Recent Fire Damage Posts

Fire Damage Restoration Tips for Indianapolis Homeowners

4/26/2020 (Permalink)

Firefighters fighting a house fiire. Fire Damage Restoration Tips for Indianapolis Homeowners

It doesn’t take much for a fire to start. Every day, fires occur in homes across Indianapolis. Fires can start from faulty appliances, lightning, cooking, or forgetting to blow out a candle before leaving a room. If a fire should happen at your home, below are some tips to remember to keep you and your family safe and to make the cleanup and restoration process go smoother and quicker.

Don’t Enter Home Immediately After a Fire

Even a little tiny house fire can result in dangerous conditions in your home. A fire can cause damage to the home’s structure that could lead to a ceiling, wall, or floor collapsing and hurting someone. If the fire was put out with water, there could be a risk of electrical shock. Also, depending on what burned, there could be harmful vapors or residue left in the home. Don’t enter your home immediately after a fire until the fire department has given the all-clear. The firefighters will make sure all of the fire is extinguished and that there is no danger to entering the home. If there is danger, they may not let you enter or they may cordon off certain areas of your home that may be dangerous. 

Secure Sensitive Documents

Once you are allowed to enter your home after a fire, it’s important to secure any sensitive documents or items. These can include birth certificates, social security cards, insurance papers, financial documents, valuable jewelry, gold, and coins. If you have to move out of your home due to the fire, you want to secure anything that you wouldn’t want to lose especially if your home is vulnerable to thieves and vandals as a result of the fire. If you don’t already have a small fire safe to store sensitive documents and valuables, you may want to invest in one. A fire safe will keep these documents safe if a fire should happen. 

Contact a Fire Damage Restoration Company

While you may want to start cleaning up right away, it’s best to call a fire damage restoration company, like SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. They can quickly assess the damage and determine the best way to clean up and ultimately restore your home. They also have years of experience working with insurance companies and will know what to do to make the process smoother and easier for you. The reason why you don’t want to start cleaning is that you could be creating more damage by using the wrong cleaning solutions and/or equipment. 

Extract the Water & Dry Damaged Rooms

One of the first steps a fire damage restoration company will do is to extract the water that the fire department used to put out the fire if they used water. Some times with smaller fires, they may just use extinguishers which can contain powders, water, or other agents that will also need to be cleaned up. Once the water has been extracted, there still may be moisture in the air and seated deep into carpet pads and porous surfaces. The moisture is usually removed with commercial blowers and dehumidifiers. The reason it is so important to remove the water and dry out the damaged areas is to prevent mold from growing and creating further damage. The professional fire restoration company may also use products and equipment to keep mold from occurring. 

Do Not Throw Anything Away - Wait for Insurance Adjuster

Do not move anything or throw anything out or clean up anything until your insurance company has seen the damage. They will usually show up on-site to assess the damage and work with the restoration company to determine what damage is covered and what steps to take. If you do have to throw anything out or move anything, take lots of pictures of all of the damage before you or the restoration company touches anything. It’s usually a good idea to call your insurance agent right away after a fire to ensure you follow the right steps and do the right thing to make sure they cover your claim.

Save the Salvageable 

Once you have been given the clear by your insurance company to proceed with the cleanup, you will want to save anything that is salvageable. The experts at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West can help determine what can be cleaned up and what isn’t salvageable. Your insurance company agent or adjuster can also give insight into what is not salvageable and whether it is covered under your insurance to replace. You may be surprised what can be saved, so it’s important to ask the fire restoration pros at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West before tossing anything. They have specialized equipment and tools that can clean up some household items. 

When it Comes to Home Fires, SERVPRO of Indianapolis West Can Help

We hope you never have to experience a fire at your home. But if you do, no matter how small or big the damage is, SERVPRO of Indianapolis West can help with the cleanup and restoration. We have the experience and tools to quickly help return your home and your life back to normal. If disaster should strike your Indianapolis home, give SERVPRO of Indianapolis a call 24/7.

How to Prevent House Fires

2/26/2020 (Permalink)

How to Prevent House Fires in Indianapolis

One of the most damaging disasters that can happen to a home is a house fire. A house fire can cause extensive damage from the fire, the smoke, and the water to put it out. After a fire, you could be dealing with fire damage, water damage, and possible mold damage. If you should suffer from a house fire, call the restoration experts at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West to quickly and effectively repair and restore your damaged home.

In today’s post, we will cover how to prevent house fires from happening in the first place. We will also go over how to prepare your home and your family in the event a fire should happen. There many things a homeowner can do to reduce the risk of a fire from happening in the first place. 

Install Smoke Alarms and Test Them Monthly

The NFPA recommends that smoke alarms be installed on every floor and inside every bedroom. To reduce false smoke alarms, you will want to make sure the smoke alarm in the kitchen area is 10 feet away from the stove and cooking appliances, like a toaster. It’s important to test all of your smoke alarms once a month to make sure they are in operating condition. 

Keep Your Dryer Vents Clean and Clear

Fires can happen very quickly from clogged or obstructed dryer vents. It’s important to clean out the lint trap after each use of the dryer. The lint from a dryer is highly combustible when exposed to the high heat of an operating dryer. You also want to check for lint or clothes that have fallen behind or beside the dryer as they can increase the risk of fire. It’s also a good practice to vacuum underneath the dryer and inside the dryer vents and ducts at least once a year. 

Create a Fire Escape Plan With Your Family and Practice It

If a fire should happen, does your family know what to do? Due to the materials a home is constructed of and the materials of the furnishings, house fires can spread much more faster than they did just a decade ago. The smoke from the fire is also much worse which is why it is important to have an escape plan and practice it on a regular basis. Ideally, you want to be able to get out of your home safely within 30-seconds. 

Keep Your Oven and Stove Top Clean 

To reduce the risk of fires, it’s important to keep your oven and cooking surfaces clean. If you have food particles at the bottom of your oven, they can at the very least cause a lot of excess smoke to trip your smoke alarms and at the very worst, they can catch on fire and risk spreading outside the oven. Clean out the bottom of your oven on a weekly basis with a vacuum and clean the entire oven every 6-months to reduce the risk of fire. The cooking top can also be susceptible to fires due to a build-up of grease and oil from cooking. You should clean the cooking surface every time you use it to keep flare-ups from occurring. You also want to make sure that you keep any flammable items away from the stovetop. This can include curtains, cooking oil, napkins, wooden cooking utensils, and dish rags to name a few. 

Ensure Family Knows Two Ways Out of Every Room

When practicing your fire escape plan, you should also make sure that every member of your household knows two ways out of every room if possible. In most instances, this would be the door and a window. If the windows are on the second floor, you could look into getting a ladder or rope to get down to the ground. Make sure everyone in your family knows to feel for heat before opening a door during a fire. If the door is really hot, then you will want to escape from the second way out if possible. 

