Recent Fire Damage Posts
Emergency Prep: Home Fire Safety Zones
House on fire in the background with silhouette of firefighter in the middle. With the text "Property Fire zones for Emergency Preparedness" and Logo
Oh, the horrors of a house fire. If you have been unfortunate enough to experience this firsthand before, then you know how devastating it can be. In Arizona, there have been 4 firefighter fatalities and 15 home fire fatalites in 2021 alone.
But what if there was something that could help prevent your home from catching on fire in the first place? Well, there is! In this blog post we will discuss 3 ignition zones around a property and how to prepare for a potential disaster. We'll also talk about some safety tips that may help keep your family safe during a time when they're most vulnerable.
What is the Home Ignition Zone
Following some groundbreaking experimental research on how houses ignite as a result of radiant heat, retired USDA Forest Service fire scientist Jack Cohen developed the idea of the home ignition zone in the late 1990s. The HIZ is made up of three areas.
The Immediate Zone is the home and the region 0-5 feet from the furthest connected exterior point of the house, which is deemed a non-combustible area. According to science, this is the most critical zone to act swiftly on since it is most susceptible to embers.
- Gutters and roofing that have been clogged with dead leaves, debris, and pine needles may catch fire. Replace any missing or loose shingles or roof tiles to prevent ember penetration.
- Install 1/8 inch metal mesh screening to reduce embers that may flow through vents in the eaves.
- To prevent embers, clean out the exterior attic vents and install 1/8-inch metal mesh screening.
- Repair or replace damaged or missing window screens, as well as any broken windows. Wire mesh should be used to screen or box in locations beneath patios and decks to prevent debris and combustible materials from accumulating.
- Remove any combustible material from the exterior of the wall – mulch, flammable plants, leaves and needles, firewood piles - anything that might burn. Anything stored beneath decks or porches should be removed.
The intermediate Zone is located 5-30 feet from the furthest exterior point of the home. Landscaping/hardscaping - utilizing meticulous landscaping or making gaps that might assist influence and control fire activity
- Large stationary propane tanks should be clear of vegetation.
- Add sections of wood chips or other fuel to the fire. You can also make a fire pit from bricks and metal sheeting on your own, which is an excellent way to entertain guests outdoors in the summer!
- Keep lawns and native grasses trimmed to about of four inches in height.
- Ladder fuels are vegetation under trees which allow fires to reach higher up areas of large trees. You should remove ladder fuels so a fires can't reach the tops of the trees. Trim trees up to 6 or 10 feet from the base; don't prune smaller trees over a third of the tree's overall height.
- Plant trees with enough spacing to have at least 18 feet between crowns. The distance should increase in relation to the percentage of slope.
- To minimize the risk of wind damage, trees should not be planted closer than ten feet from the building's edge.
- Trees and shrubs in this zone should be planted in small groups of three or four to break up the monotony of the vegetation across the field.
The Extended Zone is up to 200 feet from the property's structure, but generally targeted to 30-100 feet from the home. The aim isn't to eliminate fire; rather, it is to obstruct fire's route and keep flames small and on the ground. Landscaping - eliminating afire should be avoided, since this will only hinder efforts for flame control.
- Remove significant accumulations of ground litter/debris.
- Get rid of any dead plant or tree debris.
- Remove small conifers that have sprouted between mature trees.
- Remove any vegetation growing near storage sheds or other outbuildings within this zone.
- Trees should be placed at least 30 to 60 feet from the house, with a minimum distance of 12 feet between canopy tops.*
- There should be at least 6 feet between canopy tops for trees within 60 to 100 feet from the property structure.*
The distances listed for crown spacing are only guidelines based on NFPA 1144. However, due to slope, the species of trees involved, and other site-specific factors, the crown spacing required to reduce or prevent crown fire hazard might be far greater than that suggested by NFPA 1144.
If you need fire damage restoration for your property please give us a call - SERVPRO of North Central Mesa (480) 553-7103
If you are interested in information about preparing your Mesa, Arizona property for a fire, we can help as well. You can call us at the same number above and we will have someone from out community outreach team contact you to set up a free consultation for information.
The Basic Fire Damage Restoration Process
Fire Damage Restoration involves more than a new coat of paint.
After a fire occurs, you may want to sweep, paint, and move on with your life. In reality, recovering from fire and smoke damage properly is a much more involved process. SERVPRO of North Central Mesa technicians have been trained by the IICRC and have the most cutting edge tools to clean, repair, and restore your property after a fire. We will come in as soon as the dust settles and do a thorough inspection of the damage, giving you our professional assessment of what your property needs, from ozone deodorization to structural reconstruction. This may include any and/or all of the following processes.
- Clean all traces of soot or smoke on your floor, walls and surfaces. Most of which are not generally visible to the naked eye.
