Recent Fire Damage Posts

Clean Your Dryer Vents

11/3/2021 (Permalink)

When talking about fire safety in the home there are things like smoke detectors and fire extinguishers that are obvious, but there are also some that are not so obvious, like your dryer vents for example. Have you had yours cleaned recently? Here are some signs that it might have been a little too long since your last dryer vent cleaning.

  • Hot Dryer and Clothes – If your clothes are coming out of the dryer hotter than usual or the outside of the dryer feels extra hot, the culprit may be a dirty dryer vent not allowing heat to dissipate as well
  • Clothes Taking Too Long to Dry – On the flip side, if you find that your clothes are taking too long to dry and require more than one cycle to finish this could also be a problem with the dryer vent, as a clogged vent will not allow any of the water vapor to be removed from the dryer keeping everything wet for longer
  • Smell – If the dryer is in use and you smell a burning smell this is a huge issue, you should turn off the dryer immediately. The exhaust tube, lint trap and drum of the dryer can get clogged and cause a fire hazard from lint buildup

You should have your dryer vent inspected and cleaned at least once a year to prevent any dangerous situations in your home. Give us a call here at SERVPRO of Hampton North and let our team of professionals come out and help keep your home safe from accidental fires.

Fire Prevention Week - College Fire Safety

10/5/2021 (Permalink)

During Fire Prevention Week, our SERVPRO of Hampton North team would like to share some important information to ensure our college attendees are staying safe in case of an emergency. First, get the facts:

  • According to the National Fire Protection Association, Fires in dorms are more common during the evening hours of 5-11pm and on weekends.
  • Roughly 6 out of 7 fires in dorms are started by cooking.

Here are some safety tips that college students should consider:

  • Check your school’s rules before using electrical appliances in your room.
  • If you live in a dormitory, make sure your sleeping room has a smoke alarm, or your dormitory suite has a smoke alarm in each living area as well as the sleeping room.
  • If you live in an apartment or house, make sure smoke alarms are installed in each sleeping room, outside every sleeping area, and on each level of the apartment unit or house.
  • Always test smoke alarms monthly
  • Always keep batteries handy and never remove betteris without replacing them
  • Learn your building’s evacuation plan and practice all drills
  • Have a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room
  • If you live off campus in an apartment, always stay in the kitchen when cooking
  • Do not start cooking if you are feeling sleepy, always stay alert

Fire Pit Safety

4/5/2021 (Permalink)

Check Out These Fire Pit Safety Tips

Warmer weather is upon us and it is time to work on your s’mores game. Here are some tips on how to play it safe for your next backyard fire. 

  • Never place a firepit closer than 10 feet from anything flammable, including your house, shed, and overheard tree branches. Also avoid bushes, fencing, awnings, and electrical wires, which are vulnerable to sparks and extreme heat. 
  • Homeowners’ associations and local authorities are great resources to find out the exact regulations of fire pits in your area. There may be rules about the hours of use, type of pet allowed, size, and location. Knowing these specific guidelines before adding a fire pit to your yard can prevent you from receiving potential fines and tickets.
  • Choose your fire pit fuel wisely. Avoid using softwoods like cedar or pine, which tend to smoke or spark. Use hardwoods like ash, hickory, or oak which burn longer. Also, avoid logs that are longer than three-quarters of your fire pit’s diameter, this prevents sparks from flying. It is recommended that you use seasoned wood that was cut six months earlier. Construction materials are off-limits to burn, as they release toxic chemicals into the air.
  • When using gas fire pits, make sure all vents are clear to avoid smoky flare-ups. Only use the fuel your fire pit is built to burn.
  • NEVER use lighter fluid, gas, or kerosene to light a fire.
  • Children and pets should always be supervised and should stay 10 feet back from any fire. Always be cautious of someone walking around the fire, anyone can trip and end up in the fire. Drinking makes this an even greater risk.
  • When putting out a fire, check ahead of time to see if your pit can withstand a dousing of water. Sometimes water can crack ceramic or even metal fire pits. Douse the fire with a garden hose with the nozzle set on a wide spray so that it can lower the temperature gradually and cool the area. Try to avoid using a focused steam of water (like pouring a bucket) because this could spread embers. If it cannot get wet, or you are not sure, keep a bucket of dry sand nearby to dump on the flames. For a gas or propane pit, turn off the supply before attempting to extinguish any fire.
  • If a fire spreads beyond the confines of the fire pit or flares above your head or prevents you from switching off the supply, calmly evacuate everyone from the area and call your local fire department. 

