Recent Fire Damage Posts

Older Homes and Fire Damage Replacements

6/21/2019 (Permalink)

Plaster and Lathe in Historic Older Home after Fire Damage

In the fires and other events that we see at SERVPRO of Great Neck/Port Washington, older historic homes often require substantial attention and often pieces are irreplaceable.  Even when they are replaceable, you may find your insurer will not cover an exact replacement.

Those with plaster and lathe tend to have lots of dry flammable wood, and the plaster layers are not so amenable to repairs and patching like modern drywall.  Damage to plaster and lathe may require a complete gut and renovation of a room or home. 

Often other details affected such as columns, inlaid flooring, plaster ornamental details, ceiling medallions, door, window, crown and baseboard trim, and more will not receive exact or even like replacements from your insurer.

You might be surprised to find that your insurer will allow only standard replacements for columns and molding, not the fancy plaster and wood decorative pieces you have cherished.  You may opt for basic coverage and pay out of pocket for the difference, should an event occur, pay more, or your insurer may have other options for you. 

It is wise to consider what your expectations are when first arranging for homeowners insurance and have that discussion before selecting your policy. 

Fire Destroys Tenant's Apartment and Primary Residence

6/23/2018 (Permalink)

Apartment fire damages entire home.

When you have a tenant in a basement or attached apartment, make sure that you have ample and proper fire safety detection equipment - namely, smoke detectors throughout your unit and theirs. 

Luckily in this fire no one was injured, but the apartment as you see was a total loss, the contents were destroyed.  The source of this fire is under investigation but originated in the apartment.  However, the smoke damage permeated the owner unit as well, which had extensive amounts of antiques and collectibles, the owner's business.  The entire home had to undergo restoration.

As a homeowner and landlord safe egress, properly maintained utilities, and fire detection equipment is a primary responsibility.

As a tenant, you should make sure smoke detectors are present, know your egress escape points, and make sure that you create no potential fire hazards.  Additionally, make sure you have renter’s insurance with fire coverage, don't expect the homeowner's insurance to cover your own belongings.

Fire Safety Week is in October, but it is never too soon to do a fire safety check in your own home!

Fire and Smoke Damage When You Have Valuable Antiques, Art and Collectibles

6/23/2018 (Permalink)

Fire and Smoke Damaged Collectibles Can Often Be Restored!

A fire is a devastating event, no question - but one particularly more complicated when you have valuables that are irreplaceable affected.

At SERVPRO of Great Neck/Port Washington we often encounter property owners with unique situations of all types.  The matter of valuables is one worth addressing because of their monetary value and irreplaceable nature.  

While you can safeguard the value end with special insurance coverage, be sure to make and keep a digital file in the cloud and in a safe deposit box with a complete inventory list with adequate invoices, bills of sale, dates of purchase/acquisition, provenance records, descriptions, valuations and photographs.  

Make sure your homeowners policy agent knows that you have valuables that need coverage, don't assume your policy covers all.

If there is a fire, call in SERVPRO as soon as possible to ensure that restoration can begin on anything salvageable.  We restore whatever can be saved and also will provide an inventory list of losses for your insurance claim. 

We're here for you, 24/7.

SERVPRO of Great Neck/Port Washington is Ready for any Fire Damage Situation

6/7/2018 (Permalink)

Massive fire damage to your property is compounded with additional damage from water, smoke odors & soot, whether from the fire department in order to put out the fire and of course rainy whether.

In the even of a property fire SERVPRO of Great Neck/Port Washington will ensure the property is secure, by assessing the damage and address all health and safety issues and concerns. Our trained technicians will remove damage content or if its necessary storage salvageable content. We will mitigate the water damage, deodorize smoke odors, clean and restore surfaces. We have special equipment to remove odor and soot from surfaces.

SERVPRO of Great Neck/Port Washington will leave the property prepare for the restoration/construction phase. We are dedicated to help you during a stressful time. Contact us if you experience fire damage at 516-767-9600.

