Recent Fire Damage Posts

Electrical Safety to Avoid Fires in Your San Diego Home or Business

8/9/2021 (Permalink)

When working with electricity, safety needs to be your top priority at all times. According to the NFPA, one of the major dangers associated with electrical hazards are fires. Each year, electrical malfunctions account for 35,000 home fires, causing over 1,130 injuries, 500 deaths and $1.4 billion in property damage. To keep electrical components in a state where they are not misused or improperly maintained and cause a fire, it’s best to follow this guide.

Keep an Eye Out For Electrical Red Flags

When it comes to your electrical components, make sure you’re aware of the key warning signs of overloaded electrical systems. This includes (but is not limited to) outlets that are frequently blowing fuses, tripping circuit breakers and lights dimming when other devices are used. Furthermore, if you hear a buzzing sound coming from outlets or switches, or they are warm to the touch, you could have an overloaded electrical system.

Watch for the warning signs of a stressed or worn out electrical system.  These include:

  • Cover plates that are unusually warm to the touch may indicate a loose connection. 
  • Crackling, sizzling or buzzing noises behind outlets, switches or walls may indicate there’s an unsafe wiring condition called arcing.
  • Tripped circuit breakers are yet another indication of an over stressed electrical system. Circuits typically trip because of electrical overloads.  Circuits that trip repeatedly indicate a potential problem that needs attention from a licensed electrician.

Other Signs of Faulty Wiring

As a home ages, so does the wiring system. You can experience issues with worn out outlets, switches, GFCI outlets, and even the circuit breaker panel. Wiring systems in homes that are more than 30-years-old weren’t designed to handle the demands of today’s electricity needs.

If you also find that you are constantly using extension cords to power your appliances or electronics, it might be time to reconsider your electrical outlet needs. This is because extension cords can heat up and catch on fire easily, especially if they’re overloaded.

Lastly, if you find that prongs are not staying secure in your receptacle, it’s definitely time to get your receptacle’s worn contact repaired before a fire breaks loose. This is because loose contacts are known to cause arcing, which can ignite dry wood and dust, leading to fires in no time.

Electrical Fire Restoration Solutions

Electricity is something that even when harnessed and secured, can still lead to home fires due to outside sources such as a power surge, lightning strike or other natural disaster. If an electrical fire breaks out on your property under your watch, it’s best to call SERVPRO Point Loma at (619) 275-2802 to go over your fire restoration options immediately.

Important Candle Safety Tips

8/6/2021 (Permalink)

Candles Safety Tips

Candles are a popular choice in San Diego, CA for lighting, décor, ceremonial uses, and even fragrance. While they can be beautiful, candles can also be dangerous. According to the National Fire Protection Association, an average of 21 candle fires are reported each day. It only takes a matter of minutes for a candle fire to spread to other parts of your home. These tips can help you use candles safely.

1. Pay Attention to Placement
Be sure to put candles in a sturdy holder or container that won’t be easily knocked over. Place the holder on a flat, sturdy surface. Choose a location that is safely away from children and pets and is at least 12 inches away from anything flammable, such as books, decorations, curtains, furniture, paper, or clothing. Avoid candles if anyone in your home uses an oxygen tank.

2. Don’t Walk Away
Never leave a burning candle unattended, especially if there are other people in the house. Keep an eye on the wax level and be sure to put the candle out before it gets too low. If the flame gets too close to the bottom of the container or side of the holder, the holder could become extremely hot or even explode, sparking a candle fire.

3. Consider Alternatives
Today, there are many options available that mimic a candle’s soft, flickering glow. Battery-operated flameless candles come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Because they don’t emit heat, these candle alternatives can be safely used just about anywhere. If scent is your primary motivation for using candles, consider using a fragrance diffuser with scented essential oils, or a plug-in air freshener. If you keep candles on hand for power outages, swap them for battery-powered flashlights. Keep fresh batteries with the flashlights to be sure you’re prepared.
A flickering candle may look lovely or smell amazing, but no candle is worth the potential injuries, smoke cleanup, and structural repairs that can accompany a candle fire.

4 Fire Damage Restoration Mistakes to Avoid

7/31/2021 (Permalink)

4 Fire Damage Restoration Mistakes Property Owners Can Avoid

Mistake #1: Making repairs and cleaning the property before notifying the insurance company.

The insurance company will need to see the full extent of the damage before fire damage restoration can begin. Don’t remove anything from the property or make any repairs before an insurance adjuster can perform a proper inspection.