Fire safety is important for every member of your household to follow. If you are planning on using your fire pit this season, be sure to practice proper fire safety to prevent emergencies and injuries.

Which Fire Extinguisher Do I Use?

1/20/2021 (Permalink)

Did you know that there are five types of fire extinguishers? Each type is designed for a specific type of fire and knowing which type to use can make a drastic impact on your safety and using the proper extinguisher can significantly reduce the damage to your home. 

Type A Fire Extinguishers -  These are for use with ordinary materials such as paper, cloth, or wood. 

Type B Fire Extinguishers - These are for use with flammable/combustible liquids such as gasoline, oil based paint and grease. 

Type C Fire Extinguishers - These are for use with electrical equipment such as tools, appliance or any other equipment that is plugged in to an electrical source. 

Type D Fire Extinguishers - These are often found in factories and are to be used on flammable metals. 

Type K Fire Extinguishers - These types of extinguishers are often found in commercial kitchen as they are used to put out fires that involve oils from animals or vegetables, or animal fats in cooking appliances.


It is important to keep fire extinguishers in a place that they can be easily accessed in case of an emergency. Make sure that all parts of the extinguisher are in proper working order and be sure to review the manufacturer's guidelines and instructions on regular maintenance and inspection. At SERVPRO Hampton North we are here to respond Faster to any size disaster. A fire in your home can be stressful, but our franchise professionals are on standby 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to help with your fire clean up/restoration needs.

Heater Safety This Winter

1/11/2021 (Permalink)

With winter in full swing, it is important that we keep ourselves and our families warm during these colder months. We here at SERVPRO Hampton North want you to be prepared to safely heat your home or business. 

Never heat your home or business with a gas top stove or oven. Not only does this method of heating create an increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, leaving an unattended stove can cause a fire.

Read, understand and implement all manufacturer warnings and instructions when using space heaters. Most home heating fire deaths (86%) involved stationary or portable space heaters. 

Make sure that all heating equipment especially chimneys are regularly maintained through periodic cleaning and inspected prior to use. 

Keep heating equipment at least 3ft away from materials that are susceptible to catching fire such as furniture, clothing, bedding paper materials as well as other holiday decorations like Christmas trees. 

Almost half of all heating equipment related home fires occur during the months of December - February. So now is the time to inspect, clean and test all heating equipment to ensure that it is in proper working order.


SERVPRO Hampton North wants you, and your business to stay safe during these winter months.  If you do experience a fire or water damage call our franchise professionals at 757-825-9700. 

Christmas Tree Fire Safety

11/10/2020 (Permalink)

As you deck the halls this holiday season, be fire smart. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, Christmas tree fires cause property damage totaling more than $14 million annually. That figure can’t account for the heartbreak of a house fire over the holidays. These simple tips can keep your home and family safe while you all enjoy the Christmas tree’s bright lights and warm glow.

1. Check for Freshness

When picking out your tree, look for a tree with fresh, green needles, that do not fall off when touched. If needles fall off by your touch, the tree is already beginning to dry out, and that can pose a fire hazard. 

2. Before Placing the Tree

Cut 2” from the base of the trunk. Make sure your tree location is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, or even candles. A heat source too close to the tree causes one in every four of Christmas tree fires.

3. Give it a Stable Stand

Safely show off your Christmas tree in a sturdy, weighted stand with screw-in stabilizers that help anchor its weight. A large stand also holds plenty of water to keep a thirsty tree fresh inside your home. Be sure to add water to your tree daily.

