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What to do after a fire.

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE TO ACHIEVING A COMPLETE RESTORATION.
SMOKE DAMAGE WILL PERMIATE NON FIRE DAMAGED AREAS IN HOURS.

In the wake of a fire that has covered homes with smoke and ash, it’s important to begin cleanup as soon as possible to prevent permanent damage or discoloration from soot residue. The IICRC provides the following tips for fire victims facing cleanup:
1. Practice safety first. Use a dust mask (like painters use) and gloves as you work.
2. Ventilate the home. Place a box fan in an open window to draw the air and dust out.
3. Clean from top to bottom. Start with the ceilings, walls, and fixtures, and work your way down to the contents of the room, then to the floor.
4. Vacuum floors and upholstery. Make sure your vacuum cleaner has a high-efficiency (HEPA) filter. Otherwise, you risk blowing soot back into the air.
5. Some draperies, clothing, and machine-washable items may be laundered. Use a mild alkaline cleaner to neutralize the acid in the soot. Fine clothing should be dry cleaned.
6. Most exterior walls (brick, stone, wood, paint, siding) and eaves can be cleaned by spraying with a detergent, agitating soot with a soft-bristled brush, pressure washing from bottom to top, then rinsing from top to bottom.
7. If the damage and residue are heavy, it may be best to hire our professional team to thoroughly restore your home and belongings.
8. Check with your insurance company to see if smoke damage from outdoor sources is covered by your policy.
9. If the fire has warped or distorted the structure, Acker Contracting is a licensed general contractor, and HP Roofing can repair any issues with the roof.

Our professional restoration technicians know that damage increases and restoration costs escalate the longer neutralization, corrosion control, and cleaning are delayed. When homeowners prolong the restoration of their homes, they extend the  effects brought on by the smoke exposure. The following is a timeline of the effects of fire and smoke on a home.

Within Minutes:
– Acid soot residues cause plastics to yellow; small appliances located close to the source of combustion discolor; highly porous materials (marble, alabaster) discolor permanently.

Within Hours:
– Acid residues stain grout in bathrooms; fiberglass bath fixtures may yellow; uncoated metals tarnish, countertops may yellow; finishes on appliances, particularly refrigerators, may yellow; furniture finishes may discolor.

Within Days:
– In time, acid residues cause painted walls to yellow permanently; metal corrodes, pits, and rusts; wood furniture requires refinishing; vinyl flooring requires refinishing or replacement; clothing becomes soot stained; upholstery stains permanently.

Within Weeks:
– Restoration costs escalate tremendously. Synthetic carpet fibers may yellow or discolor permanently; silver plate is corroded permanently; glass, crystal, china may require replacement due to severe etching and pitting caused by prolonged exposure to acid soot residues.

Cleaning up soot residue must be done as quickly as possible. During combustion, soot residue and volatile vapors are carried by rising and expanding air to surfaces throughout a structure and are deposited. This process occurs repeatedly until combustion ends, with soot residue building up on surfaces layer by layer. By the time restoration technicians arrive, lacquer-like soot residue may be quite difficult to dissolve and remove.

In addition to removing residue, ridding your home of its smoky odor is necessary. Professionals use this four-step process to remove odors:

1. Remove the source of the odor, as possible, including unsalvageable debris that contributes to odor generation and recontamination of cleaned and deodorized areas.
2. Clean salvageable surfaces and items to physically remove odor-causing residue.
3. Chase remaining odor with an odor counteractant. In the case of smoke, create a deodorizing fog or gas that seeks out and combines with odor-causing substances.
4. Seal salvageable surfaces that are inaccessible or slightly scorched, not only for aesthetic purposes but primarily to encapsulate odor and prevent progressive recontamination.

Understanding the effects of a fire can help homeowners evaluate the damage to their homes. By learning more about residue cleanup and deodorization after a fire, you can minimize the need for costly repair. Our fire and smoke restoration experts can help you return your home and furnishings to a “pre-loss” condition.

Damage by the fire.

1. Structural Property Damage:
– Before entering heavily burned areas, be sure there are no loose materials in the ceiling area. It is best to have us inspect the area to remove any obstacles and potential debris that could fall and cause injury to you.
2. Personal Property Damage:
– Remove all property that was not damaged in the fire to other spaces in the home that were not damaged. These areas need to be sealed off from the fire-damaged portion.
3. Removal of Debris:
– This will require a dumpster and a disposal permit for the local landfill. There will be many sharp and dangerous items like broken glass, exposed nails, splintered wood that can cause serious injuries and health issues if you are cut by them. It is best left up to us to deal with.

Damage caused when extinguishing the fire.

– The first step is to seal off the unaffected areas. Smoke and odor damage will continue to affect other areas of the property after the fire is extinguished. We will start ventilating the unaffected areas to allow fresh air in and negative ventilation in the affected areas to remove toxins from the interior of the building. It is recommended to remove furniture, clothing, and other personal property to a storage area that was not involved in the fire and if necessary to an off-site storage facility. We can assist in moving these items for you.

Damage from smoke in unburned areas

– The first step is to seal off the unaffected areas. Smoke and odor damage will continue to affect other areas of the property after the fire is extinguished. we will start ventilating the unaffected areas to allow fresh air in and negative ventilation in the affected areas to remove toxins from the interior of the building. It is recommended to remove furniture, clothing, and other personal property to a storage area that was not involved in the fire and if necessary to an off site storage facility. We can assist in moving these items for you.