Recent Fire Damage Posts

Winter Fire Hazards

1/11/2021 (Permalink)

A close up picture of two peoples cuddled by the fire place with the SERVPRO logo Call SERVPRO of West Fort Bend County today at 281-342-5326.

With the changing of the seasons comes cooler weather, and for most of us, it is a welcome change. Who doesn’t love snuggling up before a warm fire at this time of year? We’ve pulled out the sweaters and fluffy blankets to stay toasty, and most of us will employ a space heater or two before spring comes around again.

In your place of business, you will be taking those extra steps to make sure your staff is comfortable during the colder months, as well. Let’s make sure they stay fire safe! Here are some winter fire hazards to be aware of:

  • Most businesses won’t be using a fireplace to warm their interiors, but those who work out of doors may build fires on the job site to keep hands and toes functional. Make sure your crew is careful to use metal receptacles for those bonfires and that they place them far away from flammable materials such as wood and linens. If a wind comes up, things could get dangerous fast.
  • In your offices, the use of space heaters will be helpful. Inspect every unit used to make sure that cords and plugs are in good working condition, and enforce a policy that ensures they are never left running when the room is unoccupied or when the workday is over. Designate someone to oversee this; they should be the person who is normally last out the door. As the owner, it may very well be you.
  • Employ a landscape company to remove leaves and dead vegetation from your property. In the event of a fire in your building, space that is cleared from the foundation and exterior walls will help firefighters to gain access as well as prevent a fire from spreading further.
  • When repairing or renovating your offices or outbuildings, use fire-resistant materials whenever possible. Flooring, furniture, and paint can all be produced or treated after purchase to make them more fire safe.

The team here at SERVPRO of West Fort Bend County is always available to help you keep your business fire safe. In the event of damages sustained from fire or water, we have the experience and know how to complete a cleanup project quickly and efficiently, getting you back to work as soon as possible.

Should You Get A Roof Replacement?

10/7/2020 (Permalink)

a closeup photo of a roof with a man using a tool on it and the SERVPRO logo in the middle Call SERVPRO of West Fort Bend County today at 281-342-5326!

When it comes to knowing how often you should replace your roof, there really isn’t any hard and fast rule. You have to keep an eye on its condition to be able to tell if you need to start thinking about it. If your roof is showing signs of damage, that could lead to major water or storm damage to the rest of your home. Our team wanted to share a few potential issues your roof may develop; any one of these may mean it’s time to replace your roof. 

Age

An asphalt shingle roof should last between 20 and 30 years, so if you have a 40-year-old roof, just keep in mind that you will probably need to replace it entirely in the next 1-5 years.

Shingles

Shingles can curl in two ways: by “cupping,” which happens when the edges of the shingles turn upward; and “clawing,” which is when the edges stay flat and the middle starts to come up. Both are signs of weathering and indicate that potential leaks may possibly be developing, depending on the extent. Every homeowner finds themselves replacing a missing shingle, but it can be just about impossible to get a new shingle to match the color of an old one. Granule colors have changed pretty significantly over the years, and shingle colors often change with years of weathering. If your roof is starting to look like a patchwork quilt, you may want to consider replacing it soon. 

Damage

Cracked shingles are typically caused by wind damage, and if the damage is extensive and not isolated to just one area, you should start thinking about replacing your roof within the next few years. 

Algae Or Moss

This is not a big deal when it shows up on your roof, but it doesn’t give your home or business a great look. You don’t want to take matters into your own hands by power washing or scraping it away since that will often chip off all the protective granules and essentially render your shingles useless. You can use a wash that's one part bleach and one part water to remove algae or moss, and if you do decide to replace your roof, consider tiles that are algae-resistant.

Light

This issue is pretty obvious: if light can get in through your roof, so can rain. If you see any water stains during the next rainfalls, and if they spread or expand, you have an active leak, and it is time to contact SERVPRO of West Fort Bend County immediately to help remediate the water damage and potential mold growth.

Sagging

A sagging roof is typically an indication of a structural issue and demands immediate attention. There could be a problem with the decking in the attic or with the supports in the foundation, which is even worse. You're not necessarily in imminent danger, but this is the kind of thing that's a lot easier to take care of when it's small and localized, so call your roofing professionals right away for this roofing issue. 

When it comes to replacing your roof, there is no hard and fast rule. If you are experiencing water damage, it is probably time. Remember that SERVPRO of West Fort Bend County is here to help if you are dealing with water damage, fire damage, or a mold infestation. We are committed to getting your business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned!