Contact the Fire Restoration Experts at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West

You can’t completely prevent house fires from occurring. If a house fire should happen at your Indianapolis home, it’s important to get out and ensure everyone is safe at first. Once the fire is out, the cleanup process begins. For fire, smoke, water and mold damage, trust the experts at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. They are available 24/7 to respond quickly to any emergency. They have the knowledge and tools to quickly clean up and repair the fire damage to your home. If your home should suffer fire, smoke, water and/or mold damage, give SERVPRO of Indianapolis West a call.

House Fire

1/14/2020 (Permalink)

Smoke soot causes the most damage to structure after a fire.

It's usually not the actual fire that does the most damage to a home. The smoke from the fire and the water from the firefighter's efforts are the two things that cause the most damage to a house after a fire. 

Some house fires are small and extinguished quickly either by the homeowner or the fire department resulting in minimal damage from the flames. These fires that are put out very quickly still cause significant damage to the home as the smoke will migrate throughout the structure. 

Even the smallest of home fires can cause extensive damage to a home. While the flames of a small fire may not cause much damage, the resulting smoke can quickly spread throughout the house, reaping significant damage to everything inside the home. This process is called secondary damage. 

Secondary Damage

This is the damage created by the corrosive nature of substances released by the heat and fire. Often the secondary damages can account for the majority of damage to a home or business. To help protect the home and your belongings, we usually will need to empty the house of its contents. The term we use for this is a pack-out. 

Pack Out

We carefully inventory all contents and safely pack them for a move to our secured warehouse. The contents of your home are thoroughly cleaned and restored, then returned after the structure restoration is completed. This allows for better access to clean and restore the house and eliminates the possibility of secondary damage during the restoration process. 

Call The Pros

For contents cleaning and fire restoration, you can trust SERVPRO of Indianapolis West to get the job done right. If you should suffer from a house fire, it's crucial to call the fire and smoke damage restoration experts of SERVPRO of Indianapolis West immediately. 

We will work right away to identify the steps to clean and restore your home while taking measures to prevent any unnecessary further damage from occurring.

How to Clean Up Smoke Damage After a Fire

10/24/2019 (Permalink)

How to Clean Up Smoke Damage After a Fire

The worst part of most house fires isn’t necessarily the damage from the actual fire but the damage caused by the smoke and soot of the fire. Most house fires that are contained and put out quickly leave little to no damage. If the fire is in the oven or on the cooktop, the flames may cause damage to the oven, hood, and back wall. If replacing the oven or cleaning up the oven was the only thing needed, that wouldn’t be so bad. Unfortunately, it’s the smoke from the fire that can quickly spread that can leave lasting damage if not cleaned up properly. 

In this blog, we will go over some tips to clean up “minor” smoke damage after a fire. We use the word “minor” because smoke damage can quickly turn into a much bigger problem as it spreads quickly. The other problem is that the homeowner may exacerbate the smoke damage by using the wrong cleaning supplies and chemicals. This leads us to the first tip.

Assess the Smoke Damage Before Cleaning

Once the fire has been safely put out, check the area for smoke damage. If you see that the smoke has gone up the walls and to the ceiling, it is usually best to call a professional to clean up. The reason is that it can be difficult to remove smoke from porous ceilings and walls. Also, if the smoke is visible on the ceiling and walls, there’s a good chance that it has been carried elsewhere. Fire damage restoration professionals will know where to look and how to clean the smoke damage. Also, smoke can easily slip behind appliances, through cracks, and other hard to reach areas which if not cleaned could leave that the smell of smoke lingering behind. 

Air Out the Room

If you experienced a small kitchen fire, open the nearest window and/or door to let fresh air in. This will allow any airborne soot or smoke to hopefully blow out of the house. It’s also a good idea to turn off your central air or heat so the smoke isn’t sucked up into your air ducts. Once the smoke has dissipated and you’ve gotten plenty of fresh air circulating through the area, you can turn back on your central air or heat. It is, however, a good idea to check your air filter on your furnace and change it out if you smell any smoke from it. Another good idea is to use box fans to push the air out through your open windows and/or doors.

Clean Up the Fire Extinguisher Residue

If you use a fire extinguisher to put out the fire, you most likely used the common ABC dry powder fire extinguisher. It’s important to clean up the dry powder from any appliances or metals as the powder can be corrosive over time. A simple wet rag can remove the powder from any surfaces like an oven, sink, or refrigerator. Also with small kitchen fires, the powder probably spread further than the actual smoke damage, so you want to be thorough in examining all of the surfaces and areas around where the fire occurred.

Vacuum Up Any Fire and Soot Debris First

Before using towels and cleansers to wipe the surfaces, you will want to use a vacuum to remove any loose debris or soot from the damaged area. The debris could scratch surfaces like cooktops if using a towel to wipe the surface. Use the brush attachment of your vacuum to lightly dislodge any debris so the vacuum can suck it up. You make also want to use a broom to sweep up any debris but be careful not to use too much force as you could scratch the surfaces or make the stains worse. 

Don’t Use Liquid Cleaners Just Yet

This is where most people would tend to grab a towel and a liquid cleaner to remove the smoke from the walls, ceiling, and other surfaces. Doing this usually makes the damage worse and harder to clean up. Using liquid cleaners and a towel at this stage can sometimes smear the smoke stains or push them deeper into the surfaces especially walls and ceilings. To get most of the soot and smoke off of surfaces, you need to use a dry chemical sponge. This is a special type of sponge that is impregnated with chemicals that are designed to remove soot and smoke. By gentling wiping the surface, the sponge absorbs and/or picks up the soot and smoke from the surface. If the smoke damage is minimal, this can be an easy task but if there is extensive smoke damage, this can be an enormous project that is usually best left to the professionals. 

Next, Wash the Surfaces with Professional Cleansers

Once you’ve removed most of the smoke and soot from the surfaces with the dry chemical sponge, you’ll then want to use professional cleansers and a towel to wipe down the surfaces. Some of the different cleaners that people use are commercial soot/smoke cleaner, white vinegar, dish soap, and trisodium phosphate (TSP). A professional smoke damage restoration company will know better what cleaners to use and when. Some cleaners may remove the smoke and soot stains but leave the smell behind. Some may kill the smell with natural, biologically-activated enzymes but not remove the stains.  

The Best Step to Take is Call the Professionals

Removing the stains and smells from smoke and soot is not a simple and easy process. We just went over some steps that may work for smooth surfaces but what if the smoke gets into fabrics or furniture? That is why it is usually best to call the professionals to handle the cleanup and restoration of fire and smoke damage. Fire damage restoration experts, like those at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West, have the knowledge, expertise, tools, cleaning agents, and equipment to effectively remove all the stains and odors and damage from a home fire. Contact them 24/7 when the next time disaster strikes at your home or business. 