4. Lighting the Tree

Use lights that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use. Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer’s instructions for the number of light strands to connect. Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.

5. Watch Kids and Pets

A beautiful tree can tempt little hands with pretty ornaments and inspire rowdy playtime around its base. Talk to the kids about home fire safety. Explain that running around close to the tree can topple it and start a fire. The family dog and cat can create Christmas tree fire hazards too. Discourage dangerous chewing and tangling accidents by hanging tree light strands and decorations above your pets’ playful reach.

6. Turn Everything Off

Always unplug tree lights before you leave the house or go to bed for the night. Turn off nearby space heaters, extinguish candles, and make sure embers are out in the fireplace. More than one of every four home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.

7. After Christmas

When a Christmas tree stops taking up water and starts dropping needles, it becomes more of a fire hazard with each passing day. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home. Check with your local community to find a recycling program to properly dispose of your tree.

We’re Always Here For You

This year, gather the family around for a quick review of Christmas tree safety strategies. Make sure everybody understands how important it is to follow the guidelines.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Hampton North send our warmest wishes to you and your family. It’s our honor to serve and be a part of this wonderful community, and we really value your support. Our teams are always here for you, with the best fire damage cleanup and fire restoration services available.

The Importance of Smoke Alarms

11/2/2020 (Permalink)

More often then not, the sound from a smoke detector is more reliable than your senses to alert you of a fire when you are sound asleep.  

Many people think that they will wake up because they will be able to smell the smoke. Not so, because your sense of smell shuts down when you sleep, and your sense of hearing is more active.

The National Fire Protection Association reported that 2 out 5 home fires that sustained fire damage, either did not have smoke alarms or they were disabled. 

Make sure that your alarm is placed properly so that you'll not be tempted to disable the alarm and installed correctly to ensure it's effectiveness and efficiency.

SERVPRO of Hampton North can answer your questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage. In the unfortunate event of a fire in your home, call the professionals at 757-825-9700.

How To Use a Fire Extinguisher

1/29/2020 (Permalink)

Do you know what you need to do in the event that you need to use a fire extinguisher?

We have all seen fire extinguishers fastened to the walls of businesses and even homes, we have all seen actors spray them uncontrollably around the room, and we have even seen professionals use them in news stories or instructional videos. But do you know what to do in the event that you need to use a fire extinguisher?

First, it is important to determine the proper type of fire extinguisher to use. There are 5 different types of fire extinguishers and each is meant for a different type of fire. 

Next, it is important to determine if it is appropriate to use a fire extinguisher. When a fire starts it is important to alert others in the area and have someone call 911, if you are in a large building have someone pull the fire alarm. A fire extinguisher should only be used if the outside appears clean and damage free and all necessary pieces are available and in working condition. Ensure that the fire is not blocking your escape route, determine a safe way to escape should the fire spread or fail to be extinguished. Ensure that you are not breathing in any of the toxic smoke from the fire. You should only use a fire extinguisher on a contained fire, meaning that the fire is contained to a single object such as a trashcan. 

Finally, when you are ready to use the extinguisher remember the P.A.S.S system.

Pull the pin

Aim at the base of the fire

Squeeze the trigger

Sweep side to side

Your safety as well as the safety of others is always the primary concern in the event of an emergency. When there is a fire, always call 911. Do not place yourself in harms way attempting to put out the fire or trying to save any material objects. We here at SERVPRO Hampton North have franchise professionals on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to respond to your fire damage cleanup/restoration needs

Holiday Fire Safety

12/5/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Hampton is always Here to Help. Check out these tips on preventing fires This Holiday season.

Did you know that Christmas trees are the culprit for hundreds of fires every year? If you purchase a live tree it is important to keep it well watered and hydrated. A dry tree can catch flames in just SECONDS if it comes in contact with an open flame such as a candle or a short in an electrical light.

Be sure to review the manufacturer's safety information included with any electrical decorations to avoid an overload that can cause an electrical short.