Office Fire Safety Precautions!

10/7/2020 (Permalink)

In the event that a fire ever occurs in your office, it’s important to have a few fire safety precautions in place to keep your employees and commercial building prepared for dealing with one. While having a fire extinguisher and smoke detectors goes without saying, do your employees know what to do if the alarm sounds or they have to use the extinguisher?

Here are a few fire safety precautions that you should ensure are in place:

  • Make sure your employees know how to use a fire extinguisher. Every 6 months or so, hold a training session where your employees learn how to use a fire extinguisher if they don’t already know how to use one. Something as simple as this could be the difference between an accidental office fire from a microwave or a lighter being extinguished or burning up everything in sight.
  • Regularly change your smoke detectors’ batteries and ensure one is installed in every room. As a general rule of thumb, test your smoke detectors once a month and replace their batteries twice a year. By ensuring that your smoke detectors do their job and have the battery juice to sound, you can prevent office fires whenever smoke occurs first.
  • Share your office’s evacuation plan. Depending on the size of your office, you need to have one or multiple evacuation plans to adhere to the building’s fire code. Make sure to take into account any legal requirements for fire evacuation plans before you post them around the building and share them. 
  • Do a few fire drills. Sharing your office’s evacuation plan isn’t enough. Hold a couple fire drills and run your employees through the proper evacuation routes so they know where to go if the building catches on fire. Rehearsing an evacuation plan makes it that much easier to take action in the event that a fire actually occurs.


With all of these fire safety precautions in place, we hope that you’ll never have to manage the aftermath of an office fire. However, If you ever end up dealing with fire damage, water damage, mold, or other natural disaster damage, give SERVPRO of West Fort Bend County a call at (281) 342-5326. Our team of professionals are trained and equipped to help you manage restoration and cleaning.

Fire? We've Got You!

7/6/2020 (Permalink)

An image of a man made fire with twigs and the SERVPRO logo Call SERVPRO of West Fort Bend County today @ 281-342-5326!

Fires are absolutely terrifying, even the idea of a home fire sends a shiver down my spine. They are life altering events, that will most likely be talked about for a lifetime. We know they’re scary, which is why we are here to help you every step of the way. Our teams are caring and compassionate and know just how to handle the situation at hand. We focus on restoring, not replacing, so any and all of your belongings that can be restored will be, and you can rest assured that they will be taken care of as though they are our own. We have special equipment, tools, and cleaning supplies to make sure that your life gets turned right side up, and you’re back on your way.

Give us a call today at 281-342-5326!

Prevent House Fires

7/6/2020 (Permalink)

The outside of a house that is caught on fire with flames rising and firefighters putting it out and the SERVPRO logo Call SERVPRO of West Fort Bend County! 281-342-5326

Prevent House Fires

Check the dryer.

If you have a gas-powered clothes dryer, have it inspected once a year to make sure all connections are secure. No matter what type of dryer you have, always clean out the lint filter after a load is finished. Regularly check behind and around the dryer for pockets of lint or items of laundry that have fallen under or behind. Use a shop vacuum or hire a professional to thoroughly remove all lint and debris from the lint trap area and all external dryer vents at least once a year. 

Maintain electrical cords.

Regularly check the condition of electrical cords and watch out for frayed wires. Repair or replace damaged cords immediately. Electrical cords can produce heat, so don’t trap them under a rug or between furniture and the wall. When you’re not using them, unplug any appliances that feel warm to the touch when connected to power, including phone chargers. 

Use extension cords sparingly as a temporary fix, as they can deteriorate quickly with continuous use. Make sure any extension cords you use are rated for the wattage of the device they’re powering.

When it comes to power strips and surge protectors, don’t try to cut corners. Trusted name brands are best

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

7/6/2020 (Permalink)

A red triangle with a white skull and cross bones and the words "CO DANGER Carbon Monoxide" with the SERVPRO logo at the top Call SERVPRO of West Fort Bend County today at 281-342-5326!

Carbon Monoxide Alarms


Install carbon monoxide alarms to alert your family to this invisible, odorless, colorless gas before it’s too late. Carbon monoxide is created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely. Even a small amount of carbon monoxide can poison or kill a person if it is breathed in over a long period of time – such as overnight while sleeping.

  • Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas.
  • If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door.
  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. 