Kitchen Fire Prevention Tips

6/4/2018 (Permalink)

The aftermath of a kitchen fire.

We've all done it - put something on the stove and got busy elsewhere in the house - completely forgetting that we were cooking until we smell something acrid and burning.  In some cases, maybe you've actually gone outside or on an errand.  

Kitchen fires travel fast and knowing some tips to extinguish them could reduce the risk of injury and damage.  

Tip #1:  Never throw water on a kitchen fire.  It seems counter to what you'd intuitively do, but water on a grease fire will act as an accelerant and the fire will flash and spread rapidly.

Tip #2:  Keep a kitchen rated fire extinguisher in an easily accessible cabinet and install a smoke detector in the far end of the kitchen (not so close to the stove that regular use sets it off).

Tip #3:  With a stove fire, dampen and wring out a kitchen towel, then toss it over the flames to smother it.

Tip #4:  Cook pots should have the handles turned in, so toddlers cannot grab and tip them.

Tip #5:  Use a timer and set an alert on your mobile phone if you plan to leave the room so you don't forget you were cooking.

Clean Soot and Grease After a Fire Damage

5/29/2018 (Permalink)

Kitchen with a lot of soot and grease are notoriously difficult to clean up.

SERVPRO of Great Neck/Port Washington is trained to help you to cleaning your house or property after a fire. Soot and grease are notoriously difficult to clean up, and it needs to be done quickly to prevent secondary damage. you also find residue of grease and soot in the walls, ceiling, appliances, and other areas you might not be able to access, such as behind the walls, cabinets.

We have all the equipment and services necessary to handle even the most difficult task. Our professionals can identify the proper cleaning procedures, have all the necessary equipment to remove the odor from the property and knows how to properly remove kitchen cabinets without causing further damage.

In situations of a lot of soot and grease its necessary to have a quick clean up response that will also help to prevent getting your items permanently staining from soot. SERVPRO of Great Neck/Port Washington is available to help 24/7.

Secondary Fire Damage – Water, Soot and Smoke

5/24/2018 (Permalink)

Fire damage can result in secondary damages

Secondary damage in areas of homes and buildings isn't what you think about after a fire but areas not burned in a fire are often affected.  

Smoke and soot can work their way into nooks and crannies on all floors - not stopped by doors. It may not be immediately obvious as all surfaces may be coated.  Water damage from the fire can cause lots of losses by damaging furnishings, building materials, electrical or mechanical systems and personal belongings.

In this house fire, water in a room not directly burned has caused extensive damage. Additionally, soot and ash coat everything and every surface, and smoke odor as well.  Many things may seem as if totally destroyed. Restoration and cleaning of some soft items and hard surface items are sometimes possible.

SERVPRO has special document drying chambers for completely drying out important irreplaceable papers and books that have become water damaged in a fire or flood.

Hospital Fire - Statistical Information

2/16/2017 (Permalink)

Hospital Electrical Fire

The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), the leading resource on fire, electrical and related hazards reported recently that while structure fires in health care facilities has followed a steady downward trend over the past decade, cooking was the leading cause in 65% of all fire property damage (specifically in health care facilities), followed by electrical distribution and lighting equipment - causing 34% of health care fire property damage.  To a far lesser extent, other causes include intentionally set fires (16%), heating equipment (5%), smoking materials (5%) and clothing dryers (4%). 

U.S. fire departments respond to more than 5,600 health care structure fires each year.

Homeowners Take Note! Holiday Fire Risk Increases after Christmas Day

12/11/2014 (Permalink)

Most homeowners are aware that holiday decorations should be used with care.  Each year, statistics tell the story of the fire danger resulting from frayed wires, proximity to heat sources, and lights left on unattended.  But SERVPRO of Great Neck Port Washington wants local homeowners to know that the danger of fire cause by holiday decorating, and by Christmas trees specifically, actually increases after the holiday.  Research from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)* says that, while four out of five Christmas tree fires happen in December and January, the 10 days with the highest average number of fires were all after Christmas Day.

