Recent Fire Damage Posts

Three of the most common causes of commercial fires

3/28/2022 (Permalink)

Did you know that, on average, U.S. fire departments respond to over 3,300 office fires per year?

Some of the most common causes of commercial building fires include cooking and heating equipment, electrical and lighting equipment, and smoking materials (yes, lit cigarettes disposed of incorrectly), all of which can be avoided. 

Property owners must be aware of the fire risk posed in commercial buildings and relay the message to employees occupying these buildings on being mindful of fire risks in the workplace. 

We recommend distributing a memo to employers occupying your commercial property with fire safety literature and best practices to avoid fire damage in the future. 

If your business experiences a fire loss, call the fire and water damage restoration experts 24/7 at SERVPRO of Chino/Chino Hills, and we’ll respond immediately to get your building back to its normal operations. 

Top Tips to Prevent Fires

2/8/2022 (Permalink)

No matter the season, house fires should always be a concern to property owners and renters alike. It’s essential to prepare for house fires by purchasing a fire extinguisher, but it’s even more imperative to prevent them from destroying your home. 

Simple things like blowing out candles and keeping space heaters away from other items in your home are good habits to develop to prevent house fires, but it’s not enough. 

Here are our top four tips to help you prevent a future house. 

Test smoke detector

Smoke alarms can seriously be the difference between life and death. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends replacing smoke detectors every ten years. They also suggest testing the detector once a month while replacing the batteries once every two years. 

Store flammable items in a safe place

Many people are unaware of how many household items are flammable. Items like paint thinner, gas, nail polish, hairspray, aerosol cans, rubbing alcohol, and cooking oil are all flammable. It’s important to safely store these items away from sparks and flames to avoid a house fire. 

Inspect appliances and wiring

We recommend regularly inspecting home appliances and wiring to maintain functionality and prevent fires. Easy things like making sure the lint is removed from the dryer, ensuring your air conditioner and heating units are cleaned each season, inspecting the chimney, keeping the kitchen free of grease, and walking around your entire property ensuring no wires are exposed can save you from the headache of a house fire.  

Educate your household on fire safety

For many people, learning about a house fire and how to prevent them isn’t important to them, until it happens to them. Don’t be these people. 

Educate your entire household on the simple fire safety tips mentioned above. It’s also worthwhile to teach each member of your home how to utilize a fire extinguisher in case of an emergency; knowing how to operate an extinguisher can save your home from needing to be completely restored. Also, if you don’t know how to operate a fire extinguisher, your local fire department would be happy to assist you. 

Fire Safety while Traveling

2/8/2022 (Permalink)

We are all thinking of getting back to our summer traveling, taking our families on that DREAM vacation. While we plan and prepare there is one area that most of us don’t think about – Fire Safety in our hotel rooms.

According to an article on Sandy Springs Volunteer Fire Department website, 3,900 hotel or motel fires occur each year. So, while we prepare for that summer trip we should take into account these tips to make sure we keep our families safe in our hotel/motel rooms:

  • Choose a hotel/motel that has both fire sprinklers and smoke alarms.
  • When checking in ask the front desk what the fire alarms sound like.
  • When entering your room, review the fire evacuation plan located near the door.
  • Take the time to find the two nearest exits and count the doors between your room and the exit. Make sure the exits are unlocked and if not, report this to management right away.
  • Keep the room key by the bed and take it with you in the event of a fire.
  • If an alarm sounds, leave right away, closing all doors behind you. Always take the stairs, never take the elevator.
  • If you must escape through smoke, get low and crawl under the smoke to the nearest exit.

These few tips can help you rest assured that your family is safe during your summer vacation.

Tips provided by U.S. Fire Administration and National Fire Protection Association.

Why Trust SERVPRO of Chino/Chino Hills?

12/1/2021 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO of Chino / Chino Hills, we pride ourselves in excellent customer service and outstanding communication with every client that we have the privilege to assist.