Leave things exactly as they are so that everything damaged can be properly accounted for and the insurance company can make an accurate loss assessment.

Mistake #2: Failing to secure the property to prevent additional damage.

Properties are often compromised after fire damage, leaving them exposed and vulnerable to further damage. Avoid this mistake by contacting a fire damage restoration company immediately to secure the property and prevent unnecessary damage in the long run. 

Damaged roofs need to be tarped, while broken windows and doors need to be boarded and secured to protect the property from the elements. Securing the property also protects against unauthorized entry, including thieves or looters.

Mistake #3: Spending too much time on the property before essential repairs and cleaning can be completed.

Active flames are not the only risks of fire damage. There are other dangers a fire can leave behind, such as unseen structural damage and significant health effects.

Roofs and walls can collapse at any time from unseen or worsening damage. These risks not only increase the chance of further damage and expense, but they can pose a threat to anyone who enters the property.

There are also health effects and concerns due to smoke inhalation, soot residue, and other harmful particles that a fire can leave behind. 

The safest thing to do is avoid the property as much as possible until professional fire damage restoration is underway. In addition to major repairs, these companies offer water cleanup, mold removal, soot and smoke damage cleanup, and other services to help return the property to a safe condition.

Mistake #4: Not hiring a professional fire damage restoration company right away.

Proper fire damage restoration requires specialized equipment and training. Immediately hiring a professional fire damage restoration company like SERVPRO can help homeowners avoid all the mistakes discussed here and more. 

The right fire damage restoration team will work with homeowners from start to finish and help them recover from fire damage as quickly as possible. SERVPRO of Point Loma is committed to serving the property owners and residents of San Diego, CA and providing them with the highest quality fire damage restoration services possible.

Top Causes of Home Fires

1/10/2021 (Permalink)

Home fires are one of the scariest things that a family can experience. Being inherently something that people believe will never happen to them, home fires almost always catch the homeowner off-guard. Plus, families seldom have an emergency plan in place to deal with a home fire since they believe it is extremely rare. However, the National Fire Protection Association estimates that there is reportedly a new home fire every minute and a half in the United States.

While most people assume that home fires are something that rarely occurs, the statistics paint a different picture. As such, it is important to have a prevention plan to avoid putting yourself and your family in a risky situation. One of the most effective ways to prevent a home fire is to recognize the common causes. In doing so, you are able to be on the lookout and thus avoid unnecessary dangers. The following are some of the most common causes of home fires today:

  1. Electrical equipment, such as a toaster oven, can catch fire from overuse, frayed cords, or age
  2. Smoking
  3. Candles
  4. Cooking equipment can often lead to overheating and thus a fire if the cook is not paying attention or leaves the room
  5. Faulty wiring is an electrical hazard that can cause a fire
  6. Flammable liquids
  7. Dirty barbeques
  8. Lightning
  9. Curious children
  10. Circuit breakers

Making sure that the above hazards are mitigated is imperative to keeping your home safe and free from fire. In addition, it is important that you regularly check your smoke detectors and replace them when necessary. Homeowners in San Diego often neglect to check on these things until it is too late. Be proactive and keep your home and your loved ones safe from a home fire. If you have experienced fire damage, we are here to help. Contact our fire damage repair team today to learn more!

Tips For Preventing Candle Fires

1/10/2021 (Permalink)

Many homeowners light candles to freshen up a room or to have lighting during a power outage. However, candles still have the potential to create a fire that spreads throughout the building. Avoid a candle fire at all costs, and follow these helpful tips to stay safe.

1. Do Not Leave Candles Unattended

If you are leaving a room with a candle in it, first extinguish the flame. After all, you can always relight a candle if you desire.

2. Keep the Area Around Candles Clean

The shelf or stand where you place the candle should not have anything flammable on it. Additionally, you should avoid placing a candle on a nightstand near your bed. The bedding may catch fire if you are not careful.

3. Toss It Once It Is Less Than Two Inches Tall

You do not want to risk a candle fire by allowing the flame to get too close to the base of the candle. It is better to simply throw away a candle once it is less than two inches high. They are relatively inexpensive to replace.

4. Keep Candles Away From Pets and Children

Candles should be placed high enough that kids and animals cannot get them. It is dangerous for children to play with anything lit. If the candle is left on a coffee table, then a dog’s tail may accidentally hit it and cause it to fall onto the floor.

