Recent Fire Damage Posts

Keep the Heat On by Preventing a Puffback

12/29/2019 (Permalink)

Soot webs on ceiling. Puff back Puffback damage in Hygiene, CO

Keep the Heat On by Preventing a Puffback

When cold weather arrives, heating appliances are often taken for granted—until they fail. Oil-fired water heaters, furnaces and heating boilers need more attention than gas and electric. So, regular maintenance is key to limiting risks such as furnace puffback. A puffback occurs when unburned oil pools at the bottom of a heating appliance’s combustion chamber, ignites and then explodes. At a minimum, the area around the appliance will be a sooty mess. Puffback damage can, however, take a major toll on the equipment as well as the building and other contents. Lower your risk of a puffback by taking these proactive steps:

1. Get a Yearly Inspection and Servicing

Have your heating system inspected and serviced yearly. Problems can be solved early on or avoided completely if caught before they have a chance to develop. The servicing of an oil furnace will include opening the appliance for a thorough inspection, cleaning and making any needed repairs.

2. Be Aware of Leaks and Soot

Regularly check around the area of the furnace and the boiler for oil leaks and soot. Oil leaks can be at the oil burner or on the oil piping system. If puffback damage has occurred, you’ll likely see soot and debris in the area, maybe even on the walls and ceiling. Moreover, it can be dispersed throughout the building if it’s in the air ducts.

3. Be Aware of Sounds and Odors

Be aware of noises or odors that might be associated with these appliances. If it’s malfunctioning, your oil burner might start with a small puff or banging sound. It might even rumble. Smoke or oil smells are another sign that something’s not quite right.

4. Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors

In the event of a puffback, carbon monoxide levels in the building will increase. A detector will give you an early warning of something that otherwise might go unrecognized until it's too late.
Regular maintenance is imperative for the health of your heating equipment and your property overall. If puffback damage occurs at your building in Hygiene, CO, you can rely on restoration professionals to return it to its previous state.

How To Make a Home Fire Escape Plan

11/24/2019 (Permalink)

Emergency exit, escape route sign Be sure that you have a fire escape place and practice it often

How To Develop a Good Fire Safety Plan

One of the best things you can do to protect yourself and your family from a fire is to have a fire escape plan. If your home sustains damage in Berthoud, CO, a fire restoration company can help get things back to normal, but your priority should be to get everyone out as quickly as possible. Planning in advance can help everyone know where exits are, how to safely use them, what to do while inside, and how to find each other outside. Following some basic guidelines will help you develop a good fire safety plan.

Plan an Escape Route

When smoke alarms go off, they should be responded to as if a fire is in the residence since the fire could be located in another part of the house. The first reaction should be to get out of the building. Knowing where the exits are ahead of time and practicing using them will allow everyone to navigate the fire escape route faster. There are some things you can do to make exit routes more accessible:

  • Ensure pathways, doors, and windows are clear
  • Check that windows and doors open properly
  • If there are bars on the windows, install a safety release on the inside of the window
  • Have a ladder nearby to escape from second-story windows
  • Practice using different escape routes
  • Have a predetermined meeting place

People can easily panic during a home fire and not know what to do. For this reason, it is important to have drills and practice using the routes.

Follow Safety Guidelines Inside

If you are unable to get outside, you can stay close to the ground, close doors, block air from coming in around doors and vents, and open windows. This will prolong the time before the smoke enters your area. Shining a flashlight or waving a light-colored cloth out the window will help the fire department find you.
Developing and using a fire escape plan can help can you stay safe until help arrives. Smoke alarms and fire preparation can help minimize the impact of a fire.

Why Arson and Unoccupied Fire Claims Are Denied

10/10/2019 (Permalink)

Home destroyed by fire with caved on roof Home unoccupied in Niwot, CO damaged by fire

A home fire is a devastating event. The loss of personal belongings, possibly a lifetime of memories, going up in flames is irreplaceable. If the fire was caused by arson or happens when your home in Niwot, CO, is unoccupied, there is a chance your claim will be denied, making it impossible to replace the things that are replaceable.

What Does It Cover?

A home is an investment, which is why you have home owner’s insurance. In most policies, fire damage is covered if it is accidentally caused by lightning, smoke or vandalism. They typically cover:

Dwellings – The home and attached structures, such as a garage, shed and fences.
Personal property – Claims can be made to help cover replacement costs for appliances, furniture and clothing.

What Won’t It Cover?

If a home fire breaks out and is not accidental or the home is vacant, regular insurance may not accept the claim. Arson is an illegal act of insurance fraud in which a homeowner purposely sets a home on fire and will be instantly denied. A vacant home fire can be a little trickier, but many policies will not provide coverage if a home has been vacant more than 30 days.

Is There Coverage Available for an Unoccupied Home?

Typically, an unoccupied home is one ready to be used, is furnished and has utilities. A vacant home has no occupants or belongings. In either case, there could be a number of reasons no one is residing in it. For most people, this isn’t an issue. For the situations below, getting extra standalone fire coverage may be needed.

Vacation homes only used occasionally.
People in the middle of a move or renovation that may take longer than a month.
People who travel for extended periods of time.
If a property is rental and has no current tenants.

While everyone hopes a home fire won’t happen, having a little extra protection is worth it to protect your investment. If one does happen, count on a professional to help you navigate the restoration.

Safely Snuffing Out a Grease Fire: What You Need To Know

7/18/2019 (Permalink)

A grease fire can get out of control fast, which is why it is imperative that you know what to do to snuff it out as quickly and safely as possible.

Of the more than 160,000 house fires caused by cooking each year, 66% begin with the ignition of food or other cooking materials. More often than not, the culprit is grease. 

Of course, if you can prevent a cooking fire from occurring, you'll be better off. Some tips for preventing grease fires include the following:

• Stay in the kitchen while the stovetop is in use.
• Keep flammable materials away from the stovetop.
• Before placing foods in hot oil, remove as much moisture as possible.
• Keep the grease at the recommended temperature, and heat it slowly.
• Keep a lid near the grease-filled pot, just in case a fire does break out.

If you cannot prevent a cooking fire, it's important that you know how to respond to one.

How To React When a Grease Fire Breaks Out

If you respond quickly enough, you may be able to extinguish the fire yourself. Some things you can do to combat a fire caused by grease include the following:

• Cover the flames with a cookie sheet or metal lid and leave the pot covered until it has cooled.
• Turn off the source of the heat.
• For smaller fires, pour salt or baking soda on the flames.
• If necessary, spray the flames with a dry chemical fire extinguisher.

Whatever you do, DO NOT try to put out the fire with water. Also, do not attempt to remove the pot from the stove. Also, just because a substance looks like baking soda does not mean it reacts like it. Avoid baking powder, flour and other cooking powders, as using them might make the flames worse.

Calling for Help

If you cannot extinguish the flames yourself, get out of your house as quickly as possible and call 911. You should also call your Longmont, CO fire cleanup crew to mitigate as much secondary damage as possible.