Recent Fire Damage Posts

Central Florida Wildfires and Prevention

5/4/2021 (Permalink)

Never throw a lit cigarette in a wooded area, never leave a fire unattended, always practice fire safety. Things you should know about a fire. It needs key ingredients to be a fire: Heat, Fuel, and Oxygen. Without these, a fire won’t burn.

Safety Tip of the day: When burning Brush always keep a water hose close by. It also helps to wet the ground around the fire to keep it from spreading.

SERVPRO of Winter Haven is a Florida State licensed Certified Building Contractor, Mold Remediator, and Mold Assessor. We are IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) certified in Fire/Water/Mold clean-up & restoration. Call us at 863-551-5004, we are always here to help.

To see the most current fire Incidents in Florida follow the link below to Florida Forest Service.

Wildfires Prevention

Fire – What to do and what not to do

5/4/2021 (Permalink)

The first 24 hours can make the difference between restoring versus replacing property and belongings.

SERVPRO of Winter Haven has a 1-4-8 Service Response Guideline. Meaning:

1:  Within an hour from notice of loss a SERVPRO Professional contacts you to arrange for service.

4:  Within 4 hours of notification of loss we are on-site to start mitigation services.

8:  Within eight hours of on-site arrival, a verbal briefing of the scope is communicated to the appropriate person.

DO:  Limit movement within the building to prevent soot from spreading and additional damage from happening.

DO:  Place clean towels on rugs and high traffic areas

DO:  Coat chrome faucets, trim, and appliances with petroleum jelly

DO:  Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and carpeting.

DON'T:  Wash any walls or painted surfaces

DON'T:  Shampoo carpet or upholstery

DON'T:  Clean any electrical equipment

DON'T: Send clothing to dry cleaner since improper cleaning may set smoke odor

Call the Service Professional

5/4/2021 (Permalink)

Cleaning and restoring homes and businesses is not an easy thing to do. SERVPRO has over fifty years of experience in the restoration industry, and we have advanced techniques and equipment to restore your property correctly. You'll want to hire a professional restoration company like SERVPRO of Winter Haven. We are always open, 24/7/365, to respond to your call. We understand the importance of an immediate response to a fire damage call.

If you should suffer fire and smoke damage to your Residential or Commercial property, contact the fire damage restoration pros at SERVPRO of Winter Haven. We have the knowledge and experience to clean up and restore fire and smoke damage. Day or night, 24/7, we are ready to answer your call. 863-551-5004

Understand Why Black Cobwebs Are On the Ceiling After A Fire

5/4/2021 (Permalink)

Soot webs are also known as black cobwebs

You may have seen some black webs dangling in ceiling corners if you have ever been to a property that just had a fire disaster. They seem to be cobwebs coated with soot at first sight. The majority of our customers would comment on their lack of cleaning ability. Luckily, these "webs" aren't really webs from a spider.

Our fire restoration experts have seen quite a number of fire-damaged properties. When it comes to the ceilings and walls, the extent of the damage can be evident. However, sometimes, the most severe damage is hidden in attics or between walls; it is undetectable until we dive in with further inspection. The black spider webs that come out of nowhere just after a fire are among the most apparent fire damage indicators.

What are the black cobwebs after a fire?

Soot webs, also known as soot marks, are formed when ionized soot particles attach and stick together. Soot particles are most common in ceiling corners, where the surfaces and air are colder. If you come across soot webs in your house, don't touch them because they're very sticky.

Soot webs, also known as "Black Cobwebs," are often confused as spider webs. These spider webs are known as "Soot Tags" and have nothing to do with real spider webs. In the case of a fire, spider webs will burn up very quickly.

The science behind soot webs

When petroleum-based or synthetic materials catch fire, black cobwebs, also known as soot tags, are formed. Soot forms and binds together in long strands during a fire, resulting in black web creation on ceilings and corners. 

The heat from a fire travels into cooler regions; as the air tries to maintain the equilibrium. Since soot is transported through the air with heat, soot particles accompany the air into cooler areas with weak circulation and then concentrate.