Keep burning candles at least 12 inches from anything that is flammable such a curtains, trees or wooden objects.


Make sure your Christmas tree is at least 3 feet away from any heat source including fireplaces, candles, radiators or heat vents. 1 in every 4 winter fires is caused from a tree being too close to a heat source!

SERVPRO Hampton North wants you, your family, and your property to stay safe. If you do experience a fire or water damage during the holidays, or any time of the year, our franchise professionals can make it “Like it never even happened.” Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, we are Here to Help.

Cleaning and Restoring Fire Damaged Contents in Hampton

6/10/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Cleanup in Hampton?

What to Consider when Cleaning Fire Damaged Contents

The salvage efforts by the fire department can leave your home or office with a huge wet mess or you could have minimal damage with only grease, smoke, or soot damage.  Our SERVPRO® fire restoration team handles each loss and determines the best means to clean and restore your fire damaged items.

Restoration methods include dry-cleaning, cleaning with ultrasonic waves or with other specialized treatments to remove odors, to preserve photos and documents and clean your smoke and soot damaged electronics. We take certain steps in determining how to best clean your contents.

Assess the Damage

Our first step would be to determine whether the item (s) can be restored or are they non-salvageable.  Contents with smoke or soot damage usually can be restored, such as photos or documents, however, burned or charred items would be considered a loss.

Consider Durability

The durability of the fabric, or the material of the damaged item (s) is considered when determining the cleaning and restoration method.  Delicate items subjected to the fire incident may not withstand even our most gentle of treatments.

Consider Porosity

The porosity of an item is important in determining the best cleaning and restoration method.  Porous items such as clothing and textiles can benefit from our ozone treatment to dry cleaning.  Delicate, non-porous items made of glass or ceramic, can more than likely be immersed and cleaned with ultrasonic waves.  More delicate porous items are handled more carefully and limited to moisture exposure.

We recommend always having your fire damaged items cleaned by a professional restoration company.  SERVPRO® of Hampton North offers a full range of content cleaning options as well as content storage.  When we clean your contents, we box and label your items, to deliver back to you once your home has been restored or another location has been determined.  Fire Damage Cleanup in Chesapeake?  Call 757-825-9700.

Author Kim Calantropo

Photo credit Wavy.com

Cooking Fire Safety

11/7/2018 (Permalink)

Kitchen Fire Restoration in Hampton

Cooking Fire Safety

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries.   Travelers Insurance offers these safe cooking behaviors to help keep you and your family safe.

Never leave your cooking equipment unattended while cooking, turn it off.

Don’t wear loose clothing, roll up your sleeves.

Keep your cooking area clean and remove any items that may explode or catch fire, like a paper or kitchen towel, oven mitt, non-dairy creamer, or flour.

Remove any grease buildup from your cooking area. 

Keep a fire extinguisher in the cooking area.  Be sure to have the correct type of extinguisher and know how to properly use it.  

Don’t throw hot grease into the garbage.  Let it cool and harden then dispose of it.

Don’t store food items in your oven.  People forget that there is food in there and it could catch fire when preheating. 

What do you do if you do have a cooking fire? 

Your safety comes first.  Leave the scene if you aren’t sure if the fire is safe enough to combat, call 911 for help.  The fire department will control the fire.

If the fire is small and you are going to attempt to extinguish it, call 911 for help first.  The fire can get out of control quickly and having help on the way is safer.

Never throw water on a grease fire, smother it.  Watch how the water will turn to burning steam and the oil will splash and spread the fire.  If you can, use a mitt to carefully slide a lid onto the pan and safely turn off the heat source.  Don’t attempt to remove the pan until the fire is out and the pan has had time to cool.

Keep the door closed for an oven or microwave fire and turn off the heat and electrical source.  Don’t open the door until the flames are gone.

If you suffer fire damage, call us for your Fire Damage Restoration in Hampton

How to Avoid a Fire Disaster this Holiday Season

11/1/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Safety in Hampton

SERVPRO of Hampton North wants to help you avoid a fire disaster this holiday season.  November is a time of the year that inspires family get togethers, like Thanksgiving.  As you begin the holiday season, and are busy whipping up delicious dishes, it’s also important to take time to remember safety.  Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.

Cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires and home-fire-related injuries in the U.S.  According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Agency), cooking equipment and heating equipment are the leading causes of home fire deaths,  read more at Thanksgiving Safety  and watch the  Potential Danger of Turkey Fryers

If you have a cooking fire, consider just getting out and when you leave close the door behind you to help contain the fire.  Then call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.  Consider for an over fire, to turn off the heat and keep the door closed and to keep a lid nearby when cooking to smother small grease fires. 

SERVPRO Hampton North want you, your family, and your property to stay safe.  If you do experience a fire or water damage during the holidays, or any time of the year, we can make it “Like it never even happened.”

November is Military Family Month.  All of us would like to thank all service members and their families during Military Family Month and all year-round.

Best Smart Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detector of 2018

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

Best Smart Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detector of 2018

The best smart smoke/carbon monoxide detectors of 2018 were picked recently by Reviewed.com and shared on This Old House. 

The top smoke detectors and monitors on the market were put through their paces before being selected.  

Regular smoke detectors beep when they sense smoke, and if they are not connected to a fire department, are only valuable if you are home. 

Smart smoke detectors will send you a push notification when the alarm goes off, and give you a heads up when the battery is low.  The top pick Halo+ excelled with its speed of notifications whether connected to WiFi or not, detecting smoke or carbon monoxide.  Read more about best right now.

At SERVPRO of Hampton North, we know about Fire Damage Cleanup and Restoration.  Let us help make it "Like it never even happened."  

A Fire Loss Estimate In Hampton

5/4/2018 (Permalink)

Kitchen Fire Loss in Hampton

The fire trucks are gone and now your Hampton home and belongings are likely suffering from not only fire and smoke damage, but also extensive water damage from the firefighting efforts.  The restoration of your home and estimation of your fire loss begins when you call your local SERVPRO of Hampton North.

Our SERVPRO Professionals in Electronics, Structure, and Contents Restoration arrive to conduct pretests,  while inspecting the property to determine the extent of fire damage and the scope of needed cleaning, restoration, and repairs. These professional experts need to identify and consider the following and are only few to mention:

  • The materials, and items affected by smoke or fire and the proper method for cleaning; 
  • If your personal belongings need to be relocated while your house is being restored
  • The areas that were not affected by soot and odor and protect those areas as soon as possible to avoid contamination 
  • If the smoke residues are cleanable
  • Conduct a complete inventory of items that are damaged beyond repair as a complete inventory is invaluable
  • The amount of time needed to perform the cleanup with the most effective cleaning methods

Once the fire damage mitigation begins, you will be kept informed and your questions will be answered throughout the process. #AlwaysHereToHelp

Need an estimate for fire damage? Call our office at (757)-825-9700

Spring Wildfire Season is Here. . . Are you Prepared Hampton?

4/25/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Hampton North, 757-825-9700

Spring wildfire season is here . . .  are you prepared?

February 15th was the start of the spring wildfire season in the commonwealth.  The Virginia Department of Forestry says that we are in good share for the beginning of the season thanks to the rain helping to add moisture to the fire fuels, like dry grass, straw and leaves, the biggest fuels for wildfires.

The Department also reminds us that the outdoor burning law went into effect on the 15th, meaning you have to wait to burn till after 4:00 p.m. and if it’s windy, or dry outside, postpone the burning.  Read more

Our friends at Allstate say that the best defense is to be prepared and offer these steps that you can take to prepare your family property and home.

  • Determine your risk level and then create a ring of three defensible fire zones around your home.
  • Build a disaster preparedness kit with water, food, dust masks, a first-aid kit and other essentials.
  • Create a family communication plan, plan an evac route and follow it immediately if an evacuation is ordered.

Fire damage can be devastating for you and your family.  SERVPRO of Hampton North will provide you with caring and expert guidance through the crisis.  Please refer to our Fire Damage Tips-Until Help Arrives Guide and follow these tips to protect yourself and your property.

