke alarms, check that they are working and check their batteries.

FAMILY EMERGENCY PLAN
Now is also a great time to review your family emergency plan with the people who stay in your home. It’s good to remind everyone of the plan and make sure everyone is on board. Should any changes be necessary to the plan, now is a good time to discuss that as well.

EMERGENCY KIT
Because we never know when disaster may strike, it’s important to have an emergency kit in your home and car. During your spring cleaning, check to see if any supplies need to be restocked or replaced in your emergency kits.

Facts About Smoke and Soot

3/1/2018 (Permalink)

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

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  
Smoke and soot facts:
* Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
* Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
* The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Different Types of Smoke
There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, we 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 – (315-457-3432)

Your Belingings after Fire Damage

2/19/2018 (Permalink)

When you experience a fire in your home, the fire damage affects not only the structure of your house, but also your belongings. SERVPRO is here to help! SERVPRO understands your furniture, clothing, keepsakes and belongings are very important to you. We know that some of these items are essential to making a house a home.

After experiencing a fire, it is common to feel overwhelmed. We are here to make this awful situation better for you. SERVPRO offers a Contents Claim Inventory Service, this provides a detailed and accurate list of your belongings. Our technicians go room to room documenting your contents by creating a list and taking digital photos. This way, the lists and photos can easily be sent to you and your insurance company. Once the list is created, a preload value of contents can be created. This will help produce a detailed and accurate report to settle your insurance claim quickly and accurately.

When necessary, SERVPRO can complete move-outs and pack-outs for you! If your home requires extensive restoration or cleaning due to the damage from the fire, we can organize an efficient move-out of contents from the affected area. Move-outs allow for a quicker rebuild/remodeling and protects contents from damage during the remodel. While the rebuild/remodeling happens, your items can be inventoried and cleaned at our office. Should the remodeling take extra time, we can store your items until the project is finished.

When the restoration project is completed, we will move everything back into your home and help you get settled.

Different Types of Smoke

11/2/2017 (Permalink)

Did you know that there are actually different types of smoke which can cause damage to your home and contents during a fire? When we access the damage caused by fire and smoke, we take into account the cause of the fire and the type of smoke damage. This way, we make sure that the proper cleaning supplies and techniques are used to clean the fire and smoke damage. Just like there are different methods you would use to get a stain out of your favorite shirt based on what kind of stain it is, we use different cleaning methods based on what kind of smoke caused the damage to your home and contents.

Wet Smoke is occurs when plastic and rubber burn. The fire most likely burned at a lower temperature than other types of fire and leaves a very strong, pungent odor. Wet smoke leaves a sticky residue. There are often smoke webs in the corners that can be difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke often occurs when paper and wood burn. These materials burn quickly and at very high temperatures. The smoke rises and can cause a lot of damage to the ceilings and even higher levels that were not directly affected by the fire itself. 

Protein Fire Residue occurs from evaporation of material rather than an actual fire. This type of smoke can be hard to see, but causes a discoloration or paints and varnishes. Protein fire residue has a very strong odor which can be hard to get rid of.

Fuel Oil Soot often happens when a furnace has a “puff back”. This is caused when a furnace malfunctions and the HVAC system throws smoke throughout the home by way of the duct system. The furnace will need to be replaced or repaired before cleaning can begin to ensure that the problem does not occur again. A duct cleaning will also need to be performed so that left over soot in the ducts doesn’t get thrown around the affected areas again. 

No need to worry about figuring out what type of smoke damage you have, our SERVPRO team will assess the type of smoke that has affected your property and decide what cleaning methods will be the best.

Maintaining Your Electric System

8/5/2017 (Permalink)

Each year many fires break out in homes and commercial buildings due to a failure in the electrical system. While not every electrical fire can be prevented, there are precautions which can be taken to lessen this risk. 

Electrical fires can be caused by:

  • Broken wires
  • Wire insulation drying out
  • Loose switches or receptacles
  • Overheating caused by dirt an oil

Allstate Insurance company recommends that you have your electrical system checked by a licensed electrician every four years. Having an electrician assess the electrical system will ensure that your home or building is up to code and that any issues are addressed. If you see an appliance that has a broken wire, fix the wire immediately or replace the appliance. While replacement may be costly, it will reduce the chance of a fire. Tighten any switch or plug that appears loose. It is important that switches and plugs are secure. Remember not to overload outlets. If necessary use an electrical adapter with surge protection.

