Recent Fire Damage Posts

Electrical Fire

1/20/2022 (Permalink)

Electrical Fire originating in the ceiling This electrical fire originating in the attic caused significant damaged displacing the homeowner.

Every fire is different in its own way. A protein fire (food) is different from a boiler fire (puff back). An electrical fire differs from grease fire. The remediation and cleanup also differ.

SERVPRO of Wayne and South Lackawanna Counties was recently called to two separate electrical fires. Both caused significant damage displacing a homeowner and shutting down a commercial deli. Our certified fire cleanup technicians have the training to address the damage and begin the process of restoring both properties.

Our goal for both is to limit business interruption for the deli and getting the homeowner back home. The process of reviewing all the owners contents to determine what can be saved and what needs to be discarded is one of the initial tasks after all safety issues are addressed. Demolition and cleaning follow closely with the reconstruction the last step.

From board-up to put-back one call can handle it all.

Puff Backs

1/12/2022 (Permalink)

Soot from a puff back This home experienced a puff back. You can clearly see the soot on the hallway carpet.

Furnace malfunctions are unfortunately all too common this time of year. Even with regular maintenance (which is highly recommended) malfunctions occur. One common fiasco is called a puff back. A puff back occurs when an oil burner doesn't ignite right away and as a consequence fumes build up in the furnace. The fumes cause an explosion inside the burner chamber, which vaporizes and expels soot throughout a home or business, covering walls, baseboards, furniture and floors in oily toxic soot.

Cleaning the soot requires professional care. If attempted without the proper tools, the oil can get smeared and embedded into the surface. Too many times SERVPRO of Wayne and South Lackawanna Counties was contracted after the homeowner attempted to self-clean and made a bad situation worse. Do not attempt to clean a puff back. Call a professional restoration company to limit damage and restore the property to pre-damage condition.

Space Heater Danger

1/11/2022 (Permalink)

With the winter upon us here in Northeastern Pennsylvania staying warm is a priority. However, the warmer we stay, the more we pay. Therefore looking to alternate forms of heating is common place. Things like space heaters are used to supplement our main heating systems. We all are looking for ways to save money. Lets face it, whether it be oil, natural gas or electric; all can be expensive this time of the year.

While space heaters certainly can help, they also come with an inherent fire risk. Each year they are responsible for numerous fires causing substantial damage. Recently we all learned about the tragic NYC apartment fire which took 19 lives. The cause of this was a space heater. The link below is to a WBRE story regarding space heater safety. Definitely worth a quick view.

Winter Fire Hazards

1/7/2022 (Permalink)

Gutted basement following a broken pipe The after affects of water damage. The basement of this home had to be gutted in order to ensure proper drying. Be pro-active and wrap your water pipe

Not surprisingly the winter season is a busy time for restoration companies. Cold weather causing frozen and broken water pipes, heating equipment malfunctioning causing smoke, soot and fire damage, over worked electrical systems are common this time of year. 

While SERVPRO of Wayne and South Lackawanna Counties is here to serve our local Wayne and Lackawanna counties community we would like for everyone to be pro-active and take preventive steps to avoid these disasters.

One step which should be taken is to have your heating system serviced by a professional HVAC company. Changing boiler filters and making sure the chimney is clean are other simple steps that can be completed.

Wrapping water pipes, letting the sink drip and ensuring your heat does not go below 55 degrees are simple steps to avoid a water disaster. Water damage is as devastating as a fire so we certainly want to avoid it.

All this being said, disasters will occur and when they do know SERVPRO of Wayne and South Lackawanna Counties is available 24/7/365 to help.

Effects of Soot

8/4/2021 (Permalink)

soot This soot damaged room was caused by long-term candle use. Soot can be a stubborn substance to clean requiring specialized cleaning agents.

We recently received a call from a Honesdale homeowner who had soot damage in a bedroom from long term candle use. They attempted to clean the soot from the walls and ceiling but, because they did not have the specialized cleaning agents and a soot sponge that are required, unfortunately they made it worse. This attempt only embedded the soot into the sheet rock instead of cleaning/removing it.

SERVPRO of Wayne and South Lackawanna Counties using chemical sponges and SERVPRO brand cleaning agents was able to successful remove the soot from the bedroom walls and ceilings. We then sealed the surface to ensure the soot did not bleed through before we painted the room.

With one call this homeowner was able to restore the bedroom back to pre-damage condition. SERVPRO of Wayne and South Lackawanna Counties is a 24-hour emergency service company that specializes in this type of fire damage. 