We are here to serve you, help you through the restoration process, listen to every concern,  and address those concerns in a timely manner to get you back into your property as soon as possible.

Our entire team prides itself on being communicative during every step of the process, so you know the details of the service being performed at your property. Unlike others, we take the time to explain the process and ensure that you, the owner, understand what each step of the process will look like.

The SERVPRO team is diligent and pays such close attention to detail; it’s truly what sets our team apart from the rest. This is not just work, this is our passion; being able to restore homes and businesses in our community and beyond.

What to do if a Fire starts

8/29/2021 (Permalink)

If a fire starts in your property, it’s important to ACT fast…and it’s imperative that you and your family understand what to do if this happens to your home.

First, make sure everyone in the home is aware that there is a fire, yell, “Fire!” and demand that every person evacuates the home. Designate a member of your family to call 911.

When evacuating your home, if heavy smoke is present, get low (underneath the smoke) and exit. Avoid touching doors where knobs are hot to the touch; evacuate through another route if you can.

Fires move quickly, so it’s important for all adult household members to know how to use a fire extinguisher. If the fire is sizable, unleash the fire extinguisher, but if the fire has traveled to multiple parts of the home, quickly evacuate.

Many homeowners don’t know this, but your local fire department can show you how to properly use a fire extinguisher, fill it up and inspect it for any possible malfunctions.

To learn how to operate a fire extinguisher, visit https://rdcrss.org/3gC04nX.

Inspect your property after Fire

8/29/2021 (Permalink)

After a fire ravishes through your home or building, it's essential to inspect your property, but it's even more important to remain safe in the process.

When visiting your property after it's damaged by fire, do not walk past ANY colored tape on doors, windows, walls, etc., unless directed to do so by authorities; this is for your safety.

If you have any children, we recommend you leave them with a relative or friend while completing the personal home inspection to mitigate any more distress this experience may cause them.

What to look for in the inspection

In this process, professionals will inspect your property, but they will have you (the owner) visit the site to assess the damages soon after.

When inspecting your property after a fire, you should:

  • Check for structural damage
  • Access utilities and major systems
  • Inspect electrical, plumbing, and heating systems
  • Eliminate household items and cleaning products

"Contact your insurance agent. Do not discard damaged goods until an inventory has been taken. Save receipts for money spent relating to fire loss. Your insurance agent may provide immediate help with living expenses until you are able to return home and may offer assistance for repairs."

American Red Cross

SERVPRO of Chino/Chino Hills can help you with the property inspection process, it's essential to remain vigilant and pay close attention to detail and as trained professionals we can make sure this happens.  

Better to have and need not

5/4/2021 (Permalink)

By now, if you’ve been reading our blogs on a somewhat regular basis, you know that SERVPRO of Chino/Chino Hills focuses on many different things almost constantly. We exercise caution in dangerous situations, we work until the job gets done (even with 4 jobs happening simultaneously), and we are sympathetic and professional on someone’s worst day. Losing your home or business to a fire is a very serious and often heartbreaking affair, which is exactly why we only hope to meet you under positive circumstances. In light of that sentiment, we have compiled some fire safety tips to help you avoid a potentially terrible situation from taking place.

First and foremost, one must never forget the basics. Things like turning burners off when unattended, never walking away from lit candles, and never allowing children or pets near a grill. These simple things have a tendency to slip our minds at times and, unfortunately and on rare occasion, these simple oversights can lead to tragedy. It only takes one mistake.

Second, make sure you keep fire safety equipment near areas that are potentially prone to fires. This includes places like kitchens, near grills, fireplaces, etc. Typically, a fire extinguisher of the correct type is sufficient. Fast action with an extinguisher may be the difference between a charred cabinet and countertop and a whole-home loss.

Lastly, if the worst-case scenario does indeed happen, be sure to call SERVPRO of Chino/Chino Hills as soon as possible. While losing property to a fire can be traumatizing, you can at least have the comfort of knowing that your home is in good hands with our professional and courteous technicians.