- Remove the unpleasant smoke odors lingering from smoke and fire damage
- Use cutting edge technology and equipment to repair all surfaces and protect your residential or commercial from further damage by remnants of smoke, soot and ash
- Orchestrate any necessary pack outs, content claim inventory and content restoration.We will work directly with your insurance company when possible on your behalf. There are some issues you will have to deal with directly with your insurance. But we can assist you in those issues through consultation.
- Repair your property back to pre-existing loss condition, including repainting or reconstructing any damaged areas.
Choosing the Right Fire Damage Repair Company
Fire damage restoration has three integral elements:
- clearing out the damaged and ruined materials
- Assessing the smoke and soot damage, and putting in place replacement
- Reinforcing repairs.
With over a decade of industry experience, the experts at SERVPRO of North Central Mesa have the ability to perform even the most complex fire restoration project. For this reason, homeowners and businesses in the Mesa Arizona area have put their trust in our skill and expertise.
Leaving a fire-damaged property for even an hour puts your property at risk for increased damage. You should get someone out to start working on the property as quickly as possible. Obviously, we would suggest that you call us. We may be a little biased though… But seriously, if you don’t call us for some reason, call someone you feel comfortable with quickly to reduce the amount of damage done to your residential or commercial property. The effects of a fire weaken the building’s structural materials, and can lead to an eventual structural collapse.
Additionally, the soot and smoke that infiltrates the walls and floors can pose a significant health risk. After a fire occurs, the resulting smoke and soot remains suspended in the air in the form of particles that are generally invisible to the naked eye. This presents an odor issue and a respiratory hazard. These soot particles, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) even have the potential to cause cancer with prolonged inhalation or exposure. Because of this, we deploy specialized, top-of-the-line equipment to mitigate and remove these hazards so your property is fit for living or working in again.
What to do if you get caught in a house fire
2 story house on fire.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET CAUGHT IN A HOUSE FIRE
In the Mesa area the holidays generally see an increase in house fires. Most people would assume that the increase in fires is due to Christmas Trees and Candles catching on fire. While that may be true in other areas, statistics here indicated that the number 1 cause of house fires during the holidays is distracted cooking gone wrong. When a fire breaks out and you are awake people are generally able to react quickly to either get out of the house or stop the fire before it becomes a problem. But what happens when a fire breaks out and you are asleep? The majority of fire deaths occur when fires start when people are sleeping.
Here's the scenario, it's the middle of the night, the fire alarm starts going off. You're startled awake and you notice a slight presence of smoke in the room. What do you do? Well, how slight is slight? If it's slight enough you might try to, get some things. Like some jeans or your comic book collection or something. No, It's imperative not to waste any time, a fire can go from small to huge in a matter of minutes.
40 years ago you had 17 minutes from the time the fire alarm went off to safely exit the house. Today, that amount of time is down to about three or four minutes. This is because modern furniture burns quicker because so many items are now made with synthetic materials.
FIND AN EXIT STRATEGY TO GET AWAY FROM THE FIRE
Get to the door. You feel if it's hot with the back of your hand. If it's not hot, you open it. If it’s hot, you don’t open it. Even if it is warm you could run a serious risk by opening it.
Alright, so what are you supposed to do if you can't exit? If you're unable to exit, your best option may be to stay put, stay right where you are. Smoke, in this case, is one of your biggest threats. Fire and smoke in a room diminish oxygen. Under normal conditions the percent of oxygen in the air is roughly 21%. Even when this percentage is just slightly lowered to 16% physical and mental ability become significantly impaired. When available oxygen is estimated to be at about 6 to 7%, death can occur within minutes. But fire won't burn with that low of an oxygen concentration. So at least you won't burn to death. So, just to reiterate, don’t go running through the fire like you see in the movies!
If you are stuck in a room, here are your next steps. You will want to prepare this ahead of time, so hopefully you aren’t reading this while the fire is in the next room. That could be bad.
- First notify responders
- Next focus on sealing out the smoke.
You will want to have foil, duct tape, and a wet towel. If you aren’t able to use a wet towel, use a dry one. Lay the towel against the bottom crevice of the door. Use the foil and tape to cover the air vents and cracks. And you can hold a damp cloth against your face to help filter smoke. -
WHAT TO DO IF THE FIRE ENTERS THE ROOM YOU ARE IN
Alright so now the fire is in the room, we can feel the heat, we have nowhere else to go. What are you supposed to do? - Well, in dire situations, a window may also serve as an exit. If the window is stuck and you feel compelled to break the window, please be mindful, this is incredibly dangerous. It may sound like fun, but it’s very dangerous. This type of scene may seem movie-like and exciting, but it's actually your last resort. Ideally you want to aim to take preemptive measures so a situation like this does not occur in the first place.
So if you’re at this point you're in serious trouble. There have been situations where someone panicked, broke the window, cut his wrist, and actually bled out by the time they were found. There are a few safety measures to keep in mind. First, find a cloth and wrap your hands. Second, find a blunt object to break the window with. Break the window and safely clear the window frame of glass before exiting the room through the window.