5. Do Not Put Out a Candle With Water

It is preferable to put out a flame by blowing on it rather than pouring water. The reason is that water can cause the wax to spill all over the place. The hot wax may still catch fire, causing flames to spread throughout a home in San Diego. Candles are meant to be enjoyed, so always follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions to avoid a nasty candle fire and the impending smoke cleanup.

Fire Damage Responsibilities

1/5/2021 (Permalink)

A fire can be devastating and affect the lives of both tenants and owners. Understanding the responsibilities of both can make the recovery process after a fire significantly smoother. Find out what the tenant and owner responsibilities are after a fire and how the experts at SERVPRO of Point Loma can have your property looking like new.

Rental Properties: Who is Responsible for Fire Damage?

According to the National Fire Protection Association, non-wildfire structural fires cost Americans over $11 billion in 2019. Living through a fire is stressful, especially when it comes to dealing with the aftermath. From cleaning to recovering your lost goods, the entire process is full of heartbreak.

The effects of fire damage are even worse in tenant/landlord relationships. Determining who is at-fault and untangling the legal mess can lead to litigation and sleepless nights. 

Preparation is the best way to avoid much of the stress of dealing with fire damage. Landlords and tenants should understand their responsibilities before signing a lease. They should also know their roles in the fire restoration process. 

Who is responsible for coordinating cleanup? What insurance policies are needed? 

Answering questions like these makes navigating the process much smoother.

Landlord Responsibilities

The property owner is responsible for providing a safe living space for the tenant, which means addressing potential fire hazards. Items like bad wiring, unsafe appliances, and construction that does not meet building code can pose a fire risk. 

After a fire, the landlord will need to work with their insurance company to restore the building. In most cases, the property owner has to pay for structural repairs, as well as replace building fixtures like cabinets and plumbing.

In most cases, the landlord is not responsible for replacing the tenant’s property, only items that come with the rental.

Tenant Responsibilities

The tenant is liable for their personal property, such as furniture, clothing, and electronics. Many property owners require that tenants have renter's insurance for precisely this reason.  These policies cover their personal belongings in the event of natural disasters, theft, and other incidents. 

Even more important, renter’s insurance can pay for fire damage should the tenant be at fault. If the tenant was cooking unsafely or simply knocked over a candle, they could be held responsible for repaying the damages. 

Who Caused the Fire?

Insurance companies want to avoid paying out large amounts, so they will want to know who started the fire. 

If the tenant can show that the fire was due to poor maintenance on the landlord's part, the landlord may be liable for the renter's property. Similarly, if it's clear that the fire was the tenant's fault, the landlord may seek damages and compensation from the tenant.

In both cases, every party must be adequately insured, but this is especially important for landlords. 

Property owners must have insurance that covers the damage to the building and fixtures. More importantly, they need to let their insurer know that someone is renting the property. Without a landlord policy, the owner would not receive compensation for lost rent payments and could be underinsured. 

The Recovery Process

After the fire, the owner and renter need to document everything. If possible, walk through the property and take photos and videos. 

Both parties should notify their insurance companies as soon as possible after the fire. The insurers will investigate the cause of the fire and determine the financial cost. To do this, the insurance company will send an adjuster to review the fire damage.

Even if the fire was small, it helps to call the fire department for an objective view. They can inspect the cause and demonstrate how the fire spread.

Unless there's clear evidence that the tenant caused the fire, it falls on the landlord to work with a building restoration service or fire restoration companies. 

Fire restoration service is about more than just repairing fire and smoke damage — it's also about water removal and water cleanup. In many cases, the water used to extinguish the fire will flood the property. If this water is allowed to seep into the floors and walls, it may result in mold growth and unsafe living conditions.

Typically, it's in the landlord's best interest to work with a commercial cleaning service that offers comprehensive fire restoration and addresses secondary damage as well, such as mold removal, flood cleanup, and even an air duct cleaning service.

How To Extinguish a Grease Fire

1/5/2021 (Permalink)

One of the most common types of kitchen fires is the grease fire. As oil and grease collect on your stovetop or inside your oven, it presents an increasing risk. When you're heating food or preheating your appliance, the oils get closer and closer to their flashpoint. This is the temperature that it takes for the oil to burst into flame.