Game Day or Flame Day

3/2/2021 (Permalink)

It’s Friday night. You have waited the entire week, constantly daydreaming at work about this very moment. Tonight, you and your buddies are going to kick back, make some buffalo wings, and watch the game. You even have a nifty new appliance you’ve been dying to use: a portable deep fryer.

Now you’re no Emeril Lagasse, but you have eyeballs and you can follow directions easily enough. You pull the frozen chicken drumettes out of the bag, reading a recipe you got online. It says to only cook a certain amount of wings at a time. You weigh out the (approximate) correct amount, submerge them in the heated oil, and wait.

While standing around, one of your buddies suggest that you also make mozzarella sticks to accompany the buffalo wings. You have two bottles of ranch dressing that aren’t going to eat themselves.

You weigh out (again, approximately) the same amount of frozen cheese sticks, remove the wings, and drop the cheese sticks into the now much hotter oil. The ice crystals on the mozzarella sticks react with the 400 degree oil, causing oil to bubble and pop violently. Some of the oil gets on a kitchen rag, immediately setting it ablaze. You try to get the dish rag into the sink under water, panicking. The oil continues to pop and spit, setting other nearby soft goods on fire. Before long, the fire is out of control. You try to extinguish it, but the fire has spread too far too fast. You run out of the house to safety and call the fire department.

So much for game night.

While this situation could have been avoided, mistakes happen. When they do, rest assured that SERVPRO of Chino/Chino Hills have you covered. We repair kitchen fires all the time and while they are never fun to deal with, they can be resolved and you and your buddies can always try for game night again. Just be sure to heed those directions next time!

A Case of Arson

2/16/2021 (Permalink)

Cases of arson spiked in 2020. Between the violent riots that occurred in the summer and the unsteady socioeconomic environment across much of the United States, many homeowners and businesses lost their property to fire.

House fires are always traumatic for a homeowner. Regardless of the reason the fire started, the outcome is usually the same: loss of property, loss of personal belongings, and potential injury or death. Fire moves rapidly once it starts, especially when aided by a propellant such as gasoline or alcohol. This is common in cases of arson.

So as a home or business owner, what should you do in the event of a suspected arson fire? The most important thing to consider is the safety of you and your family but what should you do after everyone is accounted for?

In the event of any type of fire, time is of the essence. If possible, grab absolutely essential things or any keepsakes that can be safely retrieved. After everyone is out, immediately call the fire department. The best case scenario is they are able to mitigate the amount of damage your property takes.

Regardless of the amount, your home will sustain damage. This is where SERVPRO of Chino/Chino Hills comes in. Contact your insurance company and let them know that you want to have SERVPRO perform the necessary work on your home or business. With over 50 years in the industry, we are the best choice for restoring your home to preloss conditions.

Santa Ana Fires

12/4/2020 (Permalink)

The one thing California can always be sure of is what is commonly known as Santa Ana winds. This weather event typically kicks up around mid-Autumn and stays through the beginning of winter but this year, they seem to be a bit spotty in their frequency. SCE and other utility providers have issued multiple “Red Flag Warnings” in light of the wildfires that have broken out due to old lines and poor maintenance practices. These warnings indicate an imminent power shut-off in selected areas to mitigate the risk of wildfires breaking out.

As if we needed something else to worry about in 2020.

Is there a silver lining? You bet. SERVPRO of Chino/Chino Hills is at the ready and here to help. With over 50 years of experience in both wind damage and fire damage restoration, homeowners and business owners alike can rest assured that whether debris from wind damages your home or a wildfire event damages your business or personal property, SERVPRO of Chino/Chino Hills is your go-to resource to get your life back on track and to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Cozy Fire

11/2/2020 (Permalink)

Although it may be hard to believe, southern California seems like it may actually experience a real winter this year. October has experienced fluctuating hot and cold spells, with the cold spells becoming longer and more frequent. That can only mean one thing for the high desert: fireplaces will be getting some use this winter.