The Behavior of Smoke

12/6/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Hampton North 757-825-9700

Following a fire, there are two different types of smoke, wet and dry.  As a result there are different types of soot residue after a fire.

  • 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.
  • Fuel Oil Soot (Furnace Puff Backs) While "puff backs" can create havoc for homeowners, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can, in most cases, restore the contents and structure quickly.
  • Other Types (Tear gas, fingerprint powder, and fire extinguisher residue) Special loss situations require special care.

SERVPRO of Hampton North Franchise Professionals are thoroughly trained in fire cleanup and restoration and know the different types of smoke and their behavior patterns.

Safe Holidays are Happy Holidays

12/5/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Hampton North, 757-825-9700

Safe holidays are happy holidays.  As you begin to decorate your home or office remember. . .  

  • Inspect your lights before you hang them
  • Replace old lights
  • Never connect more than 3 strings of lights at a time
  • be mindful of low-hanging or damaged wires to protect your pets and children

The Consumer Product Safety Commission offers up holiday decoration safety tips and general rules for Holiday Safety on products we use to decorate with like "Snow", Paper, Trimmings, Candles, Trees, and lights.

SERVPRO of Hampton North has been serving the community since 1967.  We are dedicated to helping customers when disaster strikes and helping to make it "Like it never even happened."  We are ready 24/7, 365 at 757-825-9700.

Have Questions? Call Us Today – (757) 825-9700

Thanksgiving Cooking Safety and the American Red Cross

11/15/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO® of Hampton North, 757-825-9700.

Scott Salemme, Regional CEO of the American Red Cross of the Greater Chesapeake Region said “Cooking is the number one cause of home fires, so we also have information cooks can follow to avoid a fire.”

When we come together as family and as friends to prepare the Thanksgiving meal and share in the “how to” of family recipes, it is easy to get caught up in the festive moment and to forget the potential hazards.

While cooking, remember to avoid wearing your robe, loose fitting clothing or dangling sleeves.  Never leave the stove unattended, even for bathroom breaks, just turn it off.  Here the American Red Cross suggests more cooking safety steps  

At SERVPRO® of Hampton North has been serving the community since 1967.  We are dedicated to helping customers when disaster strikes and helping to make it “Like it never even happened.”  We are ready 24/7, 365 at 757-825-9700.

Fix Up Your Firebox

10/24/2016 (Permalink)

Unsightly cracked and crumbling mortar inside a fireplace can be fixed in minutes with a few simple tools.

The mortar in most brick joints consists of sand, lime, and Portland cement. But in a fireplace, that mix just crumbles away when subjected to roaring wood fires. For this application, masons rely on a refractory mortar made of magnesium silicate, which can withstand beat up to 2,000 degrees F. Yet even refractory mortar can fail as the brickwork expands and contracts with repeated fires. Fortunately, fixing those damaged joints is a snap, thanks to high-temp fireplace mortars packaged in caulk tubes.

Tools Needed:

  • Nitrile gloves
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Sponge with abrasive pad
  • Grout-removal tool with triangular carbide blade
  • Stiff-bristle brush
  • Wet/dry vac
  • Nylon-bristle brush
  • Refractory mortar
  • Caulk gun
  • Tuck-point trowel