What To Do and What To Avoid

One of the most crucial things you need to know about putting out a grease fire in your home is to NEVER put water on that fire. Water doesn’t mix with oil; instead, the water will sink below the oil, and as it evaporates, the moisture sends burning oil throughout your kitchen. Instead of using water, use one of the following techniques:

  • Cover the flames with a metal lid. The seal between the dish containing the burning oil and the metal lid must be tight enough to prevent oxygen from reaching the flames.
  • Pour baking soda or salt over the fire. Baking soda puts out the flames because it contains carbon dioxide, cutting off the oxygen supply. You'll need a lot of baking soda. Keep a #10 can or one of the big boxes from the laundry aisle. Salt absorbs heat, and you'll only need about one cup to put out the fire.
  • You can avoid a lot of trouble and damage when you have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen. It's important to have the right type of extinguisher, however. You could choose a multipurpose extinguisher; just be sure there is a B or K in the label.


There are several things you may have in the kitchen that can make matters worse. For example, do not use flour, baking powder, or sugar. The chemical reaction between these ingredients and the grease will make the fire worse instead of better. Some people suggest draping a damp cloth over the flames. However, if any water from the cloth drips or splashes onto the flames, the fire may explode in your face.

Get Help When You Need It

As soon as you feel that the grease fire is out of your control, call 911, and make sure that members of your household safely leave the home. If your home suffers any damage, contact SERVPRO to handle repairs.

How to Evacuate Safely During a Wildfire

11/11/2020 (Permalink)

fire damage and SERVPRO logo After the disaster, SERVPRO is here to help

During the rapid spread and growth of random wildfires throughout the state of California, it is essential to have an evacuation plan in place. It is already a stressful enough situation and having a game plan can help you maintain a peace of mind and focus on the task at hand. Here are some tips to help you in the unfortunate scenario there is a wildfire. 

  1. Ensure You Are Prepared

While not every scenario allows for adequate preparation, it is essential that you have some form of physical preparations. This would include bottled water, calorie dense non-perishable foods, flashlights, and some form of simple shelter from the elements. These preparations should be enough for you and your family for at minimum three days. They should be simple and lightweight. You should be able to throw them into a backpack or two and then a small tent or some other temporary shelter if you are displaced for an extended period of time. Keep your gas tank full on your vehicle as well and only use verified evacuation routes. Trying to use side roads or less traveled roads can be dangerous and could leave you stranded.

  1. Communicate with Your Family

This may seem like a simple enough task or something which your mother used to tell you. However, it is paramount that your family and household know what the steps are to safely evacuate and how you can all work together to make this happen. Each person will have a different role. If everyone is aware of the plan you can help to keep everyone calm and you can essentially go into an autopilot mode.

  1. Make a Checklist

A simple system to help ensure an effective evacuation plan is a checklist. When you have a list make sure it is short and simple. The goal is to ensure that you are able to evacuate safely and prepared. Ultimately the goal is to protect yourself and your loved ones. In the case that you do not feel fully prepared, but a fire is near you are better off leaving unprepared and unscathed.

  1. Turn Off all External Pipes or Power Sources

This would include your water, gas, and electric lines. Generally, this can help prevent further damage to the home or safety hazards for fire fighters. If not done properly a wildfire fire could ignite a gas leak or rupture a line and cause a catastrophic explosion. Exposed electrical wires can also cause further damage to the building.

  1. Stay Updated and Informed

The most important tool at your disposal during times like these is information. With the correct information you can avoid peril and hardship by days. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that you take the warnings of your local authorities and news agencies to heart for your safety and those around you.

Stay Fire Safe this Summer San Diego!

6/13/2020 (Permalink)

Fire can be a great part of summertime. Just make sure to keep it safe!

Summer is finally here! With the summer comes some of our favorite activities, such as outdoor grilling, fireworks and bonfires. No matter where you enjoy your summer activities, safety should always be a high priority. Preventing a fire accident is far easier than investing in fire and water restoration in the aftermath of such an accident. We’ve put together a few tips to make your summer activities not only fun and memorable, but also safe.

  1. Always have water or a fire extinguisher on hand. When you are having a campfire, or backyard fire pit, it’s always a good idea to keep a bucket of water or hose nearby. Sometimes sparks and flammable materials can fly out of the fire. Having water nearby means you will be able to respond quickly to keep the fire under control.
  1. Fireworks should only be used under adult supervision. Everyone loves sparklers and pinweels, but the reality is, they can be very dangerous in the wrong hands. Keep a close eye on children when fireworks are involved. It only takes a split second for a fun fourth of July to turn into a life altering disaster. Additionally, never try to relight faulty fireworks or sparklers. All fireworks and sparklers should be disposed of in a bucket of water.
  1. Maintain your gas or charcoal grill. Over time, grease and other flammable materials can build up on your grill. To help prevent a possible grease fire, always maintain your grills and keep them clean.
  1. Survey your surroundings prior to lighting a fire or grill. Make sure there is nothing flammable directly adjacent to the fire. This includes deck railings, branches, dry grass or wood. You should also NEVER start a grill indoors or directly under your home’s eaves or soffits. Additionally, when starting a camp fire, take care to clear the area around where you will be starting the fire and make certain there are no dry materials that could catch fire from a nearby spark. Check your local municipalities to ensure that a campfire ban in not in effect in your area.  
  1. Always completely extinguish a fire or grill. When you are finished with your fire or using your grill, always make certain that it is completely out. Grills and fires can quickly become a serious disaster when left unsupervised.

