Recent Fire Damage Posts

Residential Smoke & Soot Cleanup

4/15/2019 (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 Chemung & Schuyler Counties 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 – (607) 846-3685

How to Avoid Candle Fires

4/12/2019 (Permalink)

Many homeowners light candles to freshen up a room or to have lighting during a power outage. However, candles still have the potential to create a fire that spreads throughout the building. Avoid a candle fire at all costs, and follow these helpful tips to stay safe. 

1. Do Not Leave Candles Unattended

If you are leaving a room with a candle in it, first extinguish the flame. After all, you can always relight a candle if you desire. 

2. Keep the Area Around Candles Clean

The shelf or stand where you place the candle should not have anything flammable on it. Additionally, you should avoid placing a candle on a nightstand near your bed. The bedding may catch fire if you are not careful. 

3. Toss It Once It Is Less Than Two Inches Tall

You do not want to risk a candle fire by allowing the flame to get too close to the base of the candle. It is better to simply throw away a candle once it is less than two inches high. They are relatively inexpensive to replace.

4. Keep Candles Away From Pets and Children

Candles should be placed high enough that kids and animals cannot get them. It is dangerous for children to play with anything lit. If the candle is left on a coffee table, then a dog’s tail may accidentally hit it and cause it to fall onto the floor. 

5. Do Not Put Out a Candle With Water

It is preferable to put out a flame by blowing on it rather than pouring water. The reason is that water can cause the wax to spill all over the place. The hot wax may still catch fire, causing flames to spread throughout a home. Candles are meant to be enjoyed, so always follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions to avoid a nasty candle fire and the impending smoke cleanup. 

Top 5 Most Common Causes of House Fires

3/28/2019 (Permalink)

Here are the top 5 most common causes of house fires as identified by the National Fire Protection Association.

  1. Candles

From 2007-2011, the NFPA says there was an average of 10,630 fires in the U.S. that were started by candles, causing 115 deaths, 903 injuries and approximately $418 million in property damage. That is an average of 29 candle fires per day.

Safety tips:

  • Never leave a candle burning near flammable items.
  • Never leave a candle burning in a child’s room or an unoccupied room.
  • Make sure candles fit securing into candle holders so they won’t tip over.
  • Blow out any candles before leaving a room or going to sleep
  1. Smoking

While the number of fires caused by smoking is trending downward, the NFPA found that there was still an average of 17,600 related fires per year resulting in 490 deaths and more than $516 million in property damage.

Safety tips:

  • If you smoke, consider smoking outside.
  • Use wide, sturdy ashtrays to catch butts and ashes.
  • Look for cigarette butts under furniture and between seat cushions to make sure no lit butts have fallen someplace where they can’t be seen.
  • Don’t smoke in bed, when you’re tired or around medical oxygen.
  1. Electrical & Lighting

According to the NFPA, in 2011 approximately 47,700 home structure fires were caused by some sort of electrical failure or malfunction. These resulted in 418 deaths, 1,570 injuries and $1.4 billion in property damage.

Safety tips:

  • Don’t overload outlets or electrical cords.
  • Make sure you have the right cord for the job – inside cords for inside, heavy duty/outside cords for outdoor use.
  • Don’t leave Christmas lights, Christmas trees, or halogen lights on overnight or when not at home.
  • Consider having an electrician perform an annual checkup of your home’s wiring.
  1. Dryers & Washing Machines

Clothes dryer fires happen more often than one might think, accounting for 16,800 home structure fires in 2010 and doing more than $236 million in property damage. 

Safety tips:

  • Clean the lint screen frequently and don’t run the dryer without it.
  • For gas and propane dryers, make sure there aren’t any leaks in the lines.
  • Vent the dryer to the outside of the house and ensure nothing blocks the vent pipe.
  • Clean the vent pipe and the area where the screen is housed.
  • Keep the area around the dryer free of combustible materials.
  1. Lightning

From 2007-2011, NFPA says there was an average of 22,600 fires per year caused by lightning strikes.

Safety tips:

  • Stay away from doors and windows during an electrical storm.
  • Do not use corded phones, computers, TVs or other electrical equipment during storms.
  • Unplug major electronics – TVs, stereo equipment, computers, and microwaves to minimize damage if there is a lightning strike close by.
  • Avoid plumbing such as sinks, baths, and faucets during a thunderstorm.

You experience a fire in your home, don't hesitate to call SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

What Should You Do After a Fire?

3/22/2019 (Permalink)

Call the Professionals!

What to Expect After a Fire

Fire and smoke damage is destructive and finding a restoration/mitigation company can be daunting. When it comes to fire and smoke restoration, SERVPRO professionals are trained to follow an extensive and thorough restoration process in order to get your home or business back to normal.  

Each fire/smoke damage case is unique and is treated as such by SERVPRO professionals. We will compose a detailed plan to rid your property of smoke and soot damage. Smoke odor latches onto and penetrates the surfaces of walls, ceilings, clothes, upholstered furniture, books, electronics and more. It is crucial that all affected contents and surfaces are properly sanitized by professionals. Oftentimes it can be difficult to determine the source of the smoke odor. Experienced professionals know here to look for smoke and soot damage and how to best approach the restoration process. 