Studies show that faulty wiring is the number 1 cause of electrical fires. Watch for warning signs of faulty wiring:

  • Flickering lights
  • Breakers that always trip
  • Fuses that blow
  • A burning smell when appliances are plugged in
  • Outlets/switches that spark when plugging in or unplugging an appliance
  • Discoloration around outlets

Remember that prevention is the key to safety! Electrical fires spread quickly and can be life threatening and costly. Call your local electrician if you have specific questions or concerns about something in a home of building that you own. Working with electrical work can be very dangerous and it is important to hire an experienced technician to complete any necessary electrical work. 

Fireworks Safety

5/26/2017 (Permalink)

Who doesn’t love fireworks in the summer time? While it is so much fun to enjoy fireworks light up the night sky, it is important to be safe! Please read these safety tips to ensure you have a fun, safe night!

Safety Tips:

-Check to make sure that fireworks are legal in your area before buying and using them.

-Read instructions for proper use of the fireworks thoroughly before use.

-Do not allow young children to play with fireworks unsupervised.

-Do not hover directly over the fireworks at any time when lighting the fuse.

-Do not attempt to re-light fireworks that didn’t ignite on the first try.

-Keep water easily accessible in case of a fire or other accident.

-Do not point fireworks toward another person.

-Do not consume alcohol when using fireworks.

Facts about Fireworks:

-Sparklers are 15X’s hotter than boiling water.

- Approximately 200 people go to the ER everyday from June 17th-July17th with injuries related to fireworks.

-People ages 25-44 make up 40% of injuries reported from fireworks.

- There are 2X’s as many fires on July 4th than reported any other day of the year.

Have fun, but remember to be safe!

Electrical Safety

5/16/2017 (Permalink)

Did you know that May is Electrical Safety Month? We would like to give you some electrical safety tips which could help you avoid fire in your home! Between 2007and 2011, 48% of home fires caused by electrical failures were because of distribution errors. This means that the electric usage in the home was at an unsafe level, causing fires to start due to overloading the system.

Items in your home that you should check the wattage of to ensure they are not being overloaded are:

-Bulb wattage- ensure that you are using the correct wattage in lamps and fixtures

- Cords- replace any frayed, cracked or damaged cords as soon as possible

-Extension Cords and Power Strips- Do not over load! Only plug in one high-wattage appliance per power strip

-Outlets- if the outlet feels warm, this is a signal that the wiring is unsafe and should be checked out by a professional

-Appliances- Unplug any unused appliance

-Fuse Box-Make sure the fuses are the correct size for the circuit

-Circuit Breaker Box- Occasionally turn the circuit breakers off and on to make ensure they are in good working condition.

 

Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact an electrician to check out the electrical situation in your home. They are happy to come out and inspect your home for any improvements that can be made. It is important to make sure your house’s electrical system is up to code for the safety of you and your family.

Most Reported Causes of Fire

3/14/2017 (Permalink)

The National Fire Protection Association lists the frequency of reported fires by causes on their website. The following are the most frequently reported fires:

Appliances and Consumer Electronics- This list includes but is not limited to cooking equipment, heating equipment, washers and dryers, air conditioners and fans.

Child Play- Approximately 44,500 fires are started each year by children playing with matches, lighters and other fire starting materials not even knowing the dangers this type of play can cause.

Candles- Placing candles in places where they can easily catch fire and leaving them unattended.

Chemicals and Gases- Storing gases improperly and spontaneous combustion.

Holidays- Christmas trees, holiday lights and decorations.

Weather and Outside Elements- Such as lightening, brush, grass and trees.

Smoking Materials- Cigarettes and other smoking supplies.

It is important to take notice that many of the commonly reported causes of fires are preventable to some amount. It is important to take caution when utilizing anything that could have potential to start a fire. Some of the actions seem harmless, such as going to take a shower while baking in the oven. However, fires often start when we least expect it. It is better to be safe than sorry. For more information about fire visit: http://www.nfpa.org/news-and-research/fire-statistics-and-reports/fire-statistics

Removing Odors From Smoke Damage

2/28/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Removing Odors From Smoke Damage Ozone Generator

After a fire, you may have a strong residual smoke odor even after a full cleaning has been performed. Smoke odors can penetrate materials and get in hard to reach crevasses. In order to completely remove smoke odor we have an Ozone Generator that is used to oxidize odor. In addition to smoke odor, this Ozone Generator can be used to eliminate odors from pets, mildew, organic pollutants and more without the use of chemicals.