For many families, preparing for the holiday season is a very busy time. Come December 26, it’s tempting to relax; stop watering the Christmas tree, replacing bulbs in outdoor lights or tucking indoor garlands back into place.  Dry greens, open sockets and decorations that slip dangerously close to light sockets or fireplaces can all increase the risk of fire in the days after the Christmas holiday.

The American Christmas Tree Association** (quoting Nielsen research) says Americans purchased 21.6 million live Christmas trees in 2011.  That number is significant because, according to the NFPA, Christmas trees remain the number one culprit in holiday fires.  43 percent of Christmas tree fires happen in December, but January is close behind, claiming 39 percent – numbers that demonstrate the danger of allowing Christmas trees to dry out during and after the holiday season.  Tragically, Christmas tree fires are particularly deadly, claiming on average one life in every 40 fires compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home fires.

SERVPRO of Great Neck Port Washington encourages homeowners who choose to decorate with live Christmas trees to be diligent about watering their trees both before and after the holidays.  If a Christmas tree dries out, it only takes a single spark from a fireplace, a candle flame or carelessly held cigarette to turn a holiday celebration into a tragedy. 

As the holiday season moves into full swing, SERVPRO of Great Neck Port Washington reminds homeowners to take precautions based on a clear understanding of the potential danger to help prevent holiday traditions from turning into a holiday nightmare.  For more information about fire and water damage restoration services, please visit

About Fire Prevention Week

10/6/2014 (Permalink)

Since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls.

Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire began on October 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on October 9, 1871.

Commemorating a conflagration
According to popular legend, the fire broke out after a cow - belonging to Mrs. Catherine O'Leary - kicked over a lamp, setting first the barn, then the whole city on fire. Chances are you've heard some version of this story yourself; people have been blaming the Great Chicago Fire on the cow and Mrs. O'Leary, for more than 130 years. But recent research by Chicago historian Robert Cromie has helped to debunk this version of events.

The 'Moo' myth
Like any good story, the 'case of the cow' has some truth to it. The great fire almost certainly started near the barn where Mrs. O'Leary kept her five milking cows. But there is no proof that O'Leary was in the barn when the fire broke out - or that a jumpy cow sparked the blaze. Mrs. O'Leary herself swore that she'd been in bed early that night, and that the cows were also tucked in for the evening.

But if a cow wasn't to blame for the huge fire, what was? Over the years, journalists and historians have offered plenty of theories. Some blamed the blaze on a couple of neighborhood boys who were near the barn sneaking cigarettes. Others believed that a neighbor of the O'Leary's may have started the fire. Some people have speculated that a fiery meteorite may have fallen to earth on October 8, starting several fires that day - in Michigan and Wisconsin, as well as in Chicago.

The biggest blaze that week
While the Great Chicago Fire was the best-known blaze to start during this fiery two-day stretch, it wasn't the biggest. That distinction goes to the Peshtigo Fire, the most devastating forest fire in American history. The fire, which also occurred on October 8th, 1871, and roared through Northeast Wisconsin, burning down 16 towns, killing 1,152 people, and scorching 1.2 million acres before it ended.

Historical accounts of the fire say that the blaze began when several railroad workers clearing land for tracks unintentionally started a brush fire. Before long, the fast-moving flames were whipping through the area 'like a tornado,' some survivors said. It was the small town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin that suffered the worst damage. Within an hour, the entire town had been destroyed.

Nine decades of fire prevention
Those who survived the Chicago and Peshtigo fires never forgot what they'd been through; both blazes produced countless tales of bravery and heroism. But the fires also changed the way that firefighters and public officials thought about fire safety. On the 40th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, the Fire Marshals Association of North America (today known as the International Fire Marshals Association), decided that the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire should henceforth be observed not with festivities, but in a way that would keep the public informed about the importance of fire prevention.  The commemoration grew incrementally official over the years.