The ionization process of burning (especially) synthetic materials such as polymers and rubbers, produces charged smoke particles that can attract onto specific surfaces and to each other, developing chains and gradually web-like formations. They form in conditions known as wet smoke, which includes low heat or a smoldering environment.

In short, soot is a combustion product, and when the particles are charged, they quickly form soot tags or long chains of soot marks. So, while it seems like a bunch of soot got caught on old spider webs, it's a completely new structure.

What is the best way to clean up soot?

If soot webs go untreated, the acidic particles in the soot will damage your property and appliances. Homeowners should keep in mind that they should never try removing it themselves without proper chemicals as it can cause further damage to the walls and ceilings. 

When it comes to smoke damage on surfaces, our technicians take the following measures to ensure that the best cleaning agents are chosen:

  • Testing whether they're dealing with wet or dry smoke residues.
  • Scoping of services to make sure that cleaning methods chosen do not harm surfaces
  • Using specialized tools, like chemical sponges designed to remove soot

To start the soot cleaning and stage smoke reduction of our fire damage restoration procedure, SERVPRO will use air scrubbers with HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters to clear impurities and odors from the air.

Following that, our professionals will use HEPA vacuums to effectively trap ash, soot webs, and dust spores that have blanketed your walls and ceilings. SERVPRO will also use approved chemicals to disinfect and extract odors from both horizontal and vertical surfaces of the contaminated region as a precaution.

Why contact SERVPRO

No fire damage is the best sort of fire damage. SERVPRO is a renowned company in the industry, and it has been serving customers in Winter Haven since 2011. If you want your everyday life to be normal again after you have suffered fire and smoke damage, SERVPRO Winter Haven is the most reliable option for you. 

While we hope you never encounter soot damage in your home, and if you do, call our fire damage restoration team to make the fire "Like it never even happened."


Our team is fully equipped with state-of-the-art tools and has the knowledge and experience in restoring fire damage in no time. We offer 24/7 emergency services to our customers, so contact us today!

Causes of House Fire

5/3/2021 (Permalink)

A house fire can be caused by many things but one of the leading causes is cooking equipment. Stoves, Microwaves, Burners, all have the potential to cause some serious damage. Knowing some safety tips when using these items can prevent fires. If you are cooking something, never leave it unattended, always keep a fire extinguisher in your home, be cautious when cooking with grease and never put metal in a microwave. If you have any damages call SERVPRO.

SERVPRO of Winter Haven is a Florida State licensed Certified Building Contractor, Mold Remediator, and Mold Assessor. We are IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) certified in Fire/Water/Mold clean-up & restoration. Call us at 863-551-5004, we are always here to help.

Source: https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Top-causes-of-fire

Dining Room Fire Damage

5/3/2021 (Permalink)

After the fire trucks are gone, your Winter Haven home and belongings likely suffer from not only fire and smoke damage, but also extensive water damage from firefighting efforts. SERVPRO of Winter Haven has the specialized fire and water damage cleanup and restoration training and experience to quickly restore your home to pre-fire condition. We also have specific training and equipment for odor removal and deep cleaning of upholstery and carpet.

Every fire damage situation is a little different and requires a unique solution, but the general process stays the same. When various materials burn, the soot they create differs greatly and requires a specific cleaning procedure. The steps listed below illustrate our process for the “typical” fire damage restoration.

Fire damage can be devastating for you and your family. Feelings of confusion and stress are common, and you need a caring expert to guide you through this crisis. We always treat your family with the greatest empathy and respect, and we’ll treat your property with great care.

Our “restore first” mentality helps to lower costs and get you back in your home or business sooner. This focus relies upon our specialized training and equipment to restore your property back to pre-fire condition

Choose SERVPRO of Winter Haven as your fire restoration specialists.

Call (863)551-5004 so we can make your experience "Like it never even happened."

Preventing Wildfires

5/3/2021 (Permalink)

Wildfires, in perfect weather conditions, can cause major devastation. Below are some safety tips that can help prevent the spread of a wildfire.