Home Fire Sprinkler Systems

7/6/2020 (Permalink)

A closeup picture of a sprinkler system attached to the ceiling and the SERVPRO logo Call SERVPRO of West Fort Bend County today at 281-342-53266

Home Fire Sprinkler Systems

Consider installing an automatic fire sprinkler system in your home. Smoke alarms are designed to detect, not control, a fire. Home fire sprinklers complement the alarms' work, providing a way to fight flames immediately.

  • Before the fire department can reach your home, sprinklers can prevent a fire from spreading and even extinguish a fire.
  • A sprinkler system can decrease the chance that deadly smoke and gases will reach your family.
  • In addition, sprinkler systems can put out fire when you are away from home, and if they are connected to an alarm system, may notify the fire department in your absence.

 To ensure sprinkler system reliability, be sure to use a qualified installer who adheres to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes and standards and local fire safety regulations

Remember to stay LOW!

1/9/2020 (Permalink)

Cartoon of a boy with green shirt and brown pants crawling on the floor while 2 black clouds are above him Call SERVPRO of West Fort Bed County at 281-342-5326 today!

Stay Low

If you can see smoke in the house, stay low to the ground as you make your way to the exit. In a fire, smoke and poisonous air hurt more people than the actual flames do. You'll breathe less smoke if you stay close to the ground.

Smoke naturally rises, so if there is smoke while you're using your escape route, staying low means you can crawl under most of it. You can drop to the floor and crawl on your hands and knees below the smoke.

Know How to Get Out of the House

Getting out through a door that leads outside should be your first choice as an escape route. But also ask your parents about windows and if they would be possible ways to get out. Even windows on a higher floor could be safe escape routes if you had help, like from a firefighter or another adult.

Ask your parents to teach you how to unlock the windows, open them, and remove the screen, if needed. Make sure you only do this in an emergency! Lots of kids are injured because they fall out of windows.

Sometimes, families even have collapsible rescue ladders that can be used to escape from upper floors of a house. If you have one, ask your mom or dad to show you how it works.

Besides planning your escape routes, you'll also want to know where family members will meet outside. This is helpful because then everyone shows up in one place and you'll know that everyone is safe. You might choose the front porch of a neighbor's house or some other nearby spot.

We Are Here To Help!

10/7/2019 (Permalink)

Fires are devastating and can mean so much heartache and headache for your home. We know that, and that’s why we make it our mission to treat every fire with the care and compassion needed to make sure that your fire is handled in a quick, professional, and caring manner. We treat every fire the exact same, whether it’s a huge office building, or a small home. We want our customers to make sure they feel heard and understood with their concerns. We work hard to bring your home back to preloss conditions and will clean everything top to bottom in the affected area. We will even wash your textiles for you if they’ve got a gross soot smell to them.

If you’ve been affected by a fire, give us a call today at 281-342-5326!

Heightened Risk Of Fire Damage For Halloween

10/7/2019 (Permalink)

A pumpkin with a face carved out of it and a light inside with a dark blue background and SERVPRO logo next to it If you found yourself in the midst of a fire because of a holiday decoration mishap, give us a call today at 281-342-5326

With Halloween coming up, it’s officially spooky season! It’s definitely my favorite time of the year. I love all the decorations, pumpkins, and the cooler weather coming in is always a plus. But, with that comes a heightened risk of fire damage. Did you know that on average, Halloween decorations cause about $13 million dollars’ worth of damage each year? Along with that, decorations caused about 860 home structure fires per year between 2009-2013! That’s just the beginning – those numbers climb through the rest of the year with fire damages escalating because of the holiday season.

It’s important to make sure that we are fire aware when it comes to decorations and the holidays. Make sure that all decorations are away from heat sources, including flowy costumes. Make sure you blow out your candle when you leave the room, and if you want to have the smells of a candle, but not the flame invest in a wax warmer – though make sure you follow good safety habits when it comes to electrical heating elements. It may not have fire, but it still can be hot! If you like the look of candles, but don’t mind not having a scent – get battery operated candles! They come in various sizes, shapes, and colors and often times are made out of wax. They are fireproof, pet proof, and kid proof!

Fire Plan Anyone?

7/8/2019 (Permalink)

House fires are unpredictable. As much as we try to prevent them, sometimes the unthinkable happens and a little spark from faulty wiring you didn’t know about can leave your home engulfed in flames. When this happens, do your and your family have a plan for getting out of your home and to a safe meeting point? A fire escape plan is an invaluable tool to make sure you and your family knows just what to do incase of a fire.