The Cleanup Process Begins with Identifying the Type of Smoke & Soot

8/22/2019 (Permalink)

The Cleanup Process Begins with Identifying the Type of Smoke & Soot

Not all smoke is created equal. Smoke and soot are the byproducts or residue of a fire. The type of smoke damage depends entirely on what burned in your home or business. In the blog below, we will cover the main types of smoke damage and how the smoke and soot residue is different.

Types of Smoke Damage

Wet Smoke

Wet smoke is one of the hardest to clean up and can easily make a mess. This type of smoke results from smoldering fires with a low temperature. The smoke is thick and sticky and smears easily if touched. It easily clings and builds up on walls, furniture, ceilings, and other surfaces. It is very difficult to clean up and it is always a good idea to contact a fire damage professional to clean it up. It also leaves a strong lingering odor if not properly cleaned up.

Dry Smoke

Dry smoke is usually much easier to clean up. It comes from much higher temperature fires like paper, wood, or synthetic materials. The smoke is usually less black and more powdery from paper and wood. With dry smoke, you have to worry about it penetrating small cracks and grooves in everything it comes into contact with. This can include wood, wallpaper, fabrics, carpets, wood floors, tile grout, and electronics. While it is easy to clean off of flat surfaces, if you don’t get it out of all the crevices and spaces, it will leave behind a stinky odor. 

Protein Smoke

Protein smoke usually occurs in the kitchen as a result of food catching on fire in the oven or on the stovetop. Protein smoke also naturally occurs just from cooking and can build up on surfaces over time. The smoke is usually light in color and tends to discolor surfaces surrounding the cooking appliances like the ceiling, walls, and counters. The smell of protein smoke can be very strong and stinky especially from a large food fire in a kitchen. The smoke residue is also very greasy which makes it really difficult to clean. Cleaning up this residue requires professional cleaning materials that are made for protein-based smoke residue. 

Petroleum Smoke

Petroleum smoke is usually the result of a fire from cooking oils or fuel oils. Petroleum smoke is very dark and thick. Due to the flammability of the oils, the smoke is usually pretty significant and can quickly fill up a room or home. It can easily discolor any surface it comes into contact with including ceilings, walls, and floors. It can also ruin any porous materials like furniture, flooring, and drapes if not treated quickly. Due to the amount of smoke residue it can cause and the difficulty in cleaning it, it is highly recommended that you contact a fire damage restoration company like SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. 

Contact the Fire Damage Restoration Experts at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West

If you should suffer fire and smoke damage to your Indianapolis home or business, contact the fire damage restoration pros at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. They have the equipment, knowledge, and experience to clean up and restore fire and smoke damage. Day or night, 24/7, they’re ready to answer your call and quickly clean up and restore fire and smoke damage to your home or business.

Preserving Your Property After A Fire

7/31/2019 (Permalink)

Securing Your Home or Business After A Fire

Two Terms You'll Hear After The Fire

Roof Tarping: The Fire Department will often vent the roof of a structure fire to help in their efforts to control and extinguish the blaze. To vent the roof, they use an ax or saw to cut a hole in the roof. We use a thick, weatherproof tarp to cover any holes in the roof to minimize secondary damage from precipitation or animals. 

Board-Up: We use durable plywood to cover any broken windows or doors that cannot be locked, this is done to preserve the structure and to keep the home safe from possible break-ins and exposure to the outside environment.  

SERVPRO, Faster To Any Disaster

Once the fire has been put out, it's essential to call us, SERVPRO of Indianapolis West as soon as possible. Even if it's in the middle of the night, we're available 24/7 to help to help. We are ready to take your call and take action no matter the time of day or night. Sometimes the fire department may need to break windows and cut holes in the roof to vent the house so that they can fight the fire properly. If that happens to your property, we can fully secure the structure even in the middle of the night. Call us at 317-243-3149, or click here, and we'll help you and your family get back the life you had before the flames took over. 

Fast Action to Help Save Your Property

In many home fire situations, there may be damage to the exterior of the home that would cause the outside elements, like rain, to get inside. If windows have been broken, doors kicked in, roofs damaged or exterior walls damaged from the fire, we will first board up any windows or doors and cover any roof or wall damage with tarps to keep the elements from causing further damage to your home. 

Protecting What's Inside Your Home

It's crucial to secure the structure shortly after the fire is extinguished. There are security and safety issues to keep in mind. The contents and personal effects of the homeowners need to be protected. By covering any broken windows or holes, we can keep out any weather elements or curious critters looking for a place to nest. After we complete the emergency board-up services, you can count on the experts at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West to fully restore your Indianapolis home or business.

4th of July Home Fireworks Safety Tips

6/25/2019 (Permalink)

4th of July Home Fireworks Safety Tips

Top Fireworks Safety Tips at Home

It’s that time of year again. Time to compete with your neighbors to see who has the biggest and best fireworks display According to the  National Fire Protection Association, more house fires are reported on the 4th of July than any other day with more than half caused by fireworks. So while you pull out your bottle rockets, mortars, roman candles, sparklers, and other highly explosive munitions to light up the night for your friends and family, it’s important to follow all safety rules and tips to keep yourself, your friends and family, and your home safe this 4th of July in the Indianapolis area. Below we’ve listed some of the top safety tips to follow to ensure you have a safe and happy 4th of July.

Keep Children Away. Designate a Fireworks Lighter.

There really isn’t any safe fireworks for kids. While many kids are given sparklers, they can reach temperatures up to 1,000 degrees and easily burn a child or cause their clothing to catch fire. Make sure that all children are kept a safe distance away from any fireworks that are being ignited. It’s a good idea to have adults supervising the kids while a designated adult is chosen to light the fireworks. With one designated fireworks lighter, you are less at risk of severe injuries and explosions as a result of too many people lighting fireworks off at the same time. 

Keep Water and a Fire Extinguisher On Hand.

Even if you are following all of the fireworks safety tips, there is still a risk of accidents happening. This can be the result of faulty fireworks igniting prematurely. This can be the result of fireworks falling over and firing at property or people. A single firework can explode near the stored fireworks setting off an explosive chain reaction of destruction. This is why it is important to have buckets of water and fire extinguishers on hand in the event that a fire is started in your grass, in a tree, or on your home. It’s also a good practice to dispose of any spent fireworks in a bucket of water to reduce the risk of re-ignition or a secondary fire or explosion.

Close Your Garage Door. Be Aware of Your Surroundings.

If you are shooting off fireworks near homes like in a driveway or the middle of a cul-de-sac, make sure that garage doors, windows, and doors are closed. Not only do you not want smoke and debris from the fireworks to blow into homes, but you also want to reduce the risk of fireworks shooting through an open window or garage and exploding. It’s especially important to make sure you shut your garage doors before lighting off fireworks as there may be flammable liquids like gas and solvents stored in the garage that could potentially explode from an errant bottle rocket firing into your garage.