If smoke damage is not taken care of by a professional, your property and its inhabitants may face greater damage. Smoke and soot can destroy the integrity of your home or business damaging the ventilation system, air ducts, insulation, wall studs, and even the framing/structure.

Different Smoke Odors

Cleaning smoke and soot damage yourself or using basic cleaning service runs the risk of recurring smoke odor which can cause respiratory problems. Smoke odor can be harmful depending on what type of material was burned. Smoke that comes from wood framing causes a "campfire" smell which lets off acetic acid, benzene, carbon monoxide (CO), formaldehyde, formic acid, heavy metals, nitrogen-oxides (NO20, phenols, sulfur dioxide (SO2).

Cooking fire smoke is very difficult to remove and has a lingering smell of burnt animal fat/protein. Grease splatter from a cooking fire requires specific cleaning techniques that only a professional can provide.

When plastic is burned, it releases dangerous chemicals such as hydrochloric acid, sulfur dioxide, dioxins, furans, and heavy metals, as well as particulates and are known to cause respiratory ailments which are potentially carcinogenic.

Fireplace wood fires also emit hazardous emissions, such as particulates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and other emissions that can be dangerous for health. 

Different Type of Smoke from Fire Damage by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

1/7/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

Did you know there are different types of smoke? There is “wet” smoke and “dry” smoke. What is burning in your home or business determines the type of smoke residue that is left. The different types of smoke are wet smoke (plastic & rubber), dry smoke (paper & wood), protein fire residue (produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire), fuel oil soot (furnace puff back), other types of smoke (tear gas, fingerprint powder, and fire extinguisher residue).

Our SERVPRO franchise is highly trained in how clean and remediate fire losses depending on the type of smoke. SERVPRO is also trained in how to assess smoke damage. For example, smoke is unique in its behavior as it gravitates to cooler areas and upper levels, smoke seeps through holes around piping and can go floor to floor between walls and flooring.

Dealing with any smoke or fire damage to your home or business, no matter how minor or severe, can be stressful and frustrating. If you experience a fire loss, and have issues with linger odor, wall discoloration, or even severe damage call in SERVPRO, we will be there to provide a free quote and plan of action to restore your property "Like it never even happened."

Fire Safety & Prevention by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

1/7/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

We tend to think about Fire Prevention each fall during Fire Prevention Month…. however fire can affect, homes, businesses, and communities at any time. Always keep in mind how to keep your property safest during a fire, especially by having working smoke alarms!

According to the National Fire Protection Association, survey data shows that the public has many misconceptions about smoke alarms, which can put them at increased risk in the event of a home fire.  In an effort to inform the members of our community, SERVPRO and the National Fire Protection Association are offering several tips and information regarding your smoke detectors:

-Check how many years you've had your smoke alarm for- if it's after 10 years its time for a new one.  If you are not sure how old your smoke alarm is, the date of the manufacture on the back of the alarm will tell you.

-Hardwired smoke alarms operate 94% of the time while battery powered alarms operate 80% of the time. However, if smoke alarms completely fail to operate, it could mean batteries are missing, disconnected or dead.

-As the National Fire Protection Association specifically recommend, an ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, or where extra time is needed to awaken or assist others, both types of alarms, or combination ionization and photoelectric alarms are recommended.

Keep safe this week and every week. SERVPRO will always be there for you.

Watch out for fire starters by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

12/28/2017 (Permalink)

Thousands of deaths are caused by fires, burns and other fire-related injuries every year, and 12% of home candle fires occur in December, the National Fire Protection Association reports. Increased use of candles and fireplaces, combined with an increase in the amount of combustible, seasonal decorations present in many homes means more risk for fire.

  • Never leave burning candles unattended or sleep in a room with a lit candle
  • Keep candles out of reach of children
  • Make sure candles are on stable surfaces
  • Don't burn candles near trees, curtains or any other flammable items
  • Don't burn trees, wreaths or wrapping paper in the fireplace
  • Check and clean the chimney and fireplace area at least once a year

If you find yourself needing the services of SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties, please call at 607-846-3685. 

Are you prepared for Santa by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

12/11/2017 (Permalink)

As we start December and get excited because the holidays are upon us, we must also keep in mind the importance of safety. Here are some tips to remember during the holidays.

Never use lighted candles near trees, boughs, curtains/drapes, or with any potentially flammable item.

Stand your tree away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources. Make sure the tree does not block foot traffic or doorways.

If you use an artificial tree, choose one that is tested and labeled as fire resistant. Artificial trees with built-in electrical systems should have the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) label.

If using a natural tree, make sure it is well watered to avoid dry branches from catching fire from the heat of light bulbs.

Turn off all lights on trees and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house. Unplug extension cords when not in use.

When putting up holiday decorations, always use the proper step stool or ladder to reach high places. Don’t stand on chairs, desks or other furniture.

Prepare your car for the winter by checking items such as the brakes, spark plugs, battery, and tires. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended interval for a tune-up.

Visit for more Fire Damage Emergency Tips. 