After you have escaped the house, if you have exited through a first floor window, you will want to get away from the house to safety. If you are exiting through the second story get off of the roof as quickly and safely as possible. Again, hopefully you are reading this before an emergency happens and you can prepare ahead of time by getting a ladder that can be hooked to the window similar to the First Alert Store Steel Fire Escape Ladder. After you have gotten safely away from the house fire, call first responders at 9-1-1 as soon as possible if you haven’t already.
WHAT TO DO AFTER THE SMOKE SETTLES
After the first responders have put the fire out, the next stage begins. Dealing with your insurance, restoration companies, and the hotel stays. I remember when I was younger and our house caught on fire that the hotel stay for a month was like a vacation. I loved it. When talking with my parents about the experience, they had less than fond memories. More often than not, you will also have independent adjusters knocking on your door trying to “get you what you deserve from your insurance company.” We will be doing a separate blog post about the positives and negatives of using private adjusters in another blog post. We will add the link here when it is live. But, before you sign anything, talk with your insurance adjuster and at least 2 other restoration companies. (We would prefer that we were one of them!)
The recovery will be a very stressful ordeal and you want to make sure you are working with someone you feel comfortable with. SERVPRO of North Central Mesa’s emergency line is available 24 hours a day and is answered by someone who actually works from the local office here in Mesa, AZ. Feel free to give us a call any time so we can answer any questions you have before a fire happens, or afterwards.
Hoverboard Causes Fire Damage in Mesa AZ Home
Hoverboard on Fire
Hoverboards cause Fire Damage in Mesa AZ Home
Just earlier this year, we got a call to a house in Mesa where a house fire had consumed everything in the garage but was luckily stopped before entering the home. Originally, it was thought that the fire was caused by faulty wiring in the solar panel setup. With more investigation it was found that a hoverboard in the garage actually started the fire. If the family in the house and first responders hadn’t acted quickly the whole house would have been a loss. Last year we responded to an apartment fire (also in Mesa AZ) where a similar type motorized scooter started a fire.
They certainly look like a lot of fun, but hoverboards carry a hidden danger and it's made headlines in recent years. In 2016 hoverboards were to blame for two fires in the Nashville area. One fire nearly killed two children.The family has been urging anyone who has a hoverboard to be very careful since their house fire. January 6th of 2019 was supposed to be a normal day for the Fox family. They were getting lunch when they got the text messages that flames and smoke were ripping through their home. When they got home, they kicked in the doors, and Brian Fox thought he was going to lose two of my four children today.He said, “it was just so painful.”
Two of their older children were trapped with no option but to jump out of a second-story window into the hands of their father. Mr Fox stated, “I was just begging her, yelling at her, Please jump baby, please jump.” The family is all safe, but they urge parents of children who own the hoverboards to be careful because of the destruction it caused to their lives.
Nashville firefighters say this melted hoverboard is to blame for the blaze. The Foxes say it was a Christmas present for their son, a present that destroyed almost everything. The parents say they did their research and even talked to friends before buying the toy, but now the family is figuring out how to move on in how to rebuild. Ironically, a family friend of the Foxes also had their hoverboard catch fire. Thankfully, this one was just a small fire. The Nashville State Fire Marshal has warning families not to leave a hoverboard unattended while it's, charging
There has been enough of an issue with hoverboards starting fires that the United States Product safety commission has a page on their website dedicated to Hoverboard safety issues. You can find that information here: US CPSC Hoverboard Safety.
Here are the 4 most important safety tips they outline for hoverboard safety:
- Check for recalls. Go to: www.CPSC.gov to see if the hoverboard has been recalled. Stop using a recalled hoverboard immediately and contact the manufacturer for the remedy.
- Only charge a hoverboard when you are there to watch it.
- Have working smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside sleeping areas and inside each bedroom.
- Report incidents involving hoverboards overheating, smoking, or starting fires to CPSC at: www.Saferproducts.gov.
2020 Holiday Fire Safety Tips for Mesa AZ Residents
Christmas Tree on Fire
2020 Holiday Fire Safety Information
The holiday season is coming up and it is important to remember a few things during the Holiday season to help prevent a house fire here in Mesa AZ. It’s my favorite time of the year, but unfortunately it's the time a year when fires go up. That's right. Especially accidental fires. So we're gonna talk about a few things here to help keep you and your family safe.
So let's start with candles. The candle market has exploded the past 10 years. Everyone uses them. Decoratively, to scent their houses, or as gifts. Everybody loves candles. But we have to use them safely. So here's a quick tip for candles, especially during the holiday time of year. If you don't use them a lot. You want to put something down like tin foil, something non-combustible. What does that mean? It means it's not going to burn. OK, we want to catch the wax but we also put a layer between the candle and something that's going to burn.
So if we do something simple like that, we can put our candles out in a tray or something, on top of our tin foil. Then you can dress them up.
Here are some things you want to keep in mind when using candles during the holidays:
- The one thing we don't want to do is we don't want to put our candles near drapery.