Clear leaves and debris from the gutters on the home
Remove dead leaves and vegetation from the yard and underneath porches.
Wildfire can spread to treetops. Prune trees so the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet from the ground.
For more ways to prevent the spread of a wildfire please visit https://www.nfpa.org.

SERVPRO of Winter Haven is a Florida State licensed Certified Building Contractor, Mold Remediator, and Mold Assessor. We are IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) certified in Fire/Water/Mold clean-up & restoration. Call us at 863-551-5004, we are always here to help.

Fire Safety Guide: Fire Prevention and How to Prepare for a Fire Emergency

4/1/2021 (Permalink)

Waking up to smoke and flames is one of the worst things that can happen to your family and home. Over 365,000 fires and 2,650 civilian deaths occur every year, resulting in $7 billion in property damage. The worst part is that most home fires are preventable. Keep your family and your home safe with just a little fire safety preparation and prevention. From creating a fire escape plan to making sure your smoke detectors are working properly, these fire safety tips are easy to learn and practice in your home.

How to prevent home fires
U.S. fire departments respond to a home fire every 86 second. That’s over 1,000 fires a day. Home fires can occur for a variety of reasons, but many are preventable. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires, accounting for over half of home fires in 2015, followed by heating equipment, electrical malfunction, intentional fires, and smoking materials. Home fires are not 100 percent preventable. Though, you can take the necessary steps today to reduce your risk of home fires. Here’s how:

Install and maintain smoke alarms on every floor of your home and within every bedroom. Roughly 50% of home fire deaths occur during the night while people are sleeping.
Never leave food cooking unattended, especially deep fryers and other frying equipment.
Avoid using portable and fixed space heaters, as heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fire deaths.
Have a fire plan that gets you out of your home in less than two minutes and practice it.
Avoid smoking in the house.
Electrical safety & home fire prevention
Electrical malfunctions are one of the leading causes of home fires. Make sure that you hire a qualified electrician to make any changes in your home. In addition, be sure to check electrical cords regularly, and make sure cords do not run across doorways or under carpets where they could be damaged. Remember to limit the number of plugs you have in an electrical outlet or power strip. Overloading an electrical outlet can not only trip a breaker, but it could also start a fire. Additionally, only use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage for each lamp. Your lamps and light fixtures should have a sticker that indicates the maximum wattage light bulb you may use.

Testing your smoke detector could save your life
Every smoke alarm should be tested monthly by pushing the “test” button and batteries should be changed when needed. It is best to always have at least one spare battery. If your smoke alarm ever “chirps,” it is time to replace the battery immediately. Most smoke alarm failures occur because of a missing or disconnected battery or a dead battery.

Three of every five home fires resulted from non-working smoke detectors or no smoke detectors at all. Having the proper fire safety equipment in your home can truly save your life. There are many brands and types of smoke alarms you can choose from. When choosing the best smoke alarm, look for one that meets the Underwriters Laboratories Standard with the UL label on the packaging.

Where to install smoke detectors
It is recommended that every home has a smoke alarm on every floor, including the basement, and inside every sleeping room. Smoke alarms should be mounted high on a wall not more than a foot from the ceiling or on the ceiling. Remember, smoke rises.

Kitchen: It is critical to mount smoke alarms in the kitchen at least 10 feet from any cooking appliance to minimize false alarms when cooking.
Basement: Smoke alarms in the basement should be installed on the ceiling near the bottom step of the stairs up to the first floor.
How to use a fire extinguisher
Fire extinguishers are helpful for putting out small fires. You can contact your local fire department for fire extinguisher training. To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word “PASS:”

Pull the pin. Hold the fire extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you and remove the pin to unlock it.
Aim low. Point the nozzle at the base of the fire.
Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
Sweep the nozzle from side to side.
Fire extinguishers should be checked regularly and tested by a professional every few years.

Different types of fire extinguishers
It’s also useful to know that there are five different types of fire extinguishers for putting out different kinds of fires.