Emergency Fire Planning by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

12/11/2017 (Permalink)

Its winter time which also brings holiday dinners with candles and christmas lights!  

Here are some preventative ways to stay safe in case a fire breaks out in your home! Fire moves very fast, estimates say you have less than 2 minutes to get out safely.

  1. Draw a map of your home including all windows and doors
  2. Find two ways out of every room
  3. Clear path from all windows and doors
  4. Choose an outdoor meeting place away from the structure & Call 911
  5. Test your smoke alarm
  6. Practice your drill with the whole family
  7. Fine tune the plan based on the practice run
  8. BE SAFE!!

Remember that people cannot be replaced, nothing is as important as getting out safely. Once you can safely return to the home you can then think about calling for assistance with smoke, fire or water damage. 

Processes in Fire Restoration by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

12/7/2017 (Permalink)

Processes in Fire Restoration by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

Firstly, contact the fire restoration experts. Most of the fire restoration companies have a call centre that can be reached 24/7. After contacting the company, they will release the right professionals who will come to assess the fire damage. They always come with the appropriate equipment in their fire truck such as fire hose, fire sprinkler system and the firefighter.

The next thing you expect is the damage inspection and assessment. The professionals will carefully inspect your premises to determine the extent of the damage, smoke damage and soot damage. This will enable you and the commercial fire damage restoration company to develop a plan of action and also ensure that necessary items and rooms are cleaned up first.

Some of the damages in your premises may include damaged windows, walls, fire sprinkler system, and roofs. You therefore need to protect them against further damages. Ask the commercial fire damage restoration professionals to board up the missing doors, windows and roof tops.

If there happened to be water damages, let the water removal processes begin. The fire restoration professionals will use air movers and dehumidifiers to remove any water so that the premises are completely dry of any water.

After the fire, your utility room fire will have suffered soot damage, smoke damage and loss of property. The next step will be for the commercial fire cleanup professionals to remove soot and smoke from the surfaces. There are some specialized equipment that is used together with professional techniques to remove the soot from the ceilings, walls and other surfaces in your premises.

The rest of the items within the premises can now be cleaned and sanitized. This includes all the restorable structures and items that were damaged by the fire. Different techniques are applied by the commercial fire cleanup and restoration professionals in cleaning different items. The soot and smoke odors is also removed by use of industrial scrubbers and fogging equipment.

The final step in the fire cleanup and restoration process is getting your business to its good condition before the fire incidence. Your walls can be dried, painted and you can install a new carpet or use the old one after cleaning. You may also need major repairs such as reconstruction of the rooms and installation of new fire sprinkler system.

Visit for more information on commercial fire damage.

Smoke...Do you know the difference? By SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

12/1/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties discussing smoke damage.

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.

Will My Fire Pit Affect My Homeowners Insurance? By SERVPRO of Chemung & Shcuyler Counties.

6/21/2016 (Permalink)

Will My Fire Pit Affect My Homeowners Insurance? By SERVPRO of Chemung & Shcuyler Counties.

Whether you're picturing roasting marshmallows with the kids or a relaxing night with friends, it's easy to see the appeal of a backyard fire pit. Fire pits and fireplaces are the most requested outdoor design element. There's more to consider, though, than whether you want to purchase something small or build your own structure. From safety to whether it will affect your homeowners insurance, you may want to consider a few things before you start warming yourself by the fire.

How could my policy be affected?

If you're not sure whether you need to disclose a fire pit on your property, or you want to know if having one may necessitate changes to your homeowners policy, it's best to to talk to your insurance agent. It's a good idea to discuss the fire pit you've purchased, installed or are planning for and then review your homeowners insurance policy's coverage to help you determine if any changes are necessary.

You may want to increase your coverage limits, which is the maximum amount your insurer will pay for covered claims. If you spend the time and money to design and build a backyard fire pit, particularly one that increases the value of your property, you'll want to be sure your homeowners insurance cover limits are high enough to help pay for repairs or replacement if your structure is damaged by a covered peril.

It may also be a good idea to review your current policy's liability coverage. This coverage may help protect you if you are found legally responsible for a guest's injuries after getting too close to the flames or damage to someone else's property should sparks ignite a neighbor's garage.

What Coverages Apply?

Any potential effects to your homeowners insurance may be determined by whether your fire pit is portable or a permanent structure. A small fire pit that can be easily moved will likely be considered personal property under most homeowners policies, and if it's damaged by a covered peril, you'll likely find homeowners insurance will help protect it. If you have a larger stone or cement fire pit or fire place that is permanently installed in your yard, it may be considered an unattached structure and fall under your policy's other structures coverage.

Other Considerations

Of course, you probably don't expect your fire pit to lead to an insurance claim, and you may be able to help prevent that situation by following some basic safety guidelines. SERVPRO suggests placing chairs away from the fire and making sure a fire extinguisher and fire blanket are nearby. At the end of the night, follow the manufacturer's instructions for putting out the fire properly.

Before you buy a portable fire pit or start designing your own backyard fireplace, it's important to make sure you've considered more than just enjoying some time by the fire. A local agent can help you review your insurance coverages so you can make any desired adjustments. Then you can enjoy nights by the fire with a little more peace of mind.