- We don't want to put them near the curtains or other furnishings.
- We want to have what's called a three foot ring of safety around our lit candles all the time. Always keep three feet between the candle and anything flammable.
During Christmas time most people in the Mesa AZ area like to put up a Christmas tree. We're all very proud of our tree. It's a great family tradition. We love to decorate it. We love to display it, but there's a few things we need to know.
- First of all where we put the tree. We don't want to put the tree anywhere where it's going to block our path to get out in case of an emergency.
- The second thing is, we don't want to have our tree near anything that gets hot. So we don't want to put it in the front window for the neighbors to see, if that's where the radiator is. We don't wanna put it next to the fireplace, although that makes a great picture for our Christmas card, that's not the best place to put the tree either. We don't want to have this tree dry out.
- A dry Christmas tree will burn in 30 seconds. It's devastating. They make turpentine out of pine trees. It's very flammable once it's dried out, think of that on fire.
- Keep them watered, for goodness sake.
- Talk to your tree. Communicate with your tree, OK? Come over every once in a while during the season. And check the tree needles. When these needles start falling off, you're getting in a dangerous situation.
Christmas lights. OK, we love our lights. Actually some of us hate our lights. Well... You hate them when they look like a mess and are all tangled up, right?! It's very important, before you put them back on the tree, or on our home, to go through them. You want to inspect them. You want to go through to make sure there are no exposed wires, no frayed wires, and no broken bulbs. These issues can cause a shock hazard and a fire hazard. So very carefully inspect the whole string. When we put them on, don't put more than three strings together. Don't cheat. Keep it down to three strings plugged in together.
You'll be OK. Also, you want to make sure you buy the lights at a reputable store. When it comes to electrical appliances, Christmas lights, anything like that, get them from a reputable place. And make sure that it has a marking that says UL on the back. It means they've been tested for the use that they're designed for. As long as you maintain them they'll be safe forever. Buy the good Christmas lights and maintain them.
If you have questions about a potential fire safety issue, feel free to reach out to one of our fire safety experts here at SERVPRO of North Central Mesa at (480) 553-7103. If you are on a mobile device and want to send a message, send us a message through our Google my Business listing at g.page/SERVPROofnorthcentralmesa. Of course, if there is a fire, call 911 and then give us a call. We can be there on the tails of the first responders ready to support you.
Smoke and Fire Odor Removal in Mesa Arizona
Smoke and Fire Odor Removal Services in Mesa Arizona
Eliminate Smoke Odors With SERVPRO’s Unique Deodorization Approach.
Smoke and burning odors are often among the most noticeable post-fire obstacles present in Mesa AZ homes and businesses. Failure to adequately address and eliminate these odors can have homeowners dealing with recurring issues whenever temperature shifts cause drywall and other porous materials to become temporarily more permeable. Using Thermal fogging equipment is often the best solution to address these concerns.
Fire damage in Mesa AZ to residential and commercial properties has been at a higher risk the past couple of years because the summer monsoon seasons have had record lows in terms of rainfall which usually keep temperatures down. You are probably aware that we broke a heatwave record with 50 days over 110 degrees this summer. This has caused the potential for fires to significantly increase. Now, add to that the fact that we have spent so much more time at home this year because of COVID19 and people are doing dumb things because they are bored (You should hear some of the situations we come across.). It’s been a good year for fire restoration companies, not so good for business and homeowners. (Unless you were already looking for a remodel…) Addressing odors is often one of the final steps to restoration and recovery due to a fire damage to a residential or commercial property. While hydroxyl generators and ozone machines have their place in odor removal and neutralization, thermal foggers are often most heavily used for several reasons:
- More Coverage – Thermal Foggers create a mist or vapor of a potent deodorization product. Because of that, we can utilize a single machine to address a large sized area. The fog created can spread out from the handheld device and neutralize harsh odor molecules on contact.
- Highly Mobile – Even though thermal foggers are great for large areas, they are lightweight tools, are handheld, and versatile in smaller spaces as well. They can quickly sweep over the entire house.
- Addresses Embedded Odors – By creating a vapor from our unique deodorizing compound, high permeance materials like drywall and ceiling tiles can be accessible to the gaseous product to eliminate trapped odors in structural elements.
Are you Worried about your Odor-Damaged Contents?
Your personal belongings can also hold on to harsh odors from smoke and fire. It is usually more desirable to restore these items on-site. However, we must often relocate them temporarily to our SERVPRO facility and run them through our ozone chamber to deodorize multiple contents simultaneously.
No matter how widespread and concentrated odor concerns might be after a fire, thermal fogging can often address the majority of these concerns. Let our SERVPRO of North Central Mesa team help you make fire losses, "Like it never even happened." Call us today at (480) 553-7103.
Exhaust Vents Are Household Fire Hazards
Dirty bathroom and laundry room ceiling vents can be a huge fire hazard.