Fires, grilling and fireworks are all a part a fun summertime experience, but remember to be smart and safe so that everyone can have an enjoyable experience. SERVPRO of Point Loma wishes everyone a safe and happy summer having fun and making memories. If you follow these tips, you may never need to call us for fire restoration, but do remember, we are always here when you need us. (619)275-2802

We’re Here For Point Loma 24/7

4/25/2020 (Permalink)

It is important to us that our customers know the steps SERVPRO of Point Loma is taking to reduce the risk of team member exposure to the virus.  These precautionary steps we have taken as a company include:

  • All tools and equipment coming into your property have been cleaned and disinfected.
  • All workers wear personal protective equipment to protect themselves while performing work.
  • We’ve all been provided with training to safely work in contaminated environments.
  • We’ve all been provided with training to identify coronavirus symptoms and carefully monitor ourselves and our co-workers.
  • We have stringent safety and health policies and procedures; and we continually strive to follow and improve our safe work practices.

Overall, we are taking the appropriate measures to ensure we don’t cross contaminate our customers, our co-workers, or our families.  We cannot make any guarantees that the virus could not enter your property, but we can tell you that we have taken every possible measure to protect customers and team members alike.

Whether it is a water loss, fire damage, or a cleaning request, please know that SERVPRO of Point Loma is still here for the entire San Diego 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

5 Common Causes for Fires at Home

4/17/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Point Loma knows that fire is one of the most hazardous types of damage that can damage your home. While safety measures can be put in place to combat fire (like having a fire extinguisher handy or a fire alarm system installed), knowing what the common causes are can
 
Cooking Equipment
 
According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are ranked as the number one cause of home fires in the United States. It’s important to always be alert and aware when cooking in your kitchen, and to not leave items unattended. Pots and pans can easily overheat, food can burn, and any time large quantities of grease or oil are involved they can spray and splatter, taking only seconds to ignite into flame.
 
Electrical Equipment
 
Electrical fires are one of the most common threats homeowners face. From overloaded electrical outlets to malfunctioning appliances, fires can start fast and grow strong. Be careful not to overload your circuits or leave lights on overnight, and if you can, start conducting an annual inspection of your home’s electrical systems. This will help you identify and locate any faulty wiring, damaged outlets or other issues your system may have.
 
Indoor Smoking
 
Smoking is a major contributor to home fires that occur in the United States each year. Lit cigarettes accidentally dropped somewhere in the home can fast ignite its surroundings and build to dangerous levels of fire and smoke. The best way to significantly reduce the risk of this happening is to stop smoking altogether or by smoking outdoors. However, if you choose to smoke inside your home, take proper precautionary measures: don’t smoke in your bedroom or forget to extinguish your cigarette if you become drowsy. Use large, deep ashtrays, and keep them away from anything that will burn.

Appliances & Dryers
 
This one may surprise some people, but your dryer could pose as a major hazard for your home if not properly maintained. When lint and dust build up over time, the dryer vent becomes clogged with highly flammable materials. Regularly cleaning your dryer’s lint trap and routinely inspecting the vent for blockage is the best way to avoid this potential danger.
 
Candles
 
Candles provide wonderful aromas and stunning ambiance to any room, but can be hazardous the moment you neglect them. Always blow out a candle before you leave a room – an unattended open flame is asking for trouble, and can fast lead to a home fire. In addition to blowing it out, be sure to clear away any flammable materials from the vicinity of the candle prior to lighting it. Trimming the wick can also help reduce the size of the flame, better containing it.
 
If you are worried about any of these hazards that may exist in your home or have any questions, feel free to call our team of pros here at SERVPRO of Point Loma at (619) 275-2802

Point Loma Smoke and Soot Cleanup

11/27/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Point Loma will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – (619) 275-2802