This Ozone Generator does not leave any residual film. All people and animals should vacate the area while the ozone machine is being used in. We seal the room to prevent dissipation to areas that do not need deodorization.

We recommend customers having their contents and structure ozoned following fire restoration to ensure all odors are removed.

Recently a fire broke out at a local business, Salt City Billiards, during the very early morning. (http://cnycentral.com/news/local/early-morning-fire-at-salt-city-billiards-in-north-syracuse) Many of the customers who play pool at this location had their pool cues and cases stored on-site at Salt City Billiards. The pool cues and cases can be very expensive and absorbed a good amount of smoke odor. We told the customers that they could bring their pool cues and cases to our office and we would put them in our ozone room free of charge to remove the odor.

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

1/18/2017 (Permalink)

Do you have a fire extinguisher in your home or business? Did you know that many insurance companies offer a discount for having a fire extinguisher in your home? For a mere $20-$50 you could save money on your homeowners insurance and have a life and property saving tool in your home.

If you have a fire extinguisher in your home, it is important to understand how to properly use it. After reading this article read the instructions on your extinguisher and become familiar with where everything is located on it. Make sure to share the information with everyone in your home so they too can be prepared.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends remembering the word PASS in order to properly operate your extinguisher.

Pull the pin. Hold the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.

Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.

Squeeze the level slowly and evenly.

Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

Make sure you store your fire extinguisher in a safe and easily assessable area. Check the date on your extinguisher and make certain it is not expired. Put in your calendar to check the expiration date yearly.

Before purchasing a fire extinguisher, visit NFPA.org to understand which type of extinguisher is right for your property.

What's the First Step After a Fire?

8/4/2016 (Permalink)

Fires can be understandably overwhelming. Here are the first steps to take after a fire.



  • Ask the firefighters or proper authorities on the scene if it is safe to go inside the residence.

  • Call your insurance company so they can start a claim and initiate paperwork. If you are a tenant contact your landlord.

  • Call loved ones to let them know you are okay and inform anyone who wasn’t home what happened.

  • Secure the residence to prevent theft by locking doors and covering windows or holes. If you need help, there are numerous companies that offer these services.

  • Get a copy of the fire report by contacting your local fire department.

  • If the residence is uninhabitable, contact a friend or relative in the area to see if you can stay with them or the American Red Cross for assistance.

  • Notify your employer, friends, family, post office, children’s schools, delivery services such as newspapers, utilities, telecom services and the police all of your current move.

  • Consider the cleanup requirements. Is this a small fire or a large project you will have to hire a company for?

  • Talk to your insurance company about what your policy covers before having a cleanup and restoration company come on site.

  • If counseling is needed, especially for small children, don’t be afraid to seek help.

Firework Safety

6/29/2016 (Permalink)

When most people think of summer, particularly the Fourth of July, fireworks come to mind. While it’s best to just let the pros take care of bright light displays, we realize that many people often ignite their own fireworks. Here are some tips on how to stay safe while lighting off your own fireworks.



  • Never let young children handle fireworks.

  • Ensure older children are supervised closely by an adult when using sparklers and remind them to keep the sparkler away from their body, clothing, hair and others.

  • Store fireworks in a cool damp place until usage.

  • Do not use or buy illegal fireworks. These typically have names such as M-80, M-100, quarter pounder or blockbuster. Illegal fireworks account for the majority of accidents cause by fireworks in the first place.

  • Never try to make your own fireworks.

  • Read the labels on all fireworks before igniting so you are aware of safety precautions and performance of each.

  • Do not carry fireworks in your hand or pocket as they could ignite due to friction.

  • Never light fireworks in a metal or glass container.

  • Wear protective goggles when lighting fireworks off or if you happen to be near the ignite site.

  • Always have a bucket of water nearby and a hose just in case.

  • Never reignite a dud. Wait twenty minutes and if it still hasn’t gone off, place it in a bucket full of water away from people, structures and flammables for several hours.

  • Never point a firework at someone, even in jest.

  • Ignite fireworks outdoors in an open space away from people, homes, brush and other flammable substances.

  • Only light one firework at a time.

  • Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water for several hours before throwing them away.

  • Do not pick up firework debris until several hours after the display as many of pieces may still be hot and can cause burns.


Fireworks are illegal in many states so make sure you check your state and local laws before lighting up the skies. Happy Fourth of July!

Grilling Safety Tips

5/23/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Grilling Safety Tips Grill.

Summer is finally here and we all know what that means…. grilling time! Who doesn’t love a nice steak or veggies cooked on the grill while basking in the sun? It’s easy to forget that while grills are a great way to cook food in the summer, there are some hazards that go along with them. Here are some tips to remember for safe grilling!



