It doesn’t take long for a fire to start, and once it does, the resulting damages can be sudden and substantial. The most common type of fire to occur in a home today, is a kitchen fire. This type of fire usually starts when a person begins cooking, often with oil in a heated pan. The cook gets distracted, perhaps by a phone call, and might even leave the room, with the pan of food still cooking in the oil on the stove. The oil overheats and catches fire, and the flames rise to the point of setting fire to the upper cabinets. The fire continues until someone, either the property owner, or the fire department puts the fire out. Sometimes, in a condominium or apartment with a sprinkler system, the sprinklers are set off, and a whole new level of damage occurs, as the water puts out the fire, but the damage from the water compounds the situation.
In a matter of a few minutes there can be damage to the kitchen cabinets, paint, flooring, stove, and there can be smoke and soot throughout the residence, with the lingering smoke being absorbed by all of the porous personal contents onsite, including the clothing and furniture.
The site of this situation would be upsetting and alarming for most people. It would be particularly upsetting if the owner did not have their property insured.
There is a remedy for this situation, and it begins with immediate action, starting with an emergency service call. This call should be to a professional restoration company, that would perform an initial evaluation of the property, and discuss with the owner the necessary action that would be required to mitigate further damage to the building and its contents. Some companies perform emergency services and smoke cleanup only, while a full service General Contractor, that specializes in water and fire losses, has the licensing and ability to handle a fire loss, like the one described above, from beginning to end.
When looking at a fire to determine the extent of the damage, one would look at the area where the fire began, and determine if the fire was contained to the area of the dwelling below the ceiling. If there were no penetrations in the ceiling drywall, there is a good chance that the ceilings will not have to be removed. If there is an area where the ceiling has been penetrated by the fire, the attic space will have to be addressed. This means that the ceiling insulation will probably require replacement, and the attic space treated for odor control. If the fire burned through the roofing plywood or trusses, there will be substantial repairs to be made to the structural part of the roof, as well a replacing the roofing material itself, whether it be shingles, tile or metal. Heat that is transmitted to the roofing materials can compromise those materials, even if there is not an actual hole in the roof.
Let’s look at the scenario where the fire did not penetrate into the attic space, but there is soot throughout the house. In this case, the dwelling will probably have to be cleaned from top to bottom, and throughout the home. Contents will need to be addressed, as they can seriously impacted by smoke and soot. Quick action is the best way to mitigate any further damage. If water used to put the fire out, proper drying should be done to prevent or minimize any mold growth issues or further water damage. Proper pre-cleaning of metal surfaces can prevent damage to metals, and the proper cleaning and ozone treatment of content items can eliminate smoke odors in porous furnishings and clothing. Clothing and linens might need to be professionally cleaned by a textile restoration company specializing in smoke damaged fabrics.
In many cases, the dwelling will have to be sealed and painted after cleaning. Flooring will require the evaluation by an experienced restorer, and may need simple cleaning, or complete replacement.
Small, sooty kitchen fires are traumatic to most homeowners, but an experienced restorer can allay the concerns of the owner, and bring the property back to the pre loss condition in a reasonable amount of time, as well as prepare the documentation required by an insurance carrier.
Restoration Xperts offers its “fire cleanup and boardup services” to property owners in Broward and Palm Beach counties in Florida. For quick help in emergencies 24/7 its crews are available to respond to fire or water damage. Its professional team can guide property owners through the process, and handle restoration projects from start to finish. Restoration Xperts maintains all of the required licensing and certifications required for structural drying, mold remediation and reconstruction.