It’s also important to be aware of any cars, sheds, bushes, dry fields, trees, and other objects that could be at risk of catching on fire or exploding. If it has been especially dry, you need to be careful as to not shoot off fireworks around trees, forests, and fields that could catch on fire. This probably isn’t the case with the central Indiana area this year due to all of the rain but is still important to be aware of. 

Douse Spent Fireworks with Water Before Putting in Trash

A small ember inside a large firework can slowly burn for hours without anyone noticing. If you throw that large firework in the trash and go to bed, you could wake up to a literal dumpster fire. If you store your trash cans inside your garage, the damage from a trash fire could be much worse. While you are shooting off fireworks, be sure to place all the spent fireworks in a single pile on the ground or in a metal container that won’t catch fire. Some people even throw them all in a bucket of water after they have been shot off. Before you clean up and dump all the spent fireworks in your trash, it is important to wet them down. You can spray them on the ground with a hose or soak them in a bucket of water to ensure they are completely soaked with water and there isn’t a chance they could re-ignite. Even the smallest of fireworks and debris could be hot enough to ignite something in your garbage. 

Be Safe and Have a Great 4th of July. 

Follow the steps above and be extra careful around fireworks and you and your family should have a safe and happy 4th of July. If a fire should start, whether it’s in your yard or your home, don’t try to be a hero. Have a cell phone handy and ready to call 911 if things get out of hand. If a fire should occur, you can trust the fire damage restoration experts at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West to help clean up the damage and restore your home. From all of us at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West, we wish you a Happy 4th of July? Have fun and be safe. 

Electrical Safety Tips to Help Prevent House Fires

2/26/2019 (Permalink)

Electrical Safety Tips to Help Prevent House Fires

According to data from the NFPA, fire departments responded to an average of 45,000 home fires caused by electrical failure or malfunction every year between 2010-2014. In fact, home electrical fires are the most common fire in a home accounting for nearly 60% of all fires.

While you can’t prevent all electrical fires from occurring, there are a lot of things you can do to reduce the risk of an electrical fire happening at your Indianapolis home. Below we will cover some electrical safety tips you can follow that may help prevent an electrical fire from happening to you.

Protect Children from Exposed Outlets

If you have young children in your home, it’s important that you use child-proof outlet covers on unused receptacles. You can find outlet covers and tamper resistant outlets at your local hardware store. If you replace your standard outlets with tamper resistant outlets, be sure to hire a professional electrician to install them. Another tip to keep young kids away from outlets is to block access to the outlets using furniture like a couch or table or shelving.

Don’t Overload Outlets

Do you have an outlet that is powering a couple power strips and a dozen electronics? This can be dangerous. Don’t overload your outlets with too many powered electronics or appliances. Try to move some to another outlet. If you aren’t using an electrical appliance, like a blender or toaster, unplug it when you don’t need it. Overloading an outlet can trip the circuit or worse, it can lead to a fire.

Turn Off Appliances Before Turning Circuit Back On

If you do experience a tripped circuit from overloading an outlet or a power surge, be sure to turn off any appliances that the circuit is powering. Also, unplug anything that is powered by the circuit. Once you have flipped the circuit back on, you can then turn on the appliances or the electronics that the circuit is powering.

Check Cords and Plugs

Over time cords can kink, tear and fray. A small fray in a cord can cause sparks which can lead to a fire pretty quickly. Make it a habit of always taking a look at any cords or power outlets that you are near. Not only make sure that the cords are in good condition but that the plugs are plugged into the outlets all the way. A loose plug on an outlet can also cause sparks or a short which can cause an electrical fire.

Light Bulb Safety

Light bulbs are the most commonly used electrical item in a home. With light bulbs located in every room of your home, it’s important to follow a few tips to ensure they don’t become a fire hazard. Always use the recommended wattage of bulb for each fixture. Using a higher wattage bulb can cause the fixture to overheat. Be careful with light bulbs near curtains or other fabric. The fabric can be blown on top of the bulb which can quickly lead to a fire.

If You Should Suffer a Fire, Contact the Professionals

Following the above tips should help reduce the risk of a house fire, but it can’t eliminate the risk. If you should suffer from a house fire, call the fire damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. They have the knowledge, expertise, and equipment to handle any size disaster. From fire damage to water damage to mold damage and more, they have the skills and expertise to clean up the mess, fix the damage, and return your home back to normal. Give them a call any time and any day for your fire, water and mold damage problems.

Space Heater Safety Tips

1/14/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Indianapolis West

Unfortunately, each year many homes in Indianapolis catch fire causing death and serious injury to people. Some of these home fires are caused by space heaters and alternative heating methods. Often, these fires can be avoided with better preparedness and using greater caution.

One main reason space heaters produce fires, is that they're placed too close to flammable objects in the home, such as furniture, bedding, mattresses, and clothing. Wiring and insufficient maintenance is another top reason for heater malfunctions. 

Dangerous & Convenient

Many people use space heaters to heat their homes or to warm areas that lack sufficient heat, like a bathroom or spare bedroom. Electric space heaters can help warm a room quickly. However, they can be as dangerous as convenient if used improperly. 

Think Safety First

Caution should be used no matter what system or device is used to heat your home. Not all homes are equipped with a central HVAC system and alternative heating methods are sometimes needed, such as space heaters, wood-burning stoves, and fireplaces. 

Things to Avoid When Using Space Heaters

Never use an extension cord or power strip with space heaters. Always plug them directly into a wall outlet. Space heaters pull a lot of power and can quickly overheat a power strip or extension cord which can result in a home fire.

Home Heating Safety Tips

1. NEVER use an oven or stove to heat your home.
2. Keep heaters away from where children and pets could play with them.
3. Space heaters and candles should NEVER be left unattended or used overnight. 
4. If possible, only use space heaters that shut off automatically if tipped.
5. Place all heaters on a level, hard surface with a minimum of three to four feet clearance of any combustible materials.
6. Never place heaters in a doorway or in high-traffic areas where they can be tripped over or knocked down.
7. Test the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
8. Develop a fire escape plan and practice it with everyone who lives in the home.
9. Designate a safe place for everyone to meet away from the house if a fire was to occur.

Indianapolis Home Fire Safety Tips for Fire Prevention Month

10/17/2018 (Permalink)

Indianapolis Home Fire Safety Tips for Fire Prevention Month

October is officially Fire Prevention Month and to recognize this month at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West, we’d like to offer these fire safety tips for your Indianapolis home.

Check Your Smoke Alarms

Your smoke alarms should be checked on a monthly basis, so if you’ve missed a few months then now is a great time to check them. Most smoke alarms have a button that you press and hold until they go off. If they do not go off, then replace the battery with a new one and test again. If it still doesn’t work, then purchase a new smoke alarm. Smoke alarms should be placed at every level of your home, in every bedroom, and outside every bedroom.