Class A extinguishers: for use on materials like cloth, wood, and paper.
Class B extinguishers: for use on combustible and flammable liquids like oil, gasoline, and grease.
Class C extinguishers: best for electrical equipment and appliances like stoves, televisions, and computers.
Class D extinguishers: for use with flammable metals.
Class K extinguishers: best for cooking oils commonly found in commercial kitchens, including vegetable oil.
Most dwellings have a multipurpose extinguisher that covers Classes A, B, and C. You can purchase these types of fire extinguishers at any home improvement store.

Create a fire escape plan with your family
Home fires can rapidly spread, and every second count. Having a plan in place where you and your family can get out of the house in under two minutes once the alarm sounds is critical for your family’s safety.

Everyone in your family should know how to dial 9-1-1 in the case of an emergency. In addition, teach your children what a smoke alarm sounds like and what to do if they hear one. You should also establish and practice a fire escape plan, especially if you have small children. Here some tips for creating your fire escape plan:

Draw a floor plan of your entire house that shows all the doors and windows.
Show and discuss the plan with everyone in the house.
Identify at least two ways out of every room, if possible. This could be through doors or windows.
Once outside, everyone should meet at an agreed-upon meeting place a safe distance from the house. It could be the mailbox or the neighbor’s fence. Just make sure it is easy for young children to get there.
Basic fire safety tips for kids and families

Help your family stay safe in the event of a fire. Do not let children play with matches, lighters, or candles. Keep these items up and away from young children. In addition, teach your kids these basic fire safety tips to help ensure they know what to do during a fire emergency.

Teach children that if a doorknob is hot, you should NOT open the door.
Teach children how to “Stop, Drop, and Roll.”
Teach your kids to crawl on their hands and knees if they see smoke.
Take your child to the firehouse to meet a firefighter. This way, they learn what a firefighter looks like in their fire gear.
Teach your child to never hide under the bed or in the closet.
There’s no 100 percent guarantee that a fire will never happen in your home. That’s why it pays to be prepared and take steps to reduce the risk of a home fire. Follow the three “P’s” – prevent, plan, and practice. Make sure your home has working smoke alarms, your family has a fire escape plan, and you have practiced it.

Preventing Fires

4/1/2021 (Permalink)

Never throw a lit cigarette in a wooded area, never leave a fire unattended, always practice fire safety.  Always be aware of what's around you, even when you have a campfire. Things you should know about a fire. It needs key ingredients to be a fire: Heat, Fuel, and Oxygen. Without these, a fire won’t burn.

Safety Tip of the day: When burning brush always keep a water hose close by. It also helps to wet the ground around the fire to keep it from spreading.

 SERVPRO of Winter Haven is a Florida State licensed Certified Building Contractor, Mold Remediator, and Mold Assessor. We are IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) certified in Fire/Water/Mold clean-up & restoration. Call us at 863-551-5004, we are always here to help.

Smoke and Soot Facts

4/1/2021 (Permalink)

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 Winter Haven 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 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.

SERVPRO of Winter Haven is a Florida State licensed Certified Building Contractor, Mold Remediator, and Mold Assessor. We are IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) certified in Fire/Water/Mold clean-up & restoration. Call us at 863-551-5004, we are always here to help.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 
863-551-5004

Fire Restoration Company Vs. Building Contractor

4/1/2021 (Permalink)

Building contractors are typically very competent at new construction. Unfortunately, before the new materials go into a home being repaired from fire damage, there are many steps to be taken which the building contractor may not be willing or trained to handle. Fire, smoke, and water affect certain parts of a home differently, and therefore each area may require different methods of sanitizing, restoring, and rebuilding.

A fire restoration company has the training, knowledge, and specialized equipment to handle each unique situation. Many times, damage occurs in areas that are not visible, i.e., behind walls, in crawl spaces of attics or basements, or has affected the structural, electrical, heating, and/or plumbing systems. As is often the case, damage occurs far from the source of the fire, due to the fact that heat, smoke, and water travel. Many building materials in modern homes become toxic when exposed to fire, smoke, and water. Additionally, smoke or smoky water – trapped inside walls, under floors, inside electrical conduit, etc. – if not found and properly cleaned, will give off an odor for years. Finding and treating these threats requires experience and training, along with specialized equipment.