  1. Take a weekend and draw up a floor plan of your home for a visual to plan out a fire escape route. Walk through your home with your floor plan and note all the possible exit routes.
  2. Keep leashes and carriers by the door, and make sure your pet always wears her collar and tags if she escapes during the chaos. Note where your pet goes when scared to tell a firefighter if you don’t have the opportunity to get them out. Train your pet to come when they’re called.
  3. Choose a meeting place away from your home like a neighbor’s mailbox, sign post, or light post and mark the spot on your map.
  4. Do a tour with your entire family to make sure that they understand the plan.

In case the inevitable has happened, give SERVPRO of West Fort Bend County a call at 281-342-5326

Put Out A Grease Fire FAST!

7/8/2019 (Permalink)

Cooking is not usually considered a dangerous hobby, and many people find it relaxing. Keep your cooking from going south by making your kitchen as safe as you can. Oil is a big ingredient for many dishes, but unfortunately, it can be easy to ignite, and grease fires are not easily put out with water. If you have a grease fire in your kitchen, you need to act quickly to keep the fire from spreading. Follow these steps to put out a grease fire in your kitchen;

  • Turn the Heat Off: This step may seem obvious, but in the heat of the moment, you may be panicking and forget to do so. Leave the pot where it is or you risk burning yourself and spilling oil which could spread the fire.
  • Put a Metal Lid on the Pot: Fire uses oxygen to burn, so putting a metal lid on the pot will cut off that supply of oxygen. DO NOT use a glass lid; the heat could cause it to shatter. Once the fire burns through the small amount of oxygen left in the pot, it will put itself out. Keep in mind that this will only work if the fire is contained to the pot and has not spread to any other part of the kitchen.
  • Use Baking Soda or Salt: This is another trick that will work if the fire is relatively small and contained. Baking soda releases carbon dioxide which smothers the fire, but if the flames are already too large, this may not work. You will need a lot of baking soda for this. Another trick you could try is using salt. Salt is able to absorb a lot of heat, so it is able to remove so much heat that the grease simply can’t support its own combustion any more.
  • Use a Fire Extinguisher: Every household should have a fire extinguisher in an easily accessible part of their kitchen. Once you have gotten your fire extinguisher and you have had it properly inspected, you should know how to properly use it, or you could make the flames worse. Do not stand directly in front of the fire when you spray the extinguisher, or the pressure from it can actually spray the grease further and spread the fire. Stand back at a safe distance and spray the fire. This may take a little longer than you would think, so continue using the extinguisher until you are sure the fire is out. Using a fire extinguisher will contaminate your kitchen, so make sure you give it a thorough cleaning before cooking in it again.
  • Call 911: If the fire does get out of control, call 911. It is better to do this sooner than later. Get yourself and any family members out of the house until the fire department arrives.

If you need restoration after fire damage, call SERVPRO® of West Fort Bend County today at 281-342-5326.

What To Do "Electrical Fires"

7/5/2019 (Permalink)

Fires in the home can come in many forms. One of the most dangerous fires is an electrical fire. Electrical fires are especially dangerous because not only is a fire ignited, the electricity has the potential to shock an unsuspecting victim. 

Causes of Electrical Fires

Electrical fires often catch homeowners off guard when they are doing something they do everyday, like using a household appliance or plugging something into a socket or power strip. Below is a list of the common causes for electrical fires:

  • Faulty outlets and appliances
  • Light fixtures, lamps, and light bulbs
  • Extension cords
  • Space heaters
  • Faulty wiring

December and January are the months with the most electrical fires due to an increased amount of heating appliances and lights. However, electrical fires can spark without the overhaul of Christmas lights. Overburdening your electrical outlets with any appliances can quickly spark an electrical fire.

How to Prevent an Electrical Fire

Here are some helpful tips to keep from falling victim to an electrical fire:

  • Discard all cords and plugs that are worn or frayed
  • Never break off the 3rd prong on a plug to plug it in to a 2-prong socket.
  • Keep electrical cords away from water and heat sources.
  • Avoid running electrical cords under rugs.
  • When unplugging an item, hold the plug securely and remove the plug from the outlet. 
  • Only use extension cords temporarily

Properly Putting Out an Electrical Fire

Because electricity is involved, you cannot put out an electrical fire the same way you would a typical fire. 

  • Call 911 and GET OUT
    • Call your local fire department or dial 911.
    • Safely exit the building.
    • Keep a safe distance from the building until fire fighters arrive.
  • Disconnect the Electricity
    • If an appliance is on fire, simply unplug the appliance by grabbing the plug and disconnecting from the wall.
    • If the fire is in the wall or in an appliance you can’t unplug, safely get to the switch or electrical panel to shut off the electricity.

