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Fire Restoration Tips- Can Anything Be Salvaged After a Fire?

September 24th, 2013 · No Comments

Fire Restoration Tips From ServiceMaster of SE South Dakota

No matter the size of the fire, whether a small contained kitchen fire or one that practically destroys your home, a house fire is traumatic. Once the fire damage has been assessed, there is the painful task of fire restoration and deciding what can be salvaged and what has to be thrown away. With the following basic information regarding proper care and cleaning, you may be able to save more than you think.

First, if the fire damage is too extensive, the Yankton fire restoration professionals at ServiceMaster Clean of SE South Dakota are experienced in handling fire damage restoration projects from the first time you call until your home or business is fully restored to its former condition. We also specialize in water removal, water damage repair, mold removal and more.

However, if the damage is not too extensive, you may decide to tackle some of the fire damage cleanup yourself. After a fire, you will probably be left with three kinds of damage: water damage, soot damage and smoke damage. They can all be cleaned up if the damage isn’t too extreme. Here are some basic steps for reclaiming some of your valuables or pieces you don’t want to part with.

After just about any fire, the first problem to deal with is water damage. You need to begin to dry things out as soon as you can. The most immediate problem is mold growth. Mold can begin to form in as little as 48 hours. Once it gets started, the damp environment of a water-damaged house is like a mold nursery.

When you start the drying process of your furniture, do not dry wood furniture outdoors in the sun. The intense rays can dry wood too quickly and cause it to bend and twist. Instead, dry wood items in a well ventilated area. Open the windows, utilize fans to create constant air flow, and if possible, use a dehumidifier. Your furniture will dry slowly and be less likely to warp as the water evaporates. Once things are dry they can be cleaned with a mild detergent and clear water.

If, however, some of your furniture has deposits of soot on upholstered surfaces, you need to take special care. First, do not touch any soot without first removing it with a very strong vacuum. This next step is extremely important: use only the vacuum nozzle, no attachments such as the brush head, and move the nozzle around the area you are cleaning by holding it slightly above the surface you are vacuuming. If you touch or rub the nozzle on the surface of the soiled upholstery you will press the soot into the fabric. Remove as much soot as you can. Once you are satisfied you can’t vacuum out any more soot, clean with a mild cleaning solution.

Even after soot is removed, there will probably be the lingering smoke odor. Getting that campfire smell out of your furniture can be a challenge. The reason is that during a fire, even a smaller one, a building and its contents are exposed to heat, sometimes intense heat. As the materials in the fire area become heated their porous composition begins to expand. That expansion may only happen on a microscopic level, but it allows smoke to infiltrate just about everything. As these materials cool down, the pores contract and close, trapping smoke odors.

There are some things you can do yourself to get rid of smoke odor in clothing, bedding and drapes. You could take them to a dry cleaner or in the case of washable clothing, soak them overnight in a solution of one cup of dishwasher detergent per gallon of water, and use enough of the solution so everything is completely covered. After they are finished soaking, launder them as you normally would.

Wiping things down with a mild detergent can clean other non-porous items. In the case of photos that are soiled or stuck together, they may be salvaged as well. Because photographs are developed in a water-based solution, letting them soak in clean water until they separate or the dirt lifts from the surface may save them. Once separated and clean, they can be dried by setting them on a flat surface like a countertop.

For everything else, you can always count on ServiceMaster Clean of Southeast South Dakota. We have the experience, equipment and products to bring items you thought were a total loss back to life. If your home or business needs fire restoration services in the Yankton area, don’t worry and don’t panic. Contact ServiceMaster Clean of Southeast South Dakota. We’ll be there to help you to get your life back to normal.

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