Some of the specialized equipment a fire restoration company has on hand is thermal imaging equipment, air scrubbers, negative air fans, ozone machines, commercial fans and dehumidifiers, HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) vacuum cleaners, specialized cleaning equipment, and soot and moisture measuring equipment. These specialized pieces of equipment, knowledge, and training are not something a local contractor is likely to have or invest in.

In addition, before the cleaning and repairs begin, there is a total evaluation process that must take place. Most fire restoration projects are covered by insurance. Fire restoration companies are experts at knowing what can or cannot be salvaged, and how much it will cost to salvage and clean building contents. They will then pack out the salvageable contents, bring them to their place of business, clean, deodorize, repair/restore and store the contents until the repairs to the home are complete. Building contractors are not prepared or capable of handling this step. Most building contractors have no need to deal with insurance companies, and thus have little experience with navigating the system. This can cause huge delays in getting the project completed in a timely fashion.

Restoration companies typically have people on staff who have years of experience in working with insurance companies and adjusters and can expedite the process by weeks and even months. Additionally, building contractors are used to getting paid directly by the customer, with much of the cost of the project being paid upfront. Insurance restoration funds can have multiple stages and require inspections prior to being released. Most building contractors are unable or unwilling to carry the huge lines of credit and reserves necessary to do restoration work.

Restoration companies must also carry unique and higher limit insurance policies than builders. Fire restoration requires demolition and removal of hazardous materials. Products that may be perfectly safe under normal conditions become dangerous after exposure to fire and heat. Restoration contractors must deal with lead, asbestos, formaldehyde, plastics, glues, oils, household chemicals, propane, gasoline, ammunition, and sometimes dangerous drugs, to name a few. Restoration companies are also trained to clean up bio-hazards sometimes present in the aftermath of a fire, including blood, feces, urine, bacteria, viruses, toxins, and medical waste. These risks require specialized insurance policies that a building contractor would not carry.

We have noted in this piece several reasons why you should choose a qualified restoration specialist versus a building contractor to restore your home or business after a fire.

The staff at SERVPRO of Winter Haven has the training, knowledge, and experience to restore your home or business after any type of disaster. Our promise that from the first sign of disaster until the end of recovery, you’ll have a partner who gets the job done.

Fire Safety

5/7/2019 (Permalink)

Fire safety is the set of practices intended to reduce the destruction caused by fire. Fire safety measures include those that are intended to prevent ignition of an uncontrolled fire, and those that are used to limit the development and effects of a fire after it starts. It is important to know what to do and who to call when you have fire damage to you home. SERVPRO is a 24/7 emergency response crew, we are always here to help. Don’t hesitate to call our office.

SERVPRO of Winter Haven is a Florida State licensed Certified Building Contractor, Mold Remediator, and Mold Assessor. We are IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) certified in Fire/Water/Mold clean-up & restoration. Call us at 863-551-5004, we are always here to help.

Fire - What to do an what not to do

4/26/2019 (Permalink)

The first 24 hours can make the difference between restoring versus replacing property and belongings.

SERVPRO of Winter Haven has a 1-4-8 Service Response Guideline. Meaning:

1:  Within an hour from notice of loss a SERVPRO Professional contacts you to arrange for service.

4:  Within 4 hours of notification of loss we are on-site to start mitigation services.

8:  Within eight hours of on-site arrival, a verbal briefing of the scope is communicated to the appropriate person.

DO:  Limit movement within the building to prevent soot from spreading and additional damage from happening.

DO:  Place clean towels on rugs and high traffic areas

DO:  Coat chrome faucets, trim and appliances with petroleum jelly

DO:  Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and carpeting.

DON'T:  Wash any walls or painted surfaces

DON'T:  Shampoo carpet or upholstery

DON'T:  Clean any electrical equipment

DON'T: Send clothing to dry cleaner since improper cleaning may set smoke odor