Kitchen Fires

8/4/2021 (Permalink)

fire Kitchen fire in Scranton

Kitchen fires remain as the leading cause of home fires. This kitchen fire in an apartment complex in Scranton was caused by the tenant leaving the stove unattended while cooking. Thankfully he was prepared and was able to extinguish the flames with an ABC rated fire extinguisher saving further damage.
While the flames caused significant damage in the kitchen area the rest of the apartment suffered smoke and soot damage and a top down clean using chemical sponges is required prior to sealing and painting. Protein/food fires are especially troublesome to clean and calls for a professional restoration company like SERVPRO.
SERVPRO of Wayne and South Lackawanna Counties was called by the property manager to restore the apartment and limited the loss of business interruption that the fire caused. SERVPRO is Lackawanna Counties leader in smoke, fire and water restoration and cleanup. We are available 24/7/365 even on Labor day weekend at (570) 235-1646.

The Devastation of a House Fire

12/18/2020 (Permalink)

fire damage Damage from an electrical fire.

Fires are tragic. However when they occur around the holidays they become even more so. They disrupt the lives of homeowners, tenants and businesses and can causes thousands of dollars in damage.
One reason, that mitigating fire damage is so timely and costly is that usually there is smoke, soot and water damage resulting from the fire.
Smoke and soot will permeate every nook and cranny of the affected area and without professional mitigation, completely removing the odor might be difficult. Restoration companies like SERVPRO have certified fire technicians who understand the properties of smoke, soot and odor and are able to come up with the proper remedy. We have the specialized equipment to manpower to handle a fire disaster that affects a large area. the cleanup process is extensive because every floor, wall, ceiling and items within the affected area need to be "touched".
Having the specialized equipment and trained personnel is just one reason SERVPRO is the leader in smoke, fire and water cleanup and restoration.

Effects of a Fire

12/11/2020 (Permalink)

soot webs Soot webs formed in this home from a kitchen fire.

Many things can result from a fire. One of them being soot webs. SERVPRO was called by the insurance company to this kitchen fire where food was left on the stove which cause a grease fire sending smoke and soot throughout the home.
The soot webs are a sure sign that the smoke traveled into that room. They are caused by the sticky soot rising and clinging to a corner surface. These soot webs were discovered in an upstairs bedroom meaning that room was affected as well.
SERVPRO will use soot sponges to clean the affected areas to ensure that the homeowner will return to a safe and clean environment.
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.
If your home or business has experienced a fire call the leader in smoke, fire and water cleanup and restoration at (570)235-1646.

Holiday Fire Risks

12/4/2020 (Permalink)

Image of Christmas tree ornament Happy Holidays from SERVPRO

The holidays present an increased chance for fires. From candles to cooking to tree fires. A Christmas tree fire can turn devastating and deadly within seconds.

SERVPRO believes being prepared is the key in avoiding disasters and we are pleased to share this information. We want everyone to have a joyous holiday season and avoid unnecessary disasters, so ensure your Christmas tree is properly hydrated. Avoid stringing together extension cords, and do not leave candles burning or food cooking unattended.

However, if your home or business does experience a smoke, fire or water emergency, know we are available 24/7, even on the holidays. SERVPRO is the area's premier emergency services company.

Please be cautious this holiday season and water your tree. Have a safe, happy and healthy holiday season.

In The Event of a Fire

11/6/2020 (Permalink)

soot sponge A soot sponge is used to remove soot from surfaces.

Every fire damage event is a little different, and requires a unique solution, but the general process stays the same. The steps listed below illustrate our process for the “typical” fire damage emergency. Step 1: Emergency Contact. The restoration process begins when you call us. Our representative will ask questions regarding the fire damage event that will help us respond immediately with the appropriate equipment and resources. Step 2: Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment. We carefully inspect and test adjoining rooms of your property to determine the extent of the fire, smoke, and soot damage. This step is crucial to developing a plan of action. Step 3: Immediate Board-Up and Roof-Tarp Service. Fire damage can often compromise windows, walls, and roofs. To maintain security and to protect against further damage, we can board up missing windows and walls and place tarps on damaged roofs. Step 4: Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present). The water removal process begins almost immediately and removes the majority of the water. We then use dehumidifiers and air movers to remove the remaining water and complete the drying process. Step 5: Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces. We use specialized equipment and techniques to remove smoke and soot from ceilings, walls, and other surfaces. Step 6: Cleaning and Sanitizing. We clean, sanitize, and disinfect all of the re-storable items and structures that were damaged by the fire. We use a variety of cleaning techniques to restore your belongings to pre-fire condition. We’re also trained to remove odors using industrial air scrubbers and fogging equipment. Step 7: Restoration. Restoration is the final step—getting your home or business to its pre-fire condition. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet; or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business.