Bathroom and Laundry Room Vents - Hidden Household Fire Hazards
There are a lot of things that new homeowners are not taught when buying a new home. Most of those issues have to deal with routine maintenance of the home. Recently, we have had a few fire restoration jobs from Mesa Arizona that came in relatively close together where the cause of the fire was the bathroom/laundry room vents. Not something you hear about every day. Personally, we bought our house around 10 years ago and we haven’t ever really thought about cleaning the vents in our bathrooms or laundry room. We did put up some wire mesh around them though to prevent scorpions from getting through. But, never thought about cleaning them out. Until I started working with SERVPRO that is. There are a lot of things we do differently now.
Most people are not aware that dirty air ducts can be a fire hazard. Also, a lot of people don’t know that an insurance claim for a fire started by maintenance neglect will generally not be covered. So, this is important! Dust, lint, and other materials could serve as an ignition if the fan gets too hot. Here in Arizona, especially during the summer, that can be a huge hazard.
Cleaning your air vents out is not really hard to do. It does take some time and dust can get everywhere. So you will want to wear some eye protection and should wear a mask. Of course, most people are wearing masks everywhere nowadays anyway. So a mask should be easy to find laying around. Below we will discuss the steps to cleaning your air vent and some of the tools you will want to have on hand.
- Put on protective gear such as eye protection and a mask. Dust and dirt will be stirred up during the process and you really don’t want that getting into your eyes or airways. Wearing gloves might be a good idea as well, though not really necessary.
- Take the vent cover off of the vent. This can seem a little tricky. Sometimes, if the vent was placed prior to any painting that has been done on the ceiling, there could be a slight bond there at the edges. Usually slightly shifting the vent cover back and forth will break that. Sometimes using a flathead screwdriver to slightly move it will also work.
- When you are pulling the vent cover down, do it gently as there are spring clamps holding the vent cover in place. If you bring the cover down a little you will see them. Squeeze the sides of the clamp together to release them and then remove the vent cover. You might want to look up a youtube video showing that done. It sounds easy, but it makes more sense when you have actually seen it done.
- Next you will want to find the power plug and pull it out so it doesn’t accidentally turn on somehow while you are in the process of cleaning or removing the vent. Trust me, that could cause all kinds of issues.
- Now you have a decision to make. It really depends on how clean you want to get your vent. You could clean it in place or remove it to clean it more thoroughly. If you choose to clean it in place you will want to use a vacuum cleaner hose attachment, a rag, q tips, and cleaning solution. Obviously, if you take the vent out you will have better access to clean the nooks and crannies. I would suggest cleaning your vents by removing the whole vent. But cleaning it out without removing it is better than not doing it at all, and you don’t have to worry about having fun putting the vent back up into place.
You should consider cleaning your vents around ever 6 months or at least once a year. Sometimes people are under the impression that if they have someone come out to clean their air ducts, that is covered as well. While it is a good idea to have your air ducts cleaned, they do not clean your vents at the same time.
Doing these kinds of routine household maintenance chores may seem like a pain to deal with. However, they could really pay off in the long run if it helps you avoid a fire in your home.
Are you prepared in case of a home fire?
American Red Cross and the volunteers are here to help, along with the team that is "faster to any size disaster." SERVPRO of North Central Mesa.
In case of a fire, are you ready?
Everyone needs to be prepared, no matter how old or young you are. Being prepared can save your life.
In October of 2018, the American Red Cross hosted a Fire alarm install walk. We walked with friends and family to install Fire alarms for the community.
At the start of a fire, the American Red Cross suggests the following steps of action:
- Remember to GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL 9-1-1 or your local emergency phone number.
- Yell "Fire!" several times and go outside right away. If you live in a building with elevators, use the stairs. Leave all your things where they are and save yourself.
- If closed doors or handles are warm or smoke blocks your primary escape route, use your second way out. Never open doors that are warm to the touch.
- If you must escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your exit — close doors behind you.
- If smoke, heat, or flames block your exit routes, stay in the room with doors closed. Place a wet towel under the door and call the fire department or 9-1-1. Open a window and wave a brightly colored cloth or flashlight to signal for help.
- Once you are outside, go to your meeting place and then send one person to call the fire department. If you cannot get to your meeting place, follow your family emergency communication plan.
Luckily you have local SERVPRO franchises in your area. We come to you to help whenever you find yourself in a disaster. Things can go MUCH smoother if you are prepared and act fast when a disaster strikes.
After calling emergency response (911 & the Fire Department) have been called. Call us as soon as possible 24 hours a day/7days a week at (480) 553-7103, and we will have someone on the scene within 4 hours. With a quick reaction time, it will give the 1st responders a chance to do their job and still allows for a quick assessment of the situation to best help with your specific situation.
Preparing ahead of time is always the best bet. Using the Emergency Ready Plan App developed by SERVPRO in partnership with the American Red Cross is a great way to be prepared. It is a free app available on all mobile devices. If you have any questions about setting it up, please feel free to give us a call at (480) 553-7103.
