Recent Fire Damage Posts

Can you Sell a Fire Damaged House

9/16/2021 (Permalink)

Home after a fire. Call SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra should your home experience fire damage and we'll help you navigate the restoration process.

Living through a house fire can be an extremely traumatic experience. Trying to sell a house after it’s been damaged by a fire can be almost as traumatic, especially if you don’t know the ins and outs of navigating the situation. Here, we offer advice on selling a house after it’s been through a fire.

First, can you sell a fire-damaged home? The answer, in most cases, is yes. Real estate laws don’t prohibit people from selling a house after it’s been damaged by a fire, but they do require the sellers to disclose information to the buyer about the fire.

There are two different ways to go about selling a fire-damaged home:

  • Selling a house as-is: If fixing the damages caused by the fire is cost-prohibitive, you might decide to sell the property as-is. This can be challenging, and you won’t get the market value price, though the money from the sale combined with the payout from insurance might get you into a new home. While the average buyer will probably shy away from buying a home that’s experienced a house fire, there are some companies that buy homes “as is” and would be willing to take the chance.
  • Restoring the house before selling: Restoring your home to a pre-fire state is expensive (though it may be covered by your homeowner’s insurance), but it will also net you more money- sometimes more than you would have gotten pre-fire. Has your home been assessed to see how much repairing the damage will cost before you decide whether or not it’s worth doing?

If you do decide to sell your home after a house fire, here are some steps you should follow:

  • Restore the house to its pre-fire condition. For this, contact a fire remediation company, like us. Fire and smoke damage restoration is not something you should do by yourself, because it requires specific knowledge and equipment.
  • Keep all of your restoration documentation. Include photos and paid invoices, so that you can stand up to any scrutiny.
  • Disclose information about the fire to the buyers. A property disclosure form is required in most states.
  • Be prepared to answer questions. Buyers will want to know what caused the fire, and you’ll need to reassure them that steps have been taken to keep it from happening again.
  • Expect it to take a long time. Rushing the process won’t help but being patient could bring you a better price for your home.

If your home has been damaged by a house fire, it’s important to have it professionally cleaned and restored to its pre-fire condition. When you need help restoring your Northeast Florida home, call SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra for help with smoke damage restoration. Our highly-trained restoration technicians have the experience and equipment to restore your Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, or Ponte Vedra home and get everything back to like-new condition. A trusted leader in the industry, we’ve served our community for more than 40 years. Call (904) 246-6118 or contact us through our website.

What to Do In Case of Fire Damage

8/9/2021 (Permalink)

Debri in Home After Fire Damage If your Jacksonville Beach or Ponte Vedra Home experiences fire damage, we'll be there to help you restore your home and navigate the process ASAP!

How frequently do house fires occur? Would it surprise you to learn that a fire department in the United States responds to a fire every 24 seconds? Hopefully, your home will never make it into that frightening statistic. If it does ever happens to you, here’s what to do once the smoke has cleared and the fire department has left the scene.

  • Don’t plan to immediately move back into the house. Even the parts of the house that weren’t damaged by the flames can be dangerous for people to inhabit. Smoke damage can cause soot and smoke to stick to the walls, floors, and furniture, which makes it dangerous for you to breathe. Fire can also cause electrical hazards and affect ducts and insulation in your walls, attic, and crawl space.
  • Make sure cleanup is handled properly and promptly. Soot and ash discolor surfaces, and the longer you wait to clean it off of your belongings, the worse that discoloration will be, and the lower the likelihood will be that it can be returned to preloss condition. In fact, after just a few days, discoloration of walls and fabric items can become permanent. Left for weeks, the residue left behind by a house fire can corrode metal, permanently etch glass, and cause wood and vinyl surfaces to deteriorate to an irreparable degree.
  • Call in the professionals. Cleaning up the damage left behind by fire requires meticulous care. If it isn’t handled with extreme caution, soot residue can contaminate the entire building. What’s more, fire restoration experts know what can and cannot be salvaged and have the equipment and products needed to comprehensively clean your home. Professionals also know how to work with insurance adjusters, and can often bill the insurance company directly, making the process much easier for you.
  • Call your insurance company. Your homeowner’s insurance will cover damage to your home from a fire or smoke. This includes damage caused by a fire at a neighboring building, as well as damage caused by wildfires. The house, fences, driveway, sheds, and other structures on your property are also protected. Homeowner’s insurance also covers the cost of most personal items lost in a fire, and typically also covers additional living expenses, even for months at a time if necessary, while you regroup. Other people on your property at the time are also covered. The only time a homeowner’s policy will not cover damages from a fire is if you or someone else named on your policy caused the fire intentionally.