Removing Odors After a Fire

10/1/2020 (Permalink)

hydroxyl Pictured is a hydroxyl generator which literally zaps the odor molecules and is used as an aide in eliminating smoke odors following a fire.

Restoring fires takes specialized skill. It's not as easy as simply cleaning and repairing. Soot and smoke permeate every inch of the affected area including all soft goods and porous materials. Once the odor gets trapped it will remain and remnants of smoke will continue to be noticeable.

The goal of any restoration company is to restore the property back to preloss condition. That means eliminating all the effects of the fire damage including odors. Walls, ceiling, floors, all furniture, contents (including electronics) and clothing must be addressed or risk having a lingering odor.

Depending on the type of fire, cleaning it improperly will only embed the soot into porous areas causing further damage. All these are reasons to hire a professional restoration company like SERVPRO. We have certified fire restoration technicians and the specialized equipment to restore your property back to preloss condition.

Don't attempt to restore your property. Hire a professional to ensure the job gets done properly.

Fire/Smoke Clean Up

7/30/2020 (Permalink)

fire on stove A basket of muffins was left on a stovetop which caused smoke damage throughout the house.

Accidents happen! That's why we all purchase insurance. When a basket of homemade muffins was left on a stove top oven, the result was this kitchen fire. The homeowners were working and luckily, the neighbors heard the smoke detectors and were able to extinguish the fire before it spread and caused further damage. 

The homeowners' insurance company called SERVPRO to help return the property back to pre-fire condition. In this instance, the fire was relatively small but because it was not caught immediately the entire home suffered smoke damage. Restoration companies are called due to their skill in removing soot and odor from every nook and cranny of the home.

Cleaning a smoke damaged home requires specialized training, materials and equipment to properly restore the home and therefore insurance companies entrust restoration companies like SERVPRO. If your home experiences a smoky kitchen fire like this one, call a professional restoration like SERVPRO and let us help you make it "Like it never even happened."

How To Put Out a Grease Fire

3/18/2020 (Permalink)

Grease fire A grease fire which was extinguished by a chemical fire extinguisher. We did the cleanup and restoration.

The best way to avoid a grease fire is to not have one. While you are cooking, keep an eye on the oil as it’s heating. The oil won’t immediately catch fire once it starts smoking, but smoke is a danger sign that it’s well on its way to getting there.

If the worst happens and your oil does catch on fire, use the following tips:

1. If the fire is still small enough and contained in one pot, it is safe to put it out yourself. If it is already spreading to other parts of the kitchen, evacuate.

2. Turn off the source of the heat on the stove. Do not try to move the pot because you don’t want to accidentally spill or splash the burning oil.

3. Do NOT pour water on the fire! Since oil and water do not mix, pouring water can cause the oil to splash and spread the fire even worse. In fact, the vaporizing water can also carry grease particles in it, which can also spread the fire.

4. Remove all oxygen from the flame. You can cover with another pot or pan. Do not cover it with a glass lid because the glass lid may shatter.

5. If you can’t cover it, dump lots of baking soda on it.

6. Use a chemical fire extinguisher on the grease fire. There are different kinds of extinguishers. Not all can be used on a grease fire, but the ABC dry chemical extinguisher is best.

Hopefully you’ll never be in a situation where you have to actually use this advice, but if you are remember to smother the fire with a pot or baking soda and never use water!'s-best-way-safely-put-grease-fire/

Professional Restoration Following A Fire

12/11/2019 (Permalink)

A soot sponge used to clean fire damage covered in soot. Fire damage requires specialized training and equipment like this soot sponge to mitigate smoke damage.

Has your home or business ever been damaged by fire or water damage? If so, then you can attest to the overwhelming nature of the situation. In many cases, an owner may have suffered a damage for the first time; what follows is typically a survey of the damage. For most owners, naturally their next thought is, “How fast can I return this building to livable conditions?”

Great question! But it is important to understand the risks involved following any type of loss and the steps necessary to remedy the situation.

In the event that a loss occurs, your first responsible step is to contact your insurance agent and file a claim. While your agent may guide you through the process, you will also have decisions to make. For example, do you hire an area restoration company or try to clean up the damage yourself? Although every loss is different, there are a few restoration thresholds to keep in mind.

In the event of a fire, it is critical that the restoration response begins immediately. Whether it is a small kitchen grease fire or a large multi-story event, this is not a job for an untrained person. Fire and smoke damage require a professional restoration effort. Smoke and odor removal should be performed by a certified technician, and these efforts can be complex. (To mitigate the spread of odors, the HVAC system should be shut off immediately.)