While homes built in California in recent years do not have fireplaces, a large number of the homes in the Chino Valley were built prior to the environmental laws that banned fireplaces and were therefore grandfathered in. While it is nothing short of awesome to curl up with a book next to a raging (controlled) fire, SERVPRO of Chino/Chino Hills has some quick tips we’d like to share with you to make sure you stay safe while doing so.

Per https://www.hgtv.com/lifestyle/clean-and-organize/fireplace-maintenance-and-safety, here are some hot tips to make sure you enjoy your fireplace:

  • Fireplaces should not be used as furnaces. Use a fireplace for a short-duration fire — no longer than five hours.
  • Keep the glass open to allow air to be drawn up to cool the chimney, but keep the screen closed to prevent sparks from jumping onto the carpeting.
  • Never leave a fire unattended when children are in the house. Adults, even if near, should not allow children to play near or with fire tools and equipment.
  • Open a window when using the fireplace to prevent the room from becoming smoky. The air coming in from the window will go up the chimney.
  • Before making a fire, open the glass doors, pull aside the screen curtains, and place the kindling, newspaper and logs inside. Next, open the damper and a window. The window needs to be open only a few inches. You can check to make sure the smoke will go up the chimney properly by lighting a match, quickly blowing it out and watching the smoke to see whether it's going up and out.

If you experience a fire in your home or business, call SERVPRO of Chino/Chino Hills immediately. We are here to help.

Hot Dang!

8/18/2020 (Permalink)

Fun fact of the day: Food is one of the most dangerous things to cook. Well, to be fair, the food isn’t the dangerous part. The process of cooking is. In fact, kitchen accidents are one of the leading causes of house fires. According to www.firstalert.com, these are the top three causes:

  1. Cooking

Oil fires and stove burners are like peanut butter and jelly. Many of these fires are avoidable but due to the fact that people attempt to snuff them using water as opposed to the correct type of fire extinguisher (Class B or K, or an all-purpose Class A, B, C type), they still end up growing until they are unable to be put out easily. A fire extinguisher (or multiple fire extinguishers) can literally be a life-saver, so make sure you have one handy.

  1. Heating

You’d be wan to find a Californian that doesn’t look for any excuse to burn a log in their fireplace or fire pit. Unfortunately, very few people take care of and maintain them. Creosote (the dark brown or black substance that forms as a byproduct of burning organic matter in an enclosed area) is extremely flammable and very hazardous, and it is a leading cause of preventable house fires. Make sure the area is free of creosote and debris that may accidentally catch fire.

  1. Smoking in bed

Aside from being a bad habit and killing many people annually, cigarettes may also pack a punch to your home. An average of 18,100 (www.nfpa.org) house fires begin annually due to people falling asleep while smoking.

If a house fire occurs for these or any other reason, SERVPRO of Chino/Chino Hills is here to help make it “Like it never even happened.” With over 50 years in the industry, you can trust us to make it right, day or night. Give us a call today at (909)548-3191.

A Fire is More Than Just a Fire

8/18/2020 (Permalink)

Wildfires are terrifying. They are also a fact of life for Californians. While SERVPRO of Chino/Chino Hills handles small, isolated fire loss events on a fairly frequent basis, they pale in comparison to the occasional large-scale losses. Entire homes reduced to soggy carpets and scorched walls play host to countless memories and personal belongings that have been destroyed by water or warped beyond recognition by flames, leaving heartache and a giant mess for the occupants.

In these types of events, adrenaline and emotions run high and have a tendency to overshadow the full reality of the situation. Things like lodging are covered by most homeowners insurances, but what about toothpaste? Entertainment? The things that make life livable are the small things that tend to get overlooked in major catastrophes.