Up until 2018, SERVPRO was a Partner with the Red Cross. SERVPRO of North Central Mesa is still working with the local American Red Cross and have active volunteers on staff who volunteer over 250 hours a month. Have you ever thought of being a Volunteer for any organization? How about helping a global non-profit organization? Check out your local American Red Cross to see how you can help!
The Red Cross has locations all over the world, but they are not in every single city. They are 100's of cities in every state, and every country has a lot of rules. So, you could imagine how much help they could use from around the world. Anything and everything could be helpful at this point for the American Red Cross. From blood, money, even just some of your time on the weekends.
There are all different kinds of disasters, depending on where you live, you’ll an increased chance of having more accidents. Just like the state like Arizona, where we don’t have an ocean boarding our state, there are still chances of the flood, and other natural disasters. In tropical areas, like how Arizona is, it’s essential to be ready for anything. Having water on hand is KEY to staying hydrated and staying alive in disaster scenarios.
If you would like to donate any bottled water, you can contact us at (480) 553-7103, and we’ll take care of it for you, your friends, and family.
Arson fire in Mesa Arizona
SERVPRO arriving on scene getting a photo of the front of the property.
In December of 2017, a homeowner here in Arizona had her shower interrupted by furious knocks on her front door. As she rushed to the door, she was greeted by her neighbor. They then informed her that her house was on fire!
Because of an ongoing investigation, specific details of the incident won’t be reviewed here. But what can be said is that the fire was indeed arson. Had the neighbors not notified the homeowner that the house was on fire, there is a good chance that she wouldn’t have made it out of the house alive. Home fires are a severe threat, and having an escape plan is a necessity.
SERVPRO walked through the house (5 months after the fire) to try to assess what needs to be done to restore the property to preloss conditions. We were confronted with the remnants of a family room, dining room, and kids’ room where the family spent time together. Around the hall was a bedroom where children slept whose beds and toys were still in a place covered by insulation and ash.
The kitchen where families eat a meal together was recognizable, but far from usable and food sat still in the fridge which had been there since the day of the fire. These types of events put people’s lives on hold and leave lasting damaging emotional and mental damage that sometimes never go away. Acts of a selfish person thinking that this was the appropriate response to their feelings of anger.
Here at SERVPRO of North Central Mesa, we see some of the best and worst in our society. From Crime scene clean up where we are cleaning up after blood and feces, to large arson fires like this one. We are grateful some neighbors rushed to help their neighbor. What to do when this, of that, happens. In our line of business, we deal with a lot of sadness and difficult situations: Housefires, suicide clean-ups, houses flooded, lives disrupted, and lost. Then after the first event, the pain is revisited repeatedly by dealing with insurance policies, police reports, sometimes news reporters and repeatedly explaining what happened to other family and friends. It’s a delicate issue.
If you have or family who is dealing with a similar event, please keep us in mind. You can contact us at (480) 553-7103. We are here to help, and let your loved ones have their space until they can talk about what happened and be whatever they need at that moment. If you ever have the change, be the good neighbor who cares enough for your neighbors to act.
Top 3 Fire hazards during the summer.
Someone missing a roof after a Home fire. Don't get too caught up in the summer fun and leave things burning.
Top 3 fire hazardous equipment in Mesa Arizona’s
No one wants to have to deal with a house fire, especially when it hot enough outside during the summer months. Personally, my family has the unfortunate experience of a kitchen fire here in Arizona. Having a burnout and dealing with several house fires SERVPRO is here to help when you suffer a total loss from fire. SERVPRO of North Central Mesa has noticed a few things people should look at when trying to prevent the possibility of a house fire.
Some of the most common causes of house fires are:
- Cooking Equipment
- Heating Equipment.
Cooking equipment such as microwaves, cooking oil and turkey fryers (Or a slow cooker if you are a This is Us Fan) are the leading cause of house fires at 47%. They also cause 20% of home fire deaths and 45% of fire injuries. Always watch the food that is cooking and make sure that flammable items are kept away from heating elements. Also, avoid cooking while sleeping or intoxicated with alcohol or medication.
While smoking materials only account for 5% of house fires, it causes 21% of home fire deaths, which causes it to be the deadliest cause of house fires. Faulty lighters and cigar/cigarette butts that have not been extinguished are the leading culprits. Of course, the best way to avoid a fire from smoking materials is not to smoke. But if you do smoke, make sure lighters are put in areas where they are less likely to ignite (i.e.: extreme heat) and make sure all butts are extinguished after use. Also, with the rise of vaping, make sure batteries are removed from vaping devices while not in use.
Space heaters and uncleaned chimneys are the leading causes of house fires from heating sources. To avoid this, make sure that vents are cleaned out regularly (click here to find a chimney sweep near you in Mesa, AZ) and don't leave space heaters unattended. According to the National Fire Protection Association, from 2011-2015 fires from home heating sources caused about "$1.1 Billion in direct property damage."