  1.  Use your grill outside and away from low roofs. This will not only prevent toxins from lingering in your home but will also prevent potential fires.

  2.   Place the grill on a flat surface away from anything that may catch fire such as trees, shrubs, fences and hedges.

  3.  Do not grill with loose clothing or dangling bits that can catch fire or are flammable.

  4. Have a fire extinguisher on hand and know how to use it. It’s also a good idea to have a small squirt bottle fill with cold water nearby to douse any minor flames.

  5. Keep children and pets away from the grilling area.

  6. Do not leave the grill unattended.

  7. Smoke and char contain chemicals that have been linked to health problems including cancer. Do not stand over the barbeque and inhale the smoke if at all possible. While char stripes may look good on your steak, char has been known to contain cancer causing toxins. Cook the meat to your liking and then remove it from the grill before too much char builds up.

  8. Bristles from wire brushes have been known to get stuck on the grill and then people’s food which enters the digestive system causing abdominal pain. Use a different kind of nylon or plastic brush to clean your grill to ensure no one digests these harmful bristles. If you already use a wire cleaning brush or plan to continue using one, just make sure you check your grill before cooking to clean any bristles off.


Follow these simple safety tips for a fun and safe grilling season!       

The Most Devastating Fire in U.S. History

5/10/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage The Most Devastating Fire in U.S. History Forest fire.

The Great Peshtigo Fire

The Peshtigo fire was the most devastating fire in U.S. History to date killing more than 1,500 people and decimating 1.2 million acres in Wisconsin and upper Michigan. Little is known about the tragic fire of Peshtigo on October 8th of 1871 for two reasons: one; the Chicago fire eclipsed the Peshtigo in the news headlines and two; all of the town’s records were burned in the fire.

The direct cause of the fire is unknown but there is speculation that several contributing factors were at play. The slash and burn method was commonly used during this time period in the area to clear land for farming and railroads. The wood that was cut remained off to the side of the farmlands and railroads where it was left to dry up and created perfect kindling for the fire. It had been a hot, dry year and many of the water resources in the area had been dried up or were at dangerously low levels. No one knows for sure how the fire ignited but with the above mentioned factors combined, it is generally believe that strong winds blew and the smallest spark ignited the kindling all around the area. The intense wind and dry climate created a fire tornado which swept the affected area, even jumping across the Peshtigo River.  The fire burned through 16 towns and the city of Peshtigo was gone in an hour.

There are theories that a comet or meteorite may have hit the Earth on October 8th, 1871 causing both the Peshtigo Fire and the Chicago fire but most scientific research says otherwise.  One other far-fetched tale is that of a cow tipping over a lantern to start the fire. A more realistic assumption is that the railroad workers caused a spark which ignited the brush or a spark flew from a train passing through igniting the brush around the tracks. We may never know the true cause of this horrific fire. The only safe haven during the catastrophe was the Peshtigo River. Today there is a museum and research center in downtown Peshtigo to remember the fire, the damage it caused and those who lost their lives in it. 

Classes of Fires

2/16/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Classes of Fires Which class of fire does this cooking fire fall into?

Not all fires are the same. They are caused by and thrive on different elements so, as a result, classes of fires came about. Classifications of fires are needed to determine how to extinguish them properly. You wouldn’t want to re-ignite or spread a fire by using the wrong type of extinguisher. Determining what class a fire is, is detrimental to using the proper equipment to extinguish it.

Class A involve ordinary combustibles such as paper, wood, plastics, cloth, trash and items that leave ash as a residue.

Class B fires are fueled by flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline, propane, butane, paint and oil. Class B does not however include cooking oils or grease.

Class C are energized electrical fires which involve engines, transformers and appliances.

Class D fires are caused by combustible metals such as potassium, magnesium, titanium, sodium, and aluminum.

Class K fires are fueled by cooking oils, animal fat or grease. These normally occur in commercial kitchens.

In one of our previous blogs, you can read about the different types of extinguishers and which ones should be used for each specific class of fire. 

Different Types of Fire Extinguishers

2/8/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Different Types of Fire Extinguishers Fire Extinguishers.

In order to understand why different fire extinguishers exist, first one needs to understand how a fire exists in general. Using the wrong extinguisher can even cause fires to re-ignite or spread in some cases.