SERVPRO of Wayne and South Lackawanna County employs certified fire technicians who are trained to mitigate and restore both residential and commercial properties. If you experience a water, fire or smoke disaster call us at 570-969-9470.

5 Christmas Tree Safety Tips:

12/2/2019 (Permalink)

A Christmas tree in a fire damaged living room in Scranton, PA This Scranton, PA fire occurred last year at Christmas time. The tree in the middle of the room is a reminder to always take precaution.

Christmas Tree Safety Tips:

1.Choose fresh over cheap and dry. The fresher the tree, the less likely it will pose a fire hazard. Look for flexible needles that don't break, and a trunk with sap.

2. Keep the water coming. The tree stand should contain a continuous source of water and be sturdy enough to resist toppling by kids or pets.

3. Don't choke the cord. Attach only three maximum strings of lights to any one extension cord, then place cords along walls to prevent a tripping hazard. Never run them under rugs or carpets.

4. Trees don't need warmth. Keep the tree away from heat sources such as fireplaces, candles and even a TV.

5. Not any lights will do. Use low energy, safe lighting that's been certified by a safety testing lab. Don't use damaged or frayed cords.

(Source Huffington Post)

Holiday Fires- Here to Help

11/26/2019 (Permalink)

A picture of the SERVPRO logo/banner with some of our equipment in our Lackawanna County facility. The SERVPRO name is a brand that signifies quality. Our employees are trained.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Thanksgiving is the peak day for home fires followed closely by Christmas and Christmas eve. Unattended cooking is by far the leading cause. Knowing these facts is one reason that SERVPRO of Wayne and South Lackawanna Counties is available 24/7 even on Thanksgiving.

As a 24/7 emergency response company, we are staffed to respond at any hour on any day. Whether it be a emergency board up to protect and secure the property or immediate mitigation to reduce any secondary damage saving time and money for the homeowner; we are "always here to help".

Our restoration technicians are dedicated to helping others and have and will continue to sacrifice their own wants to help others in need. Happy Thanksgiving from the SERVPRO of Wayne and South Lackawanna Counties.  

Thanksgiving Fire Safety

11/25/2019 (Permalink)

A fire damaged kitchen stove and range Kitchen fires are the leading cause of all home fires and Thanksgiving is the leading day.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving is the peak day for all home fires and unattended cooking is the leading cause. Cooking equipment was involved in almost half of all reported home fires and home fire injuries, and it is the second leading cause of home fire deaths.  

Top 10 safety tips
  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stove top so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey, and check on it frequently.
  • Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay three feet away.
  • Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
  • Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

NFPA: Top 10 Thanksgiving Fire Safety Tips

Smoke Damage Cleaning

11/22/2019 (Permalink)

A sponge covered in soot. This soot sponge is a cleaning tool for the removal of soot. This soot sponge is a cleaning tool that wipes the soot clean and does not smear "wet" soot and embed the molecules into the structure.

Restoring fire and smoke damage can be tricky. We receive many calls from homeowners who have experienced some smoke and soot damage and have attempted to clean it themselves only to find that they either made the problem worse or were unable to do it successfully. Many times an odor will persist even after a cleaning if the proper techniques were not employed.

Interesting enough not ever fire is the same. A protein fire (burnt food) is different than say a structure (wood) fire. An oil based puff back from a furnace malfunction is different from a cooking grease fire. Since they burn differently, they need to be cleaned differently.

SERVPRO of Wayne and South Lackawanna Counties employs certified fire restoration technicians trained to identify the type and know the proper mitigating techniques. Having the specialized training and equipment allows us to better ensure that your smoke and soot damage is re-mediated and that no odor remains. The SERVPRO team is trained to help make it "Like it never even happened."

Soot Damage

10/30/2019 (Permalink)

A blue painted room with soot damaged walls and ceiling from long-term candle use This soot damaged room was caused by long-term candle use. Soot can be a stubborn substance to clean requiring specialized cleaning agents.

We recently received a call from a Honesdale homeowner who had soot damage in a bedroom from long term candle use. She attempted to clean the soot from the walls and ceiling herself but, because she did have the specialized cleaning agents required, unfortunately made it worse. With her attempt she only embedded the soot into the sheet rock instead of cleaning/removing it.

SERVPRO of Wayne and South Lackawanna Counties using chemical sponges and SERVPRO brand cleaning agents was able to successful remove the soot from the bedroom walls and ceilings. We then sealed the surface to ensure the soot did not bleed through before we painted the room.

With one call this homeowner was able to restore the bedroom back to pre-damage condition. SERVPRO of Wayne and South Lackawanna Counties was able to help make it "like it never even happened".