SERVPRO of Chino/Chino Hills has enough experience to know that house fires are incredibly stressful and, typically, life-changing events. For this reason, we will walk with your family through the entire process as if you were our family. While a fire is always a major tragedy, SERVPRO of Chino/Chino Hills is trying to soften the blow a bit while we return your home to preloss conditions.

If you have experienced a house or commercial fire, give us a call today at (909)548-3191.

Chimney

2/20/2020 (Permalink)

Fire Damaged House Fire damaged house from a chimney fire.

According to the NFPA, $25.6 billion worth of property damage occurred as a result of fires in 2018, $8 billion of which came from house fires. A common cause of these issues is chimneys and fireplaces. Fires that burn for too long and too hot in a fireplace are an obvious risk factor for fires, and creosote buildup only serves to exacerbate problems.

If your home suffers fire damage due to a fireplace or chimney-related disaster, IICRC-certified SERVPRO of Chino / Chino Hills technicians are ready to mitigate damage and odors to return your home to preloss conditions. No matter the size of the fire, SERVPRO professionals can mitigate both short and long-term damages while minimizing the need for costly replacement of possessions, furniture, and other materials.

Warning signs for chimney fires

There are some telltale symptoms that a chimney or fireplace may pose an elevated risk for a house fire. Damaged rain caps (also known as dampers) are a good indicator of compromised safety. The high heat from fires burning can cause warping and discoloration.

Creosote, a dark, oily substance that comes from burning wood resin, leaves deposits that expand and create a residue while it burns. Since chimneys are often very hot (even in the absence of a fire), creosote can easily ignite and lead to a house fire.

Clay flue tile liners are typical. Even though this type of tile is rated to withstand extremely high temperatures, they do have their limits. Chimney fires are capable of burning as high as 2000 degrees, which is far too hot for these tiles.  Prolonged exposure may crack or damage them.

How SERVPRO Can Help

SERVPRO of Chino / Chino Hills has many different countermeasures to deal with soot and creosote buildup. To tackle more substantial situations, our technicians may use Roto pads or brushes to dislodge soils. Creosote can be removed with blast media like baking soda, ground corn cobs, or sand. Smaller issues can be addressed with cleaning tools like dry cleaning sponges, dusting cloths, and other dry or wet cleaning techniques.

Whatever the condition of your chimney, the technicians at SERVPRO of Chino / Chino Hills are here to help 24/7, 365 days a year.

Wet Smoke

2/20/2020 (Permalink)

Burned synthetic material Burned synthetic material and residue

Think of all of the synthetic materials that are commonly found in households, including your own. Polyester, nylon, rayon – the list goes on and on. While these materials pose no threat in normal conditions, by introducing excessive heat (such as in a fire), chemicals are released during the combustion process in the form of thick, acrid smoke. Synthetic smoke residue is typically oily and difficult to remove, which is why we refer to them as “wet smoke deposits”. In high-temperature / high-pressure situations like a structure fire, wet smoke can molecularly bond with the surfaces that they come into contact with. Attempting to remove them with typical household cleaners can prove to be an impossible feat.

While you may be tempted to try and resolve wet smoke damage in your Chino home without the assistance of a professional restoration company (cough, SERVPRO, cough), when plastic or synthetic materials are among the debris, it may be a wise decision to enlist the help of a trained expert. Unlike water-based staining and soiling, wet smoke can spread around quickly, wreaking further havoc in your home. The proprietary chemicals and solvents that SERVPRO of Chino / Chino Hills uses are specially formulated to break down and clean up wet smoke damage.

Typically, the majority of surfaces in a home have finishes on them. These finishes vary in composition. Floors may be varnished, while appliances may be sealed. At high temperatures, these finishes can melt and release chemicals into the home while also bonding with wet smoke in a fire. It can prove rather difficult (if not downright impossible) to fully remove wet smoke damage by using regular household cleaners.