STEPS

  1. Wash the brick: Put on nitrile gloves, then thoroughly scrub soot off the sides of the firebox with an abrasive pad on a wet sponge. Soot dissolves fairly easily when wet. The washing also dampens the brick and mortar, a necessary step before repointing.
  2. Dig out the loose mortar: Using a grout-removal tool fitted with a triangular carbide blade, scrape out cracked, loose, and crumbling mortar. Stop when the sides of the blade touch the edges of the brick. The blade’s triangular shape prevents it from going too deep (more than half the width of the joint). Clean the joints with a narrow, stiff-bristle brush and sweep up the mortar crumbs with a wet/dry vac.
  3. Wet the joints: Go over all the scraped joints with a nylon paintbrush, dipping repeatedly into a bucket of clean water. Refractory mortar bonds best to a damp surface, and the brush bristles ensure that all of the old brick and mortar are moistened.
  4. Caulk the joints: After slipping a tube of refractory mortar into a caulk gun, drag the tube’s nozzle over all the scraped mortar joints, leaving behind a fat bead of caulk. Make sure to fill any gaps between the hearth and the firebox floor.
  5. Pack the mortar: Use a 3/8-inch-wide tuck-pointing trowel to smooth and press the soft mortar firmly into each of the joints, then scrape off the excess with the trowel’s edge. In corners, use a gloved finger to pack and smooth.
  6. Wipe away the residue: Multiple swipes with a damp sponge with remove most of the mortar residue. Wipe the brick again in 24 hours, after the remaining residue dries to a haze. This mortar’s heat-resistant qualities kick in when it reaches 500 degrees. Either a heat gun or a small, brief fire will serve the purpose.

Keeping your firebox in tip-top shape is just one step in keeping your fireplace in good working order, and preventing home fires.

The Nose Knows

9/26/2016 (Permalink)

Here’s an interesting story of a contents manager who was faced with an interesting challenge!

There had been a chimney fire. The homeowner climbed up on his roof and extinguished the blaze by spraying a fire extinguisher down the chimney from above. It worked, but there was a large amount of smoke. When the homeowner opened his front door to go back in, the resulting draft sucked the smoke and soot back down the chimney and through the house.

The smoke billowed through a trophy room of mounted animal heads, coating everything in its path and saturating various items with strong smoke odors. The moose, elk, and deer trophies were fragile, so the contents manager decided not to use soot sponges as it may remove the hair from the taxidermy. Instead she used strong HEPA-filtered vacuums and a mild cleaning solution for the eyes and antlers.

In the kitchen, soot sponges were used first to determine whether there were smoke particles on the inside of the cabinets (if a sponge is passed gently over a smoke-laden cabinet or counter, it will come back with black smears or dark lines). Discovering no soot or ash on the surface of the cabinets nor on the inside, she opted not to clean out the insides of the cabinets and shelves, then went back for a final check of everything else.

What is the final check? The same one the homeowner would eventually use – the sniff test! The contents professional came within an inch of the taxidermy and sniffed along the fur- no smoke odor could be detected. The nose knows!

The manager mentioned that had there been any smoke or soot in the cupboards, she would have thrown out all the opened boxes of food and even those sealed boxes with thin cardboard containers or even thinner plastic bags where there would be too much risk of contamination. Of course nothing is discarded without talking things over with the owner and getting a “disposal authorization” form signed.

That is how we here at SERVPRO of Hampton perform: easy, simple, and well thought out.

Hampton Smoke and Soot Cleanup

7/11/2016 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot damage can cause a pervasive odor in your Hampton home.

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 Chesapeake 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 – (757)825-9700.

Grill Fire Safety in Hampton.

6/27/2016 (Permalink)

Keep your home safe this summer by following these grilling tips.

Warmer weather brings hot grills and tasty meals. However, a fun backyard cook-out can quickly turn into a dangerous fire situation. It is important to practice safe grilling habits to keep your outdoor fun going all summer long.

Statistics

Each year an average of 8,900 home fires are caused by grilling, and close to half of all injuries involving grills are due to thermal burns. While nearly half of the people who grill do it year-round, July is the peak month for grill fires followed by May, June and August. A failure to clean the grill was the leading factor contributing to the fire in one –fifth of all grill structure fires (19%). In 17%, something that could catch fire was too close to the grill. Leaks or breaks were the factor in 11% of grill structure fires and 23% of outside and unclassified grill fires. Gas grills contribute to a higher number of home fires overall than their charcoal counterparts.

Do:

1. Keep your grill at least 10 feet away from your house. Farther is even better. This includes portions attached to your house like carports, garages and porches. Grills should not be used underneath wooden overhangs either, as the fire could flare up into the structure above. This applies to both charcoal and gas grills.