In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation, and since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls. According to the National Archives and Records Administration's Library Information Center, Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record. The President of the United States has signed a proclamation proclaiming a national observance during that week every year since 1925.

14 Ways to Prepare for Fire Prevention Month

9/29/2014 (Permalink)

Reprinted from

Though most of us need a careful balance of caffeine, sleep, food, exercise, and regular installments of our favorite TV shows to get by, fire only needs three elements– heat, fuel, and oxygen — to come to life and wreak more destruction than Gallagher at a farmer’s market.  October is National Fire Prevention Month, so there’s no better time than now to evaluate your emergency preparedness. Workplace fires can result in loss of life, loss of jobs, and loss of property. But by taking these 14 precautions, you can make sure that a fire-related emergency is something that you’ll likely never have to worry about. Get ahead of Fire Prevention Month and use this as checklist to evaluate your workplace:

1.  Know your fire extinguishers!  One size does not fit all – in fact, using the wrong fire extinguisher during an emergency can quickly turn a small flame into a big emergency.  

 2.  Test your smoke alarms. Batteries should be changed at least once a year.

3.  Do a fire drill and establish an employee meeting place. Make sure you have emergency plans in place and that all exits are visible and accessible.  Also ensure that workers with mobility challenges are assigned a helpful coworker to assist them in the event of an emergency.

4.  Check your electrical outlets. Don’t overload electrical circuits.

5.  Keep heat producing appliances away from flammable materials – this includes coffee makers, copy machines, and space heaters.

6.  Check your electrical cords. If they have been damaged (or give off mild electrical shock), replace them immediately.

7.  Make sure you have metal containers available for the disposal and storage of oily rags.

8.  Designate safe areas for employees who smoke. Never smoke in storerooms or near chemical storage areas.  Make sure that receptacles are available for the safe disposal of cigarettes.

9.  If you have equipment that delivers mild electrical shock when energized, don’t use it! Also refrain from using equipment that gives off unusual heat or smells odd.   If in doubt have it checked and repaired or replaced.

10.  To help prevent fires that occur as a result of arson, lock up your workplace after hours and report suspicious behavior. Never leave combustible material outside of your building.

11.  Check for blockages – make sure that clutter isn’t blocking your access to emergency equipment and fire exits. Signs posted on walls and doorways may also be blocked by stacked items.  Make sure all emergency signs are visible.

12.  Check that your alarm system includes voice communication or sounds, like bells, whistles, or horns. Ensure that your workers are familiar with its sound.  Review your alarm system and evacuation plan whenever it is changed.

13.  Post reporting instructions and local fire department codes on information boards, common areas, and near telephones.

14.  Talk about the importance of sleep and encourage workers not to perform risky jobs while fatigued. It’s much easier to make mistakes when you’re sleep-deprived.  You could leave an appliance plugged in, forget to properly store an oily rag, or make a dangerous mistake.  Make sure you and your colleagues get the rest you need so you can stay alert at work.

Sudden, Swirling Firenado Rises out of Farm Fire

5/9/2014 (Permalink)

A firenado is spawned on a field in Chillicothe, Mo., the week of April 7, 2014. (Photo/Janae Copelin)

Stunned by the "coolest, scariest thing" she had ever seen, Photographer Janae Copelin caught a snapshot early this week of a rare weather marvel known as a firenado.The whirling "fire-devil" was spawned as a farmer burned off his field in Chillicothe, Missouri.

A swirling rotation of smoke, gas and debris, a firenado is generated when an active fire is swept upwards by strong winds, creating a vortex.

"The heat of the fire rising through the air allows the vortex to strengthen and create the firenado," AccuWeather Meteorologist Eric Leister said. "The firenado can then suck more brush and debris into itself and fuel the fire further."

Firenadoes can be extremely dangerous, as they have the ability to throw burning embers miles away. They are usually between five and 10 stories high and can measure up to 10 feet wide.

While this rarity lasts usually only minutes, the largest firenadoes have been known to create winds topping 100 mph.