To fight staining that has bonded at a molecular level, SERVPRO of Chino / Chino Hills uses a process known as “dissolution”. Dissolution is a technique that involves applying a particular chemical to a surface that dissolves both the finish and the soot attached to it. Once that happens, both the solvent and the soot can be removed at the same time. This process is extremely effective at restoring your home to preloss conditions because it allows for an even surface to refinish after the process is complete.

Even though wet smoke damage may seem like an easy undertaking, it can prove to be quite a challenging feat to tackle. Let the pros at SERVPRO of Chino / Chino Hills take care of it. We are here to help 24/7, 365 days a year.

Fire Event

1/29/2020 (Permalink)

House fire Roof impact of house fire

Some aspects of life in Southern California are unavoidable.

Taxes on just about everything you can imagine, rush hour never really ending, and worst of all, the unpredictable fluctuation of the cost of living. With Los Angeles county alone being home to one-tenth of the country’s population (35,000,000 compared to 350,000,000), these annoyances don’t seem to annoy people enough to leave, and why would they? Between the sprawling beaches and the gorgeous mountain views, there is a lot to be desired.

Unfortunately, with all the mountains and wild growth, California is also predisposed to wildfires. A sobering fact of life for residents up and down the Golden Coast, wildfires are one of the most dangerous and damaging aspects of life for Californians. In 2018 alone, California experienced one of the deadliest and most destructive fire seasons on record. The resulting damage was more than $3,500,000,000 ($3.5 B), 1,893,913 acres burned, and 103 fatalities. Some of the more well-known and notable fires include:

  • The Camp Fire, which was the most destructive wildfire in California history and destroyed over 18,800 structures.
  • The Woolsey Fire, which burned 96,949 acres of land and resulted in 40 deaths.
  • The Holy Fire, which affected both Orange and Riverside counties, respectively, and burned for over a month straight.

Some of these fires were caused by arson; others were ignited by natural causes such as lightning. All of them were incredibly destructive and for many homeowners, resulted in a total loss of property and possessions. Thousands more structures were affected and while they were not completely demolished, they were left with serious external and structural issues. Smoke damage in a home is not confined to only discoloration and a lasting odor; it can make you physically ill. Everything from runny noses and watery eyes to upper respiratory issues and compromised immune systems have resulted from soot and smoke particulates.

Water damage is another unavoidable aspect of a structure fire. After the flames have been extinguished, much of a home or business may be left with severe water damage or flooding. This may affect everything from carpeting to ceilings, and much of the time, walls and the internal components such as studs and insulation.

While wildfires are a major contributing factor to burn damage in California, many fires also begin within the home. Burning candles left unattended, faulty wiring, and cooking equipment are all common culprits of house fires. While smaller in scale, these fires can still have disastrous effects. Much of the time, homeowners may be at work or asleep when the fire starts, allowing it to grow in size and intensity very quickly.

Fires are an unavoidable fact of life in Southern California. While we hope you never have to experience one firsthand, SERVPRO of Chino / Chino Hills is ready to help if you do. Our team of trained technicians is on standby 24/7, 365, and we are here to help get things back to normal.

Fire Season

10/21/2019 (Permalink)

California has seen devastating fire storms in the past couple of years and now that fire Season is upon us SERVPRO of Chino/Chino Hills would like to offer you all a few tips to help protect your homes in the event a wildfire sparks in your neighborhood.

  1. Keep your trees and shrubs pruned.
  2. Be sure your irrigation system is functioning properly.
  3. Clear dead and dying vegetation from your property.
  4. Clean your gutters.
  5. Do not keep firewood stacked too close to your home.
  6. Properly store flammable liquid.
  7. If requested by law enforcement to evacuate, leave your home. It is better to keep your family safe, than to get caught off guard.
  8. Keep your wallet or purse, keys, phone and power cords easily accessible to take on your way out the door.
  9. Make sure your family has an escape route that includes a meeting place in the event the family gets separated.

Here’s wishing everyone a safe Fire Season!