*blog information from 2011-2015 statistics from the National Fire Prevention Association.
Apartment Fire Damage in Mesa, AZ. Are You Covered?
Fire damage to your property can be devastating! At the beginning of March an apartment complex had in Mesa, AZ buildings light up in flames and almost burnt down the whole side of the building. 10 of the 12 apartments in that building were affected and 7 had to be totally vacated by the renters. SERVPRO of North Central Mesa is the vendor the apartment complex uses for mitigating fire damage issues on their properties. This next week we will begin the demolition of those apartments which have to be torn down to studs. As costly as this will be to the Apartment complex to fix, it has been overwhelming for the renters who had to vacate their apartments. One of the main issues for the renters was having to leave property behind that in some cases are not salvageable. 3 of the apartments in question had 70 to 100% of the contents of the apartments damaged to the point of not being salvageable.
Generally apartment leases require renters to have liability insurance to cover damage to the structure of the apartments, but don’t necessarily require you to have coverage for your personal contents. However, in the leasing agreement, there is generally wording that absolves the apartment complex of liability if you don’t have coverage for your contents. 2 of the renters we are working with did not have their personal property covered in their insurance policy and are going to have to personally replace everything they lost. Now, they are still investigating the cause of the fire. If it is found to have been caused by the negligence of another renter, they can possibly go after the insurance policy of the renters at fault. But generally the apartment complex has first priority to claims per the rental agreement. The cost to restore the building will be well over $500K and will most likely exhaust the claim coverage.
So insurance policies are sometimes complicated to understand. But there are some basics PolicyGenius.com suggests for renters insurance.
- $25,000 personal property damage coverage: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing your belongings if they’re damaged or stolen.
- $300,000 personal liability coverage: Covers legal costs from damage or injury that occurs in your apartment.
- $2,000 medical payment coverage: Covers medical expenses for anyone injured in your apartment.
- $10,000 loss of use coverage: Covers the cost of lodging, food, and more if your apartment becomes unlivable due to damage.
They also suggest having a deductible of around $500. Yes, you can get your insurance cheaper with a higher deductible, but remember, if something happens you have to make sure you are able to cover that deductible.
Smoke Alarm Safety Mesa, AZ
May 4th is Wildfire Community Preparedness day! Wildfires have devastating effects on the local environment, but did you know that from 2012 to 2016 11,670 were injured and 2560 civilians died from house fires! Additionally $6.5 billion in damage was caused by the same house fires.
Smoke alarms save lives. Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out.
Smoke Alarm Facts and Stats
- In 2009-2013, smoke alarms sounded in over half (53%) of the house fires reported to U.S. fire departments.
- Three of every five house fire deaths resulted from fires in homes without smoke alarms (38%) or non-working smoke alarms (21%).
- The death rate for every 100 reported home fires was over twice as high in homes that didn’t have any working smoke alarms compared with the rate in homes with working smoke alarms (1.18 deaths vs. 0.53 deaths for every 100 fires).
- In fires in which the smoke alarms were there but did not operate, almost 50% of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries.
- Dead batteries caused just under 25% of the smoke alarm failures.
Smoke Alarm Safety Tips
- A closed door could slow the spread of smoke, heat & fire. You should install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside every separate sleeping area. Install alarms on each level of the home.
- Smoke alarms should be interconnected. So, when one sounds, they will all sound.
- Large homes might need additional smoke alarms.
- Homeowners should test smoke alarms at least once a month. Make sure the alarm is working by pressing the test button.
- There are two kinds of alarms. Ionization smoke alarms react more quickly to flaming fires. Photoelectric alarms respond more quickly to smoldering fires. A best practice is to use both types of alarms in the home.
- When your smoke alarm(s) sound, go outside and stay outside.
- Practice escape routes from your home with your family or roommates.
- Replace every smoke alarm in your home every 10 years.
- Smoke alarms are inexpensive and are worth the lives they help save.
- Smoke alarms with dead or missing batteries are the same as having no smokes alarm at all. Smoke alarms only work when they are properly installed and regularly tested. Take care of your smoke alarms according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Create a Fire Escape Plan for Your Home!
House fires created over $264 Million in direct property damage from 2012 to 2016. As bad as that is, property damage can be restored or replaced. In the same amount of time, an average of 80 deaths was caused annually by those fires. A life cannot be replaced. The best way to prevent a death from a house fire is to have a plan. When a fire does take place in your home, saving a few seconds of reaction time could make a big difference in helping to get your family or friends out of danger quickly and safely.
Here are some tips you can use to create an effective fire evacuation plan!
- Plan for everyone. Account for the special needs of everyone in your household, especially young children and elderly household members who may not be as mobile. Children don’t always wake up when a smoke alarm sounds. Make sure someone is assigned as an escape buddy for small children, then choose a backup person in case the assigned person is not present at the time of the fire.
- Identify two ways out of the structure. This could include windows and doors. Make sure each escape route open easily so everyone can get outside. and install emergency release mechanisms on all security bars on doors or windows.