If the power is ON:

  • Smother a small fire with baking soda.
  • Use only a class C or ABC fire extinguisher. Remember to use the fire extinguisher properly.
  • NEVER use water on an electrical fire that is still energized.

If the power is OFF:

  • Use a fire extinguisher. If the power is off, it doesn’t matter which kind of fire extinguisher.
  • Use a fire blanket or other thick blanket to smother the fire. 
  • Douse the fire with water. This is only safe and effective if the power source is OFF.

Tips On How To Prevent Winter Home Fires

1/2/2019 (Permalink)

The winter season is here and with it comes shorter days and lower temperatures. No matter where you live, winter brings a change in the weather. In an effort to keep our homes and workplaces cozy, many people use alternative heat sources like fire places, portable space heaters, and wood burning stoves. Did you know, heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths? According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment fires cause estimated $1 billion in direct property damage annually. Keep the following safety tips in mind to help reduce your risk of a heating-related fire. 

  • Keep anything flammable at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or a portable space heater. Have a three foot "kid-free zone" around open fires and space heaters.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.

50% of all residential heating-related fires are reported during the months of December, January and February.

  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturers instructions.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly.

If your property suffers from fire damage, contact SERVPRO Of West Fort Bend County to help make it "Like it never even happened."

How To Address Fire and Water Damage

10/8/2018 (Permalink)

The fire at your house in Houston, TX is blazing out of control. You watch from the street as the fire hose saturates your home with 1200 gallons of water per minute. You breathe a sigh of relief as the fire is extinguished. Now you face a new challenge, a combination of fire damage and water damage. To combat this disastrous duo, take the following steps to return your home to preloss condition.


Initial Steps.


It is overwhelming when you first see the destruction in your house. You recognize that you cannot clean up the mess yourself. Who do you call?

• Contact the insurance agency that holds your homeowner’s policy. Inform the agent of the damage and discuss coverage and next steps.
• Call an emergency fire and water restoration company. The specialists typically arrive at your home within hours to inspect and assess the damage, day or night.
• Before restoration efforts begin, the specialists may board up windows and/or place a tarp on the roof to secure your property and prevent further damage.


Water Damage.


Firefighters use a significant amount of water to snuff the inferno, leaving your home drenched. What steps do water restoration specialists take to properly dry your home?

• Wet/dry vacuums and pumps extricate flooding and excess water from the house.
• Industrial strength dehumidifiers and air movers remove moisture from walls and floors.


Fire Damage.


The fire is gone, but the soot and smoke remains. How do fire restoration specialists clean and deodorize your house?

• Specialized equipment is used to remove smoke and soot from walls, ceilings and floors.
• Fogging equipment and air scrubbers remove smoke odors from the source.

It is heartbreaking to see your home in Puyallup, WA, engulfed in flames. The aftermath of water and fire damage is equally hard to face. Work with your insurance agent and a fire and water restoration specialist to return your home to preloss condition and resume your life.

For more information, please visit us at www.SERVPROwestfortbendcounty.com

Protein Fires in Houston Texas: What Are They and How Are They Treated?

10/8/2018 (Permalink)

Protein fires create an especially unique restoration challenge. Fire damage caused by burnt food can also create odor issues which are difficult to mitigate. Here are some important facts regarding this type of fire.

  1. Protein fires generally leave little visible residue, often confusing the untrained observer
  2. They create a significantly more repugnant smell than most other fires
  3. The nature of the burn causes the odor to permeate structure and furniture even more completely than other fires
  4. Require extremely thorough cleaning to remove the odor
  5. Sometimes require a sealing agent or even repainting to completely eradicate the odor
  6. May require multiple attempts and methods to achieve customer satisfaction

It is also important to recognize that perception of odor is highly individual.  There are no tools available to “measure” smell, and as a result, a homeowner may perceive odors that technicians or even neighbors cannot.  Often times, because of the strong link between smell and memory, a homeowner may experience “phantom odors” where the memory of the event causes reproduction of the odor even after thorough cleaning.

Fire Damage In Your Home Or Business? Call the professionals at SERVPRO of West Fort Bend County at (281) 342-5326.

Fort Bend County Smoke and Soot Cleanup

7/2/2018 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of West Fort Bend County 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 – (281) 342-5326