If your property sustains fire damage, you don’t have to go it alone. If you’ve suffered through a home fire in your Northeast Florida home, call SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra for help with fire restoration. Our highly-trained restoration technicians have the experience and equipment to restore your Jacksonville Beaches area home and get everything back to normal. A trusted leader in the fire damage restoration service industry, we’ve served our community for more than 40  years. Call (904) 246-6118 or contact us through our website to get the restoration care you deserve.

Prepare Your Home and Family in Case of a House Fire

8/4/2021 (Permalink)

Image shows fire damage 'near me' in a kitchen, with black soot on the stove. Call SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra at 904-246-6118, if you experience fire damage in your home.

Prepare Your Home and Family in Case of a House Fire

Have you seen the free local guide that contains tips for basic first aid, animal and pet preparedness, active shooter response, COVID-19, JEA resources, and severe weather including; thunderstorms, lightning, tropical storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, flooding, etc.? It's the new City of Jacksonville Preparedness and Response Guide for the 2021-2022 Storm Season. This free guide also contains lists for emergency supplies, information about water and beach safety, and house fires.

Does your family have a plan in case a fire happens at home? What is the nearest and/or fastest escape route and where will you meet each other if you get separated? Here are a few home fire safety tips that you and your family should practice, preparing you in case of a disaster:

  • Install smoke detectors on every level of your home and check them, at least every 6 months regularly.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors and test the batteries every 6 months. 
  • Make sure everyone (age-appropriate) in your home knows where the fire extinguisher is and how to operate it. Maybe practice with your old one when it's time to replace your extinguisher. 
  • Practice and identify escape routes from each room of your home.
  • Make sure everyone (age-appropriate) in your home knows how to shut off the gas, water, and electricity at the main switches, along with any other emergency systems that may be affected.
  • Pre-designate a meeting point in the event of a house fire. You never know when you might get separated.
  • Make a plan for your pets.

If you are a Duval County resident you should have received your copy of the City of Jacksonville Preparedness & Response Guide, 2021-2022 in the mail Summer of 2021 (one per household). If you have yet to receive it or want to view it digitally, you can GO ONLINE to the City of Jacksonville's preparedness website and download a PDF version to review. 

9 Facts About House Fires You Need to Know

8/4/2021 (Permalink)

Image shows a page from a local magazine 'near me' showing fire safety tips. SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra can work with your insurance company to mitigate fire damage in your home, 904-246-6118.

9 Facts About House Fires You Need to Know

Reviewing the following facts can help your family respond to and escape from a house fire faster.