Practice a Fire Escape Drill with Your Family

It’s important to not only have a fire escape plan for your family but to practice it on a regular basis. Practice what to do if a fire should occur on every level of your home. You and your family need more than one escape plan. This could be running out through doors or climbing out through windows. When planning and practicing a fire escape plan, you also need to designate a meeting place outside the home where everyone will meet.

Clean Out Dryer Vent

While you should be cleaning the lint trap every time you run your dryer, you need to clean out the dryer vent tubing at least once a year. Your dryer vent is the tubing that runs from your dryer to the exterior wall where it exits out of your home. Over time, lint and dust can build up inside the tubing and eventually clog. Dryer lint is extremely flammable and if it is allowed to build up, the heat from your dryer can ignite it causing a fire. To clean out the dryer vent tube, you will most likely have to pull out the dryer and remove the tube. While this may take a little time, reducing the risk of a fire happening is worth it in the end.

Check Your Furnace Filter

With the cold season upon us, it’s important to check your furnace filter and replace it if it is dirty and clogged. With a clogged filter, your furnace will have to work overtime to heat your home during the cold season. This not only will increase your heating bill and put undue stress on your furnace, but it could also increase the risk of a fire occurring from the excess dust in the filter. When checking your filter, be sure to make sure your furnace and blower are turned off. Replacing the furnace filter is an easy and quick task that can save you money and reduce the risks of fire.

Check Your Electrical Outlets

If you have computers, televisions, and other electronics throughout your home; it’s a good idea to check all the plugs, wires and outlets for any potential problems. Problems that could lead to a potential fire include frayed wires, loose plugs, and overloaded outlets. These problems can cause sparks or overheating which can quickly cause a house fire. It’s also a good idea to dust off or vacuum up any dust and/or dirt around the outlets. While it’s not always ideal, you don’t want any fabrics or boxes covering up your outlets. Ideally, outlets should be clear of any potentially flammable materials like couches, curtains, storage boxes, stuffed animals, and mattresses.

Use Space Heaters Responsibly

With the cold weather upon us in Indiana, many of you may be pulling out the space heaters from storage and running them. Before you plug the space heater in, you want to check the cord, plug, and heater for any damages. If there are frays in the cord or broken parts on the heater, it’s best to toss it and get another one. Also, be sure to blow or vacuum out any dust in the coils and intake before starting it. Once you start the heater, you will want to observe it while it heats up to make sure it is operating properly. As far as placing your space heater in your room, you want to make sure there is plenty of space between the heater and any furniture, walls, and objects. When you leave the room, it’s always best to turn off the space heater to reduce the risk of a fire occurring. A blanket or drape blown onto the space heater can heat up very quickly and easily ignite within minutes.

When Fires Do Happen

Even with taking all the proper steps to prevent a fire from happening at your home, fires can happen. When they do happen, SERVPRO of Indianapolis West can help clean up the fire and smoke damage and return your home back to normal. Whether it’s the middle of the night or during a holiday, SERVPRO of Indianapolis West is available 24/7 for any home emergency fire cleanup and restoration. Hopefully, you’ve read and followed all the fire prevention tips above. These tips will not only help reduce the risk of a fire happening at your Indianapolis home, but they will also prepare you and your family on what to do if one should occur.       

The Facts About Indiana House Fires

8/28/2018 (Permalink)

The Facts About Indiana House Fires

With the recent strong storms, you may have seen stories on the local news about homes catching on fire from lightning strikes. While that is possible, lightning accounts for a very small percentage of house fires. Lightning is still dangerous and you should definitely take cover if it is near, there are other areas and parts of your home that you should keep an eye on as common culprits of Indiana house fires.

In the article below we will go over statistics on house fires as reported in the U.S. Fire Administration's National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) by the fire departments throughout the country. The stats come from the residential fire incident reports from 2013-2015.

Residential Fires are the Second Most Common Fire

Residential fires, which include single-family homes, apartments, and condos, account for 30% of all fires reported. Businesses account for 8% and vehicles account for 15%, while outside fires (forest fires, grass fires, etc.) accounted for 41% of all fires. While home fires accounted for only 30% of all fires, they resulted in the most injuries, deaths, and dollar loss from property damage.

The Leading Cause of House Fires

Have you ever left something on the stove for too long that resulted in a small confined fire? Apparently, many of us have by the stats from the U.S. Fire Administration’s report. Cooking fires accounted for an astounding 50% of all house fires that occurred between 2013-2015. Cooking fires originated in ovens, on stovetops, and in microwaves. Most of these fires were contained to the food container (skillet, pot, cooking sheet) and were extinguished before the fire had time to spread.

The second leading cause of house fires is from heating equipment. Heating equipment includes space heaters, furnaces, fireplaces, wood stoves, and radiators. These fires account for close to 12% of all house fires. These fires, like cooking fires, can be easily prevented by not leaving a fire in a fireplace or wood stove unattended and keeping flammable objects at least three feet away from heat sources. If you use space heaters, be sure to turn them off before leaving the room or going to sleep.

Other leading causes of house fires include appliance fires, candles, smoking, and electrical malfunctions. All of these together only account for 16% of all fires. Fires from smoking and candles are usually due to carelessness while appliance and electrical fires are due to damaged equipment or overloaded circuits. With appliances and electronics, it’s always good to check the cords for damage or frays. Also, never overload a wall outlet with an excessive amount of appliances and equipment.

The Spread of Fires in Homes

Fortunately, most fires in homes are discovered quickly and extinguished before they spread. Around 55% of all fires are contained to the object that the fire originated at. This could be a pot or an appliance or a piece of fabric like a table cover or chair. While the fire damage is usually limited to the object, the smoke damage can still be substantial. Fires that take over a whole room account for 20% of all fires while fires that take over a whole home account for 17% of all fires. These fires are the most devastating to property and to the health of the occupants.

Be Safe in Your Home with Working Smoke Alarms

One of the keys to catching a fire early and extinguishing it before it has caused extensive damage is to have properly working smoke alarms located throughout your home. According to the report, smoke alarms were only present in 43% of nonconfined house fires. Nonconfined fires are fires that spread from their original confined source i.e. cooking pot. While smoke alarms will not prevent a fire, they serve as an early warning device to alert the occupants that a fire is occurring. A smoke alarm gives them time to either extinguish the confined fire or evacuate and call the fire department if the fire is nonconfined.

It a Fire Should Occur at Your Indiana Home, Call the Fire Restoration Professionals

Even a small little kitchen fire can cause a lot of smoke damage. Whether you have experienced a small fire or an extensive fire, the fire restoration experts at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West can help clean up, repair and get your home back to normal as quickly as possible. They have the tools, equipment, and know-how to handle smoke damage, water damage, mold damage and fire damage -- all of which can occur from a house fire. Whether a fire happens during the day or in the middle of the night, you can call SERVPRO of Indianapolis West 24/7 to handle your home’s emergency.