The fire triangle is a model used to illustrate how fires start. The triangle includes 3 elements: oxygen, heat and fuel. Without these three elements, a fire cannot exist. Fire extinguishers are made to take away one or more of the three elements to cease the fire. Since there are different types of fuel involved in different fires, there are a variety of fire extinguishers one can use based on the source of the fire.

Dry Chemical is the most common fire extinguisher used today as it is effective on all types of fires and is most likely the one you have in your home or at your place of business. This type of extinguisher interrupts the chemical reaction by creating a barrier between the fuel source and the oxygen. This can be used on Class A, B and C fires.

Dry Powder extinguishers are similar to dry chemical in that they separate the fuel from the oxygen or remove the heat element of the fire. They are only used for combustible metal fires (Class D) and are ineffective on all other types of fires.

Clean Agent or Halogenated extinguishers use halon agents and halocarbon agents to interrupt the chemical reaction of the fire. Clean agent is mainly used for Class B and C however, it can be used on Class A as well. There are concerns regarding contamination when these are used which brings us to the next type of extinguisher…

Water Mist extinguishers are a newer development and extinguish the fire by taking away the heat component. These are much safer than clean agent extinguishers as no halocarbon is involved and are primarily for Class C but may be used on Class A fires as well.

Cartridge Operated Dry Chemical interrupt the chemical reaction of the three components in the fire triangle and create a barrier between the fuel and the oxygen components when used on Class A fires. This extinguisher is also effective on Class B and C fires.

Wet Chemical extinguishers are unique in that they remove the heat component and prevent re-ignition by creating a barrier. These extinguishers are used for Class K fires which typically involve deep fryers and commercial cooking operations but may also be used for Class A fires in commercial kitchens as well.

Water and Foam extinguishers not only take away the heat element but the foam separates the oxygen from the other elements. These are used in Class A fires only and should never be used in Class B or C. If used in a B or C classified fire, there is a risk of spreading and not extinguishing the fire.

Carbon Dioxide fire extinguishers remove the oxygen first and secondly, remove the heat with cold discharge. They can be used on Class B and C fires but aren’t normally effective on Class A fires.

Fire extinguishers exist for your safety but if used improperly, may cause more damage. Make sure you know what kind of fire extinguisher you have and what types of emergencies it should and should not be used for. 

Top Causes of Home Fires

1/14/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Top Causes of Home Fires Fire

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), home fires are the leading cause of all fire deaths in the United States. For the most part, home fires are easily preventable.

Here are the top causes of home fires:

 1.Cooking equipment. This may seem like a no brainer but believe it or not, cooking equipment is the leading cause of all home fires. Do not leave the stove or oven unattended while cooking. If you do need to leave the room, even for a second, make sure there are no flammable items such as dish rags,cookbooks, grease, curtains or paper products near your appliances. It’s always a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen as well, just in case.2. Heating, the second most common cause of home fires. Most fires involving heaters are caused by portable space heaters. They may be nice and convenient but blankets, lint and other flammables can easily get caught in them. If you have to use a space heater, make sure there are no loose materials that could easily burn around it.3. Smoking. Cigarette’s and their ashes can easily catch on curtains, bedding and clothing which can quickly result in an out of control fire. Many fires caused by smoking happen in the bedroom when someone falls asleep with a cigarette in their hand. If you must smoke, do so outside your home for the safety of everyone involved.4. Electrical fires can happen for a variety of reasons. Here are the top four:
  • Never remove the grounding plug on an appliance. Three pronged plugs exists on appliances that need extra power to operate. Get an electrician to install the proper outlet if you find this a problem in your home.
  •  Lamps and light fixtures. You should never install a bulb with wattage that is too high for a particular appliance. This will cause the bulb to overheat and in turn, catch the lampshade or other flammables nearby on fire. Another thing to avoid is covering your lamp shade or fixture with a cloth or paper. While it may look nice, it’s not worth the potential fire you may cause.
  •  Faulty cords and outdated appliances. Never use a cord that is worn or frayed. For this reason, you should also avoid running cords under rugs where they could become worn and go unnoticed for a long amount of time.
  •  Last but not least, outdated wiring. If your home is more than twenty years old, you may want to have a licensed electrician take a look at the wiring system. While replacing the system can get costly, it is nothing compared to a life or the belongings you could lose if the old wiring causes a fire.
Take the time to look around your house and ensure the safety of your friends and family by checking these common fire causes. Do you have a fire extinguisher? A working smoke alarm? How about a carbon monoxide detector? While it may seem tedious to check these items and think ahead, you will be able to sleep more soundly at night knowing you did.