  1. Escape Route, Find two ways to get out of each room or area of the home (door or window).
  2. Windows, Ensure that windows are not stuck, security bars can be properly opened, and screens can be taken out.
  3. Call 911, Call 9-1-1 for help if you can't get to someone needing assistance.
  4. Seal Doors and Vents, If you can't escape, shelter where you are. Then all 9-1-1 to report your location, sealing doors or vents if possible.
  5. Feel the Door for Heat, When escaping a room, feel the doorknob with the back of your hand; if hot, leave the door closed and try to find another way out.
  6. Inventory Damages, Create a checklist of damaged property and items. Protect valuable documents and records.
  7. Utilities, The fire department should check that utilities are either safe to use or are disconnected safely before they leave.
  8. P.A.S.S., the acronym PASS is your key for how to operate a fire extinguisher. P, Pull out the pin. A, Aim the nozzle or horn low at the base of the fire. S, Squeeze the handle to release the agent. S, Sweep from side to side at the base of the flame until the fire is out.
  9. Smoke Detectors, The Jacksonville Fire & Rescue Department, JFRD, provides and installs free smoke detectors for any qualifying Jacksonville residence. Our local fire department will also install replacement batteries. For a free smoke detector or to arrange to have the batteries replaced in an existing one, call 904-630-2489 (CITY).

For more house fire tips and resources for kids, visit the MyJFRD website.

Be 'Ready for Whatever Happens'

2/15/2021 (Permalink)

Hurricane Stats and Safety Tips:

The peak time of year for Storms, June -November.

Force, from 74-155+ miles per hour.

Best resources for safety information, ready.gov/hurricanes.

Cost of damage, for example, Hurricane Sandy caused nearly $62 billion in damage in the United States. Sandy is the nation's most expensive storm since hurricane Katrina, which caused $128 billion in damage (statistics provided by NOAA.

Flood Stats and Safety Resources:

The peak time of year, year-round threat in the US, most likely in the spring and fall for our region.

Cost of damage, according to floodsmart.gov, total flood insurance claims averaged $4 billion per year from 2003- 2012.

One of the best resources for safety information, floodsmart.gov has extremely helpful preparedness tips.

Wildfire Stats and Safety Resources:

The peak time of year, a year-round threat for Florida. 

Acres burned, according to the National Interagency Fire Center, there were more than 63,000 wildfires that burned over 3.5 million acres in the United States in 2014. The cost of damage, more than $1.5 billion in 2014.

One of the best resources for safety information, check out Firewise USA.

Tornado Stats and Safety Resources:

The peak time of year, March- June, though tornadoes have been recorded every month of the year, in years past. Tornadoes can also occur in any state.

The best resource for safety information, www.ready.gov/tornadoes.

Cleaning Up After a Fire- The Right Way

1/21/2021 (Permalink)

Need an estimate for fire damage? Call SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra at (904) 246-6118.

Inspection and Pretesting
The SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra Professional pretests from the type of cleaning that will be appropriate for your type of fire damage, while inspecting the property to determine the extent of fire damage and the scope of cleaning needed, restoration, and repairs.

  • The full extent of the smoke and fire damage. How many materials are affected by smoke or fire? What is the proper method for cleaning? Will your personal belongings need to be relocated while your house is restored? These are just a few of the decisions that must be made to get your property back "Like it never even happened."
  • Unaffected areas - It can be vital to protect areas that were not affected by soot and odor before the damage spreads to these areas. It will save you money, and will also protect your valuables from secondary damage.
  • What materials can be restored and what materials must be replaced. Are the smoke residues cleanable? Who is completing the inventory of items that are damaged beyond repair? Fire damage pretesting is vital. A complete inventory is invaluable! How long will the cleanup take? We'll let you know what to expect.
  • The most effective cleaning methods. What procedures will restore the damaged materials?

Pretesting also allows the SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra Professional to focus on saving precious items or keepsakes on your behalf.

Once the fire damage mitigation begins, the Franchise Professional will keep you informed and answer your questions, all while working to help make the fire damage “Like it never even happened.”

Fire Safety Tips for Your Commercial Business

1/13/2021 (Permalink)

Although an emergency escape plan is not required for all businesses under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), it recommends your building have an emergency action plan to protect yourself, employees, and your business during an emergency situation. OSHA suggests the following steps when developing such a plan.

Organize emergency preparedness procedures and share them with your employees.