- Involve the children in planning. Have your children help create the fire evacuation plan. Draw a map of the home, then have the children mark two exit routes and the locations of smoke detectors.
- Choose a meeting spot outside of the structure. Decide on a meeting place outside. It can be a neighbor’s house, mailbox or stop sign. It should be in front of the house so first responders are able to see you when they arrive. Make sure everyone knows not to go back into the house after you leave.
- Check smoke alarms. Check that smoke detectors are properly placed and working. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends installing one in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping room and on each level of the home.
- Be visible. Make sure that your house number can be seen quickly from the street by first responders. You can put house numbers above the garage door, on a pillar next to the front door, or on the street curb directly in front of your house, for example.
- Respond immediately. Make sure everyone knows that if the smoke alarm sounds, they need to get out as quickly as possible.
- Always have a backup plan. If the planned exit routes are blocked by fire or fallen debris and it’s not possible to leave the house, close all doors between you and the fire. Place a towel, pillow, or something similar under the door and go to an exterior-facing window. Call the fire department to report your location.
- Share with everyone. Make sure the escape plan is readily accessible to guests as well. Go over the plan with everyone who lives in the house along with guests and overnight visitors.
- Practice your escape plan regularly. Practice and review the plan at least once per year.
With a well-thought-out plan in place, you can be one step ahead of the unexpected. You may not have the time or ability to think things through.
Document Restoration From a Fire in Mesa AZ
game cards being air-dried as a result of a water damage issue.
SERVPRO of North Central Mesa can preserve most documents damaged by fire and water losses.
Monsoon season is in full swing in Arizona. It might have snuck up on you with everyone’s attention being focused on a certain pandemic wreaking havoc on people’s health and the economy. Generally, the start of the monsoon season brings an end to the end of the fire season in Arizona for obvious reasons. Though, lightning does pose an occasional threat to start a fire here and there. However, if we have another dry monsoon season like we had last year, the dryness and the heat may pose an incredible risk of extending the fire season. Like we need something else to worry about this year… right?!
We have actually been unusually busy working on fire jobs this year. If that trend continues, it could mean great news for us, but not so much for our potential future clients. Though we do love working fire jobs, it’s not too fantastic for those who are displaced as a result of a fire loss.
Water Damage From Fire Losses
One often overlooked effect of fires is the water loss that comes with it. That may sound odd, but when the fire department is working on putting a fire out tons of gallons of water is used to extinguish a fire. For large fires up to 20,000 gallons of water could be used to put out a fire. That’s a lot of water, and potentially a lot of water damage. Hopefully, you will be lucky and not have any important paperwork damaged by that water, assuming the fire didn’t get to it.
Document Restoration Services
Most people do not know that SERVPRO has one of the most advanced document drying processes and facilities in the United States. This can be useful in restoring damaged personal paperwork, or in the case of a recent job we had with an architectural firm in Mesa Arizona, years of paper documents between customer/client files and architecture blueprints. In that case we sent a refrigerated truckload of files to our corporate headquarters for restoration.
When your valuable documents, including photographs, are damaged by water or fire, we take extreme caution to help ensure those smoke or water damaged documents have the best chance of being restored. We are not always able to save everything, but more often than not, our customers, and their adjusters, are surprised at what we are able to return back to them. Although some documents may not be restored to pre-fire damage conditions, SERVPRO of North Central Mesa Professionals can save a great deal and help minimize additional damage.
Depending on the type of documents and the level of fire, smoke, or soot damage, they have five options for the restoration of documents:
- Air Drying
- Freezer Drying
- Vacuum Freeze Drying
- Vacuum Thermal Drying
The Cards in this picture are being air-dried. They were taken from an apartment fire in Tempe, Arizona. While we weren’t able to save all of the cards, we were able to save the majority of the most valuable ones. After seeing some of the resale value of the cards they had, it makes me wish I had kept more of the Garbage Pail Kids and Star Wars trading cards I had when I was a kid.
A few cards short of a deck
These cards are laid out to be Air Dried.
When your valuable documents, including photographs, are damaged by water or fire, extreme caution should be taken to help ensure the fire damage does not destroy the document. Although some documents may not be restored to pre-fire damage condition, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can save a great deal and help minimize additional damage.
Depending on the type of documents and the level of fire, smoke, or soot damage, they have five options for the restoration of documents:
- Air Drying
- Freezer Drying
- Vacuum Freeze Drying
- Vacuum Thermal Drying
These Cards are being Air Dried in this picture. They were taken from an apartment fire in Tempe, Arizona. Once they get done drying, the home owner is going to be taking to get appraised to see what value is still in the cards after this house fire.
After: Warehouse Fire in Mesa
After the restoration.
Wow, what a difference!!!!!
Before: Warehouse Fire in Mesa
Before we started.
We just finished the cleanup of a fire loss in Mesa AZ. Lots of soot and ash!