2. Clean your grill regularly. If you allow grease and fat to build up on your grill, they provide more fuel for a fire. Grease is a major source of flare ups.

3. Check for gas leaks. You can make sure no gas is leaking from your gas grill by making a solution of half liquid dish soap and half water and rubbing it on the hoses and connections. Then, turn the gas on (with the grill lid open.) If the soap forms large bubbles, that's a sign that the hoses have tiny holes or that the connections are not tight enough.

4. Keep decorations away from your grill. Decorations like hanging baskets, pillows and umbrellas look pretty AND provide fuel for a fire. To make matters worse, today's decor is mostly made of artificial fibers that burn fast and hot, making this tip even more important.

5. Keep a spray bottle of water handy. That way, if you have a minor flare-up you can spray it with the water to instantly calm it. The bonus of this tip is that water won't harm your food, so dinner won't be ruined!

6. Keep a fire extinguisher within a couple steps of your grill. And KNOW HOW TO USE IT. If you are unsure how to use the extinguisher, don't waste time fiddling with it before calling 911. Firefighters say many fire deaths occur when people try to fight a fire themselves instead of calling for expert help and letting the fire department do its job.

Don't:

7. Turn on the gas while your grill lid is closed. NEVER do this. It causes gas to build up inside your grill, and when you do light it and open it, a fireball can explode in your face. 

8. Leave a grill unattended. Fires double in size every minute. Plan ahead so that all of your other food prep chores are done and you can focus on grilling.

9. Overload your grill with food. This applies especially to fatty meats. The basic reason for this tip is that if too much fat drips on the flames at once, it can cause a large flare-up that could light nearby things on fire.

10. Use a grill indoors. People often think it will be safe to use a grill, especially a small one, indoors. NOT TRUE. In addition to the fire hazard, grills release carbon monoxide, the deadly colorless, odorless gas. That gas needs to vent in fresh air.

If a fire does occur this summer, call SERVPRO® of Hampton at (757)825-9700. Our trained team will work to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Preventing Home Fires in Your Hampton Home

3/23/2016 (Permalink)

Fireplace and Woodstove Safety Tips:

  • Inspect and clean woodstove pipes and fireplace chimneys annually. Check monthly for any damage or obstructions.
  • Never burn trash, paper, or green wood, which will smolder and create more smoke than dry wood.
  • Use a fireplace screen that is heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying sparks.
  • Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.
  • Store cooled ashes in a tightly sealed metal container outside the home. After three days the ashes can be bagged and thrown away.

For Emergency Restoration Services, Call Us! 757-825-9700

What You Need to Know When Recovering From Fire Damage.

3/7/2016 (Permalink)

Damage caused by soot and smoke.

While the fire is always the immediate danger, once it's gone, what it leaves behind will continue to affect your home and everything inside it. Ash and smoke, if left and not cleaned by professionals, will leave extensive corrosion, etching and discoloration, not to mention those lingering odors. So what's the first step to your homes recovery and what should you know?

  1. Don't risk doing further damage by attempting to clean up the damage yourself. Refer to the list below.

  2. You should call your insurance carrier and file a claim.

  3. Then call SERVPRO of Hampton to assess the damage. We will then communicate with your insurance company to plan the damage recovery process, and the process will be explained to you.

The sooner you contact us the better, because damage will continue and your structure and all your contents will have much more extensive damage to them. Carpets may become permanently discolored, glass may be severely etched and those odors aren't just odors. They are acidic and filled with toxins that can be harmful to you, and the longer they stay the more damage it will cause to your home.

Keys Things to Avoid:

  1. Do not wipe or attempt to wash residue from walls, ceilings, or absorbent surfaces.

  2. Do not use carpeting or upholstered furniture impacted by heavy smoke residue or debris.

  3. Do not use food items or canned goods exposed to heat.

  4. Do not turn on computers, TV's, stereos or electrical appliances until they have been professionally cleaned and checked.