Once a plan is developed, post evacuation procedures, including routes and exits, where they are easily accessible to all employees. Ensure that all exits are marked and well lit, wide enough to accommodate the number of evacuating personnel, and unobstructed and clear of debris at all times. 

Conduct office evacuation exercises and drills. Designate a safe spot outside of the facility where employees can regroup, recover, and conduct a headcount. Once completed, evaluate how well the plan worked. You may need to make improvements.

Holiday Fire Safety Checklist

11/2/2020 (Permalink)

Photo shares statistics about holiday fires with a Christmas tree in the background. Don't let a holiday disaster ruin your plans.

The holidays are one of the worse times for house fires. Cooler weather, beautiful Christmas trees, decorations and candles can be a potential fire hazard. SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra would like to advise you to take personal responsibility and prepare long before a fire threatens your home and your family’s safety.

Sit down with your family and review this fire safety checklist:

  • Install and maintain a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector in every bedroom, outside of every sleep area and on every level of the home, including the basement, and remember to change the battery at least once a year.
  • Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. This way, when one sounds, they all do.
  • Test alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button.
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old or sooner if they don’t respond properly.
  • Make sure everyone in the home knows the sound of the smoke alarm and understands what to do when they hear it.
  • Know where your fire extinguisher is mounted, and make sure everyone in the family knows how to use it.
  • Designate two escape routes from each bedroom and practice them regularly.
  • Teach everyone the "Stop, Drop, and Roll" technique in case clothing catches on fire.
  • Avoid storing old mattresses in the home or garage.
  • Teach kids that matches, lighters and candles are tools, not toys. If you suspect that a child is playing with fire, check under beds and in closets for telltale signs like burned matches. Matches and lighters should be stored in a secure drawer or cabinet.

While it is crucial to be cautious of fire hazards year-round, taking the time to walk through these steps at least once a year could save you and your family’s life. When a fire happens, there is no more time for planning. Act today, be prepared!

Check back with us for more fire safety tips and don’t forget to like us on Facebook!

Have Storm Damage? Call SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra – 904-246-6118

What to Do After a Fire

5/30/2020 (Permalink)

Photo shows female homeowner surveying the damage of her home after a fire, ceiling is exposed showing sooty beams. A homeowner inspects her gutted home after fire damage. Call SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra to help you recover from disaster 904-246-6118.

Any fire can be devastating. When a fire occurs, the most important thing is the safety of your family and pets. Once everyone is safe and secure, it’s time to work on a plan for what to do next. SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra has created this checklist of safety precautions and more, to help begin the recovery after fire damage.

What to Do After a Fire

Call your insurance company immediately. Following ironing the details with your insurance company, contact SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra so the fire damage cleanup process can begin quickly. Make sure to notify your mortgage company of the fire also. If you’re not sure that the home is structurally safe, have it inspected by a certified structural engineer or building inspector before going near. If you don't know a licensed structural engineer, let SERVPRO refer one to you.

  • Take pictures of all exterior damage, noting broken windows or entrances that are no longer secure.
  • Make arrangements to board-up broken windows and secure the property during the cleanup and restoration process. Do you know SERVPRO does board-up and fencing?
  • Shut off propane tank systems and make an appointment for them to be inspected for safety.
  • Do not attempt to reconnect utilities on your own.
  • Be aware that rodents, snakes, or other animals may have entered your home after you've vacated the property.

Inside the home:

  • Don’t flip on electrical switches in any room with standing water from firefighting efforts.
  • Don’t enter any room if you hear popping or see sparking.
  • Turn off the power at the main electrical panel.
  • Try not touch anything covered with soot; it’s easy to transfer it to other areas of the home, making the cleaning process more difficult.
  • Wear closed-toed shoes or boots, long sleeves, long pants and gloves to protect against soot and any other contaminants as you go through the home.
  • Try to locate important papers and other documents that you’ll need.
  • Handle burned money as little as possible. You can take its remains to a Regional Federal Reserve Bank for replacement.
  • Begin taking inventory of the building damage and all damaged items.
  • Begin saving receipts for any expenses incurred after the fire. These may be needed when filing insurance claims.