Terms You May Hear After A Fire

7/26/2018 (Permalink)

Call SERVPRO of Indianapolis West for fire and water cleanup and restoration.

Industry Terms For Fire Damage

If you experience a fire, whether as a homeowner or in the commercial environment, you may hear many different terms you’re not familiar with. We’d like to familiarize you with some of the terms we use in the restoration industry, so that you can better understand what’s being said and what’s happening.

SERVPRO of Indianapolis West thrives on transparency and open communication for the Property Owner to better understand the restoration process. We will always communicate with you throughout the process, so that you feel comfortable with each and every step.  

Fire Damage: This is a general term meaning that fire was the source of the loss.

IICRC Training and Certification: The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification. The (IICRC) certifies and sets the standards for the cleaning and restoration industries. SERVPRO of Indianapolis West is an IICRC certified firm.

Stabilizing the Structure: This is typically done by the Fire Department after fighting the fire. We need to be sure the structure is safe for our technicians to begin the cleanup and remediation process.

Roof Tarping: The Fire Department will often vent the roof of a structure fire to help in their efforts to control and extinguish the blaze. To vent the roof they use an ax or saw to cut a hole in the roof. We use a thick, weatherproof tarp to cover any holes in the roof to minimize secondary damage from precipitation or animals.

Board-Up: We use strong plywood to cover any broken windows or doors that cannot be locked. This is done to preserve the structure and to keep the home safe from possible break-ins and exposure to the outside environment.  

Secondary Damage: This is the damage created by the corrosive nature of substances released by the heat and fire. Often the secondary damages can account for the majority of damage to a home or business.

Pre-Loss Condition: This means to return the property to its original state before the fire or water damage occurred. “Like it never even happened.”

Demo or Demolition: When material has experienced permanent damage and cannot be cleaned or restored, it is then removed and disposed of but ONLY with the owners permission.

Air Scrubber: A portable filtration system that removes particles, gases and /or chemicals from the air within a given space.

HEPA Filter: HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Absorber. An air cleansing machine.

Structural Damage: This is the damage that affects the core-integrity of your home or business. These areas consist of your roof, framing and load-bearing walls.

Contents: Imagine turning your house upside down and taking off the roof, anything that would fall out is considered contents. Furniture, clothing, and personal items.


Pack-out: When necessary our crews carefully remove all contents and move them to our warehouse where they are inventoried, cleaned and restored. This allows for better access to clean and restore the home and eliminates the possibility of secondary damage during the restoration process.

Common Damages to Indianapolis Homes After a Fire

7/24/2018 (Permalink)

Common Damages to Indianapolis Homes After a Fire

It’s usually not the actual fire that does the most damage to a home from a house fire. What causes the most damage to homes that suffered a fire is the smoke from the fire and the water from the firefighters. Below we will cover common damages that occur in a home after a fire.

Where You’ll Find Most Damage from a Fire

Obviously, you’ll find the most damage to a home at the source of the fire. In the case of a stovetop fire, this would be around the range hood, back wall, and ceiling above. In the case of a space heater igniting a curtain, the damage would be around the curtain and on the ceiling above the curtain.

While there will be flame damage right near the source, the majority of the damage will be from the smoke of the fire. If you’ve ever blown out a candle or roasted marshmallows over an open fire, you’ll know that smoke rises. When a fire occurs in your home, the smoke will also rise up and to the ceiling. If the fire is near a wall you might see discoloration up the wall with most of the discoloration right above the source of the fire on the ceiling.

As the fire continues to create more smoke, the smoke will spread across the ceiling and look for a place to escape and go higher. This could be up a stairwell or through ceiling vents. If the smoke has no place to go any higher, it will start to build up and start to come down closer to the floor like a fog. With smoke having the tendency to go up, this is why they say to get nearest to the ground when escaping a fire since there is usually less smoke.

The last area where you’ll most of the smoke damage from a fire is around windows and doors. As the smoke builds up in a house, it looks for the easiest place to escape outside. While this could be a chimney, smoke will also slip out through any cracks or drafts in windows and doors. In homes that suffer a lot of damage, you’ll usually find heavy discolorations around drafty doors and windows.

The Two Variables That Can Spread the Smoke Even Further

While we’ve discussed the typical behavior of smoke from a fire and where you’ll typically find the most damage, there are two variables that can change the behavior of the smoke and help carry it and the damage it causes even further throughout your home. The two things that can help spread the smoke even further are your ceiling fans and your central HVAC system. If your ceiling fans are on or your HVAC blower is on, then the smoke can be blown and carried throughout the house.

If your HVAC system is running then the smoke will most likely enter through the return vents and be spread throughout the duct system. This will not only carry the smoke and the smoke damage throughout the house, it will also cause smoke damage to your ducts. Your ducts might have dust throughout the system which can absorb the smoke meaning every time your air conditioner or heater turns on, you’ll smell the residual smoke for weeks and months after the fire. To remove the smoke from your ducts and HVAC system, you’ll need to have them professionally cleaned.

Battling Discoloration and Odor from Smoke

As you’ve read above, the most damaging part of a fire is usually the smoke. Smoke can discolor any surfaces it comes into contact with. This can include ceilings, walls, and floors but also furniture, clothes, toys, and other household objects. The smoke can seep through every little tiny crack and space discoloring everything in its path.

The second thing that smoke can do to many surfaces of your home is leave an odor. While surfaces that are smooth and not porous can be cleaned easily, the smoke odor can easily embed into porous surfaces like fabric furniture, clothes, curtains, carpets, sheets, electronics and non-sealed wood.

How to Clean Up Fire and Smoke Damage

Cleaning up after a fire, even a small one, isn’t as easy as cleaning up a spilled glass of liquid off the floor. Due to the chemical properties of fire and smoke, removing the discoloration can be difficult if not impossible in some situations. Removing the smoke odor can be even more difficult especially when dealing with electronics, fabric furniture, carpeting, and clothes.

The best step to take if you should regrettably experience a fire in your Indianapolis-area home is to call the fire damage repair and restoration experts at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. They have the knowledge and equipment to remove all the fire and smoke damage and restore your home to how it was prior to the fire. They are a trusted leader in the restoration industry that business owners and homeowners have turned to for years restore and repair their property.

Reduce the Risk of Injury and Fire with These Fireworks Safety Tips

6/26/2018 (Permalink)

Reduce the Risk of Injury and Fire with These Fireworks Safety Tips

It’s that time of year again when the warm summer night air is filled with the sounds of crickets, locusts, bird chirps, and Boom!..fireworks. While the 4th of July is only one day and one night, the lighting of fireworks seems to be a Summer long ritual. And with the lighting of fireworks comes the dangers of fireworks. From personal injuries to roofs on fire, there are a lot of risks when it comes to lighting and enjoying fireworks in the Summer.

In the article below, we will cover the dangers and associated risks of fireworks and how to reduce those risks. Every year, thousands of people injured and property is damaged due to fires.  So whether you’re enjoying the fireworks or lighting them, be careful and be safe this 4th of July and beyond.

Fireworks are Fire Starters

According to the NFPA, fireworks start an average of 18,500 fire each year resulting in $43 million dollars in property damage. Many of these fires are preventable. When setting off fireworks, keep a safe distance from any structure like a home or building. Make sure you always have some water or an extinguisher on hand in case a fire happens. Many home and structure fires are a result of airborne fireworks, like Roman Candles, landing on roofs and structures where they can spark a fire.

Fireworks can also cause grass, brush and forest fires. If you live in an area that has been suffering a drought, it’s usually best not to light fireworks off as brush fires can start very easily. If you are lighting fireworks off the ground, do it on concrete or dirt rather than dry grass or fields. Brush fires can quickly get out of hand and lead to even further damage as the fires reach homes and vehicles.

Vehicle fires are another common risk when fireworks are being set off. Never shoot fireworks at a car or vehicle. Also, be sure that all vehicles are a safe distance from where the fireworks are being set off to reduce the risk of a stray firework or ember hitting a car. It’s also advisable to keep your car window and doors shut to prevent any stray ember from floating into your car and starting a blaze.

Fireworks Can Hurt You

While fireworks can be loud and beautiful and amazing, they can also be very painful and even deadly. In 2015, emergency rooms treated 11,900 people for injuries from fireworks. Many of these injuries were to arms and legs that resulted in third-degree burns but in the worst cases, people suffered lost fingers and severe damage to limbs.

When lighting fireworks, always make sure kids and adults are a safe distance away from the area where the fireworks are being set off. While kids love sparklers, the sparklers can very quickly burn kids and ignite clothing. The firework that is the most misused if the bottle rocket. Teens and even adults have been known to have bottle rocket wars where they aim the bottle rockets at each other. Over the years, this has resulted in a multitude of injuries including severe head and eye injuries.

The other common injury that hospitals see year after year is from people holding Roman Candles in their hands. Often the Roman Candles do not work as intended and instead blow up in the person’s hand resulting in severe injuries. If you do set off fireworks, always follow the directions and do not misuse them. Also, be sure that they are set off away from any people and aimed towards the sky. With a little common sense, you can have a safe and happy evening setting off and watching fireworks.

Some Final Tips for a Safe 4th of July

It takes just one firework and one mistake to ruin a night and someone's property or even life. Here are some quick tips to follow to ensure that you and your family have a safe and wonderful 4th of July:

  • Always light fireworks away from people, buildings, and cars.
  • Never set off fireworks inside.
  • Keep some water or an extinguisher nearby.
  • Never let kids play with fireworks.
  • Use fireworks as intended.
  • Never try to relight a bad or “dud” firework.
  • Don’t launch fireworks towards people or structures.
  • Don’t set off fireworks while impaired.

From all of us at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West, have a happy and safe 4th of July. While we are experts at fire damage cleanup and restoration, we hope we don’t have to use our expertise to restore a home or building because of someone misusing fireworks. Be safe and have a great Summer.   

How to Get Smoke Out of Your Indianapolis House After a Fire

4/30/2018 (Permalink)

How to Get Smoke Out of Your Indianapolis House After a Fire

Almost everyday homes throughout the Indianapolis area experience an accidental fire inside their homes. Many times it’s a kitchen meal gone bad with a flame up on the cooktop or something that is cooked “well done” in the oven. Sometimes it’s a candle that someone forgot to blow out before leaving the room.

Luckily, most of these fires are extinguished quickly and result in little damage from the actual fire. Unfortunately, the smoke from these fires is what causes the most damage to Indianapolis homes. So what is one to do if they should experience a fire in their home that causes a lot of smoke? Below we cover what to do and what not to do.

#1 Remove the Cause of the Smoke

Only do this if it is safe. If you have burnt something in the oven, take it to the nearest door and put it outside. The item is most likely extinguished but may continue to let off smoke for a while.

Do not put the smoking item outside if it isn’t extinguished completely and don’t take it outside if you have to go through several rooms to get outside. You want to isolate the smoke rather than spread it throughout your home. If you don’t remove the burned item immediately, do it once it has cooled down.

#2 Open All Nearby Windows

Wherever the smoke has occurred, you want to immediately open any nearby windows to allow the smoke to blow out and fresh air to flow in.

You don’t want to open windows in rooms or areas where there is no smoke because this could cause the smoke to flow throughout your home and exit the opened windows. Again, you want to isolate the smoke to the area it occurred which brings us to the next important step.

#3 Turn Off Any Ceiling Fans and HVAC System

To help reduce the smoke from spreading throughout your home, you want to turn off any ceiling fans in the affected area. You also want to turn off your HVAC unit as it can funnel the smoke through your air ducts and into the rest of your home. This can result in not only having to deal with smoke cleanup in other rooms but throughout your air ducts also.

If you have box fans, you will want to put these in your open windows and turn them on to pull the smoke out of your home more quickly.

#4 Wipe Down Any Solid Non-Porous Surfaces

If you have granite countertops or dishes or glass windows, you can wipe them down with a cleaning solution to remove any soot or burnt particulates that gathered on the surface.

Be careful about scratching glass or other easily scratchable surfaces if the soot is very grainy. Even the smallest of particles can cause a scratch if you aren’t careful. If you are worried about damaging a solid surface, always err on the safe side and have a professional smoke remediation expert clean it.

#5 Do Not Wipe Down Porous Surfaces

The smoke from the fire most likely caused some discoloration on the ceiling about the fire and on the walls nearby. The smoke could have also gathered in the corners of the room causing discoloration there.

While it may seem that wiping down the ceilings and walls would be easy to do, most people actually make it worse due to the porous nature of walls and ceilings. Rather than removing the soot and smoke discolorations, wiping it down could smear the soot and embed it further into the surface creating a bigger mess.

#6 Call the Smoke Damage Repair and Restoration Experts

If you have ceilings and walls and sometimes wood floors that are discolored from the smoke and soot, it’s best to call the smoke damage repair experts at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. They have the tools and the expertise to safely and effectively remove the smoke damage and restore it back to new.

If you should suffer extensive smoke and/or fire damage, they can most definitely help get your home cleaned up, repaired and restored as quickly as possible. They have dealt with all types of fire and smoke damage, and are ready to help you if you need them.



What To Do After a Home Fire

1/22/2018 (Permalink)

Indianapolis House Fire

While we all hope we never have to suffer through the experience of a house fire, it is important to know what to do if one should happen. Obviously, the first thing you should do is ensure the fire has been extinguished completely.