Fire Damage Cleanup and Restoration

Companies like SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra have the expertise, as well as the right products and equipment to safely and effectively clean and restore a home after a fire. Fire damage includes more than just items burned. There will be soot, smoke, and water damage from the fire department as well.

A professional cleaning team will assess the damage to flooring, drywall, cabinets, furniture and more, before developing a plan for a thorough cleanup. Additionally, mold growth may be a concern if rooms and items that have been saturated with water during the fire-fighting efforts, are not dried out quickly.

Items that may need to be cleaned for soot and smoke removal include, but are not limited to:

  • Carpets and area rugs
  • Flooring: hardwood, tile and vinyl
  • Woodwork and other hard surfaces like counter tops and cabinetry
  • Electronics and appliances
  • Furniture and upholstery
  • Draperies, linens and clothing
  • Books, artwork, papers and documents

After a fire, let SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra tackle the tough jobs and give you the peace of mind that your home will be cleaned and restored quickly, safely and correctly. Call us 24/7/365 at 904-246-6118 for any fire, smoke, or soot damage in your home or business.

Smoke Odor Removal in Jacksonville Beach Home

5/25/2020 (Permalink)

Photo shows excessive soot damage to kitchen cabinets. Cabinets are wood and are black towards the kitchen ceiling. SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra surveys soot damage from a recent kitchen fire.

When there is a fire in your home or business it can be a devastating loss. Did you know that even after the fire is out, smoke can still damage other areas of the property? The smoky odor from a fire can make the entire home or business smell horrible and smoke damage, if left untreated, can often exceed fire damage in repair and replacement costs. Fire damage repairs must begin quickly to maximize effectiveness and minimize loss due to smoke damage. 

SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra answers the call and immediately moves into action 24/7. Recognizing the trauma and emotional upset that occupants suffer, we work quickly and considerately to mitigate fire and smoke damage on salvageable property, such as household items, fixtures, metals and other contents. Our state-of-the science techniques and cleaning processes often prevent replacement costs, thereby reducing costs. Fire and smoke damage restoration requires knowledge and skill; our SERVPRO professionals have the expertise to do the job right.

Our trained professionals determine the full extent of fire damage, including the impact of smoke, heat and residues from fire and smoke. We keep home and business owners informed, helping to overcome their loss and restoring hope by explaining what can be saved and how, in a way property owners can understand what is happening, what to expect, and what they can do.

SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra's treatment always includes respectful handling of property as if it was our own. We take extra care and the necessary steps to protect the floor and personal belongings. We use state-of-the-science techniques and cleaning solutions that can dramatically increase the likelihood of saving property without needing to replace it.

For more expert tips and information about our cleaning services, visit our website or like us on Facebook. We provide emergency service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year. Call us at 904-246-6118.

What's Your Fire Escape Plan?

6/17/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage can happen quickly. Do you and your family have a plan?

Every second counts, in a moment a small flame can turn into a major fire. A survey conducted by the American Red Cross shows only 26% of families have actually developed a fire escape plan. The following are a few suggestions to help develop an emergency escape plan for your family:

-Draw a map of each level of your home and show all doors and windows. Find two ways to get out of each room.

-Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas on the second and third floors. Only purchase collapsible escape ladders evaluated by an approved testing authority. 

-Choose a safe outside meeting place.

-Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can't help them.

-Have a plan for those with a disability.

-Practice your fire escape plan at night and during the daytime.

Home Fire Prevention Tips

6/1/2019 (Permalink)

An Oceanfront home in Ponte Vedra Beach, suffered fire and soot damage throughout due to a lightening strike.

According to U.S. News, “Each year, roughly 3,400 people are killed in home fires or burn injuries, making them the third-most-common cause of accidental deaths at home”. They have provided five tips that can help to prevent home fires.

Fire Threat: Cooking

· Stand by your pan! Don’t walk away while the stove or cooktop is on. This can lead to a fire very quickly.

Fire Threat: Heating

· A space heater needs 3 feet of clear space all around it in all directions, keeping it away from draperies, furniture, bedspreads, people, and pets .

· Chimneys should be inspected and cleaned before each heating season begins.

Fire Threat: Smoking

· Take it outside. There are usually less combustible items outside than there are inside.

Fire Threat: Electrical

· Check all of your electrical cords to ensure that they are in good shape, and  replace any that are worn out. In addition, make sure you are not overloading circuits and that one receptacle has one plug.

Fire Threat: Candles

· Consider going to battery-operated candles. They are fake but they are so much safer! It’s easy to forget to put out a candle when leaving a room.

Reference: Mullins (U.S. News) Top 5 Tips to Prevent House Fires. Fire Prevention Article

Smoke Alarms Save Lives

6/20/2018 (Permalink)

Check Out the American Red Cross for Home Fire Safety Tips.

Smoke Alarms can save lives when properly installed and maintained, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

In homes, smoke alarms should be in every bedroom and on every level, including the basement. In office and commercial spaces, check your state requirements or contact the local Fire Marshall to help ensure all codes are met.

Test Smoke Alarms monthly using the test button. Smoke alarms without batteries that are wired into the home, need to be replaced every ten years, regardless of if they seem to still be working. Other types of alarms need their batteries replaced once a year, and the unit itself replaced every ten years. If the alarm chirps "low battery", take the proper steps to replace the unit or batteries immediately. Don't put it off, you may forget.

In larger commercial facilities, hard wired or wireless smoke detectors offer benefits like, not needing to be tested as often, and activating in the entire building, even if the smoke is in just one area.

If you need help installing a smoke detector or alarm contact your local fire department, a licensed electrician, or the American Red Cross.

10 Key Fire Safety Tips

4/14/2018 (Permalink)

Though some fires are unavoidable acts of nature or unpredictable accidents, many fires are avoidable. The following tips can help reduce the likelyhood of fire:

1. Watch your cooking. Stay in the kitchen if you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. 

2. Give space heaters space. Keep space heaters at least three feet from anything that is flammable.

3. Smoke outside. Never smoke in bed.

4. Keep matches and lighters out of reach, preferably under child lock.

5. Inspect electrical cords. Replace cords that are cracked, damaged, have broken plugs, or have loose connections.

6. Be careful when using candles. Keep candles at least one foot from everything else. Blow them out before you leave the room or go to sleep.

7. Have a fire escape plan.

8. Install smoke alarms.

9. Test smoke alarms.

10. Install sprinklers. Sprinklers can help maintain and sometimes even extinguish fires, giving your local fire department a better chance for saving your property.

Emergency Fire Damage Tips

4/12/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Mandarin Works to Clean Out an Apartment Complex that had a Fire in Baymeadows.

Below are some practical Do's and Dont's for dealing with fire damage:

Do:

-Limit Movement in your home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into your carpet and avoid tracking.

-Keep your hands clean. Soot on hands can soil upholstery.

-If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor.

-Wipe soot from metal kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim, and appliances.

-If heat is off during winter, pour RV anti-freeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks, and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures.

-Remove soot particles from plants with a damp cloth.

-Change AC filter, but leave system off until a trained and licensed HVAC contractor can take a look.

-Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.

Dont's:

-Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting your SERVPRO Franchise Professional. 

-Don't attempt to shampoo carpet, rugs, or upholstered furniture without first consulting your SERVPRO Franchise Professional.

-Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances (TVs, Radios, etc.) that may have been close to fire and exposed to heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.

-Don't consume any food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat, or water. (They may be contaiminated.)

Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock, and air movement from ceiling fans may create secondary damage.

Don't send garments to the dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set in odor and stains.