This can be done by someone in the home if the fire is small and can be put out easily and safely. Or by the fire department if the fire is too big and dangerous to safely extinguish by the homeowner. It’s important to note that it’s always best to call the fire department right as soon as a fire is spotted and to get everyone out of the home quickly and safely.

The Fire is Out. Now What?

While you may be anxious to start cleaning after a fire, you may be doing more damage than good. Normal household cleaners can be ineffective at removing soot and smoke -- and could even make it worse. It’s best to contact fire damage repair and restoration professionals, like those at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West, to get advice on what needs to be done and what not to do.

Fire damage repair and restoration professionals will be able to tell you what can be cleaned, what can be repaired, and what needs to be replaced. They will be able to give you estimates on what services need to be done in order to remove all fire and smoke damage, including smoke odors, from your home.

Airing and Drying Things Out

One of the first things a fire repair company will do is get the smoke and moisture out of the air. This can be done with fans and dehumidifiers. Once the fire is out and you’re allowed to go back inside, you can open some windows near where the fire occurred to help start airing the smoke out of the house.

The other concern is water damage to your carpets and floors. This is usually a result of the fire department extinguishing the fire. If your carpets and floors are wet, it’s important to remove the water and moisture and quickly as possible. If not dried out, carpets and floors can occur further damage from mold and mildew.

Professional fire damage repair companies will usually vacuum out as much water as possible and then use fans and dehumidifiers to dry the carpets and floors out. They may also pull up the carpets to help dry out the padding underneath.

Battling Soot Before It Causes Worse Damage

Soot can be a huge menace to carpets, drapes, and upholstery. It can easily stain fabrics and cause further staining using standard cleaning materials. The soot must be removed before using fabric cleaners. It’s also important to limit traffic across carpet and floors that have soot on it. 

Dealing With Smoke Odor In Fabrics

One of the most difficult things to get out of fabrics and porous materials is the smoke odor. Smoke odor can adhere to carpets, dust in air ducts, drapes, and furniture. Normal household cleaners and detergents usually won’t remove all of the smoke odors. To remove the smoke odors many times require special counteractants that are formulated to break up the smoke molecules in the fabrics and materials.

A professional fire repair company will be able to help with that. They will be able to apply these chemical and/or additive counteractants to carpets, fabrics and other porous materials to break up the smoke molecules. Once they are broken up, then they can be professionally cleaned.

Sometimes ozone treatments are needed to break up the smoke molecules and remove the odors. This is usually done with ozone generators which be dangerous if misused. Ozone treatments are another of many tools and treatments that a fire repair company will be able to help with if needed.

Treating Discolored Walls and Ceilings

Removing soot from walls and ceilings is another difficult task that is best left up to a professional. Professional fire damage repair companies will have the right tools and treatments to remove the soot without causing further damage or stains. Many will use special sponges to remove the soot. Others will use non-water based cleaners to remove the soot. Again when dealing with smoke and soot stains on walls and ceilings it’s best to consult a professional fire damage repair company.

Call the Fire Damage Experts for Fast Cleanup and Restoration

When dealing with fire and smoke damage, it’s always best to leave it to the experts at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West to handle the cleanup and restoration. The professionals at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West have the expertise and experience to handle home and commercial fire damage.  If you should suffer from a fire, contact SERVPRO of Indianapolis West online or call them at 317-243-3149.

How Does Smoke Damage a Home’s Interior

1/21/2018 (Permalink)

Cleaning Smoke Damage

While the flames of a house fire can definitely be damaging to a home and can ultimately destroy a home, it is the smoke from a house fire that leads to the most damage in most house fires.

Most house fires are usually extinguished quickly either by the homeowner or the fire department resulting in minimal damage from the flames of a fire. For example, a common house fire that occurs quite often is a kitchen fire. This is usually a result of burning food in the oven or on the stovetop. These fires are usually put out very quickly resulting in minimal damage from the flames but a lot of damage from the smoke.

So how does smoke damage a home’s interior? What are the contents of smoke? How does smoke spread? And how do you remove smoke damage and odor from a home? Below we answer all these questions to help you better understand how smoke from a house fire damages your home’s interior and how to remediate it.

What Is In Smoke?

Smoke is made up of many particulates dependent on the material that is burning. It also contains aerosols and gases. The particulates can include carbon soot, dust, and fibers. The aerosols can include hydrocarbons like oils and tars. Gases in smoke can include carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen sulfide, and benzene.

When smoke comes into contact with your home’s contents, it can cause discoloration and odor. What you may not know is that the smokes ingredients can also cause further damage and degradation to your home’s contents over time. That’s why it’s important to call fire remediation professionals like those at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West.

Smoke Travels Quickly

The other damaging effect of smoke from a house fire is that is can travel far and also permeate many of your home’s contents like electronics, drywall, ceilings, fabric furniture, clothes, and carpets. As noted previously, the contents of the smoke can discolor and cause lasting odors in many of your home’s contents.

If you experience a small fire, it’s best to try to open a nearby window to air out the smoke to reduce the potential damages to your home. If you have a ceiling fan on, air conditioner running, or heater running, you may want to turn them off so the smoke isn’t carried throughout your home.

What To Do If You Experience A Fire?

As you can see, the smoke from a house fire can be particularly damaging to your home’s interior and its contents. Due to the nature of smoke being able to penetrate many of the surfaces and contents of your home, normal cleaning materials may not be fully effective. Residual smoke and soot can lead to lingering odors, discoloration of your walls and ceilings, and degradation of the internals of your electronics. That’s why it’s important to call the fire damage experts at SERVRPRO of Indianapolis West as soon as possible.

If you should suffer from a house fire, even if it’s a small kitchen fire, contact SERVPRO of Indianapolis West online or call them at 317-243-3149. The will clean up and restore the damage as if it never happened.

Top 8 Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Fire During the Holidays

11/20/2017 (Permalink)

Top Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Fire During the Holidays

While the holidays are usually full of joy and happiness in homes throughout Indiana, they, unfortunately, are also at a higher risk of home fires.

Fires in homes are most common during the holidays and can quickly put on damper on the holiday mood. But there are things that you can do to reduce the risk of a fire happening in your home and causing extensive damage. This season, follow these top tips for a safe and happy holidays:

  1. Keep Your Christmas Tree Watered

    While Christmas tree fires are rare, they can cause extensive damage when they do. If you have a real Christmas tree, be sure to keep it watered the entire time. A dry Christmas tree can be engulfed in flames in less than a minute.
  2. Don’t Leave Candles Burning Unattended

    Tis the season for candles of all kinds, all sizes, all fragrances. If you love the smell of a fragrant burning candle during the holiday season, always be sure to blow it out before leaving the room or going to sleep. Most candle fires happen in the bedroom where the homeowners fall asleep with a burning candle which ignites the curtains or bed sheets or burns downs and ignites the surface it was on. Never leave a burning candle unattended. Also, make sure the candle is far enough away from anything that can catch fire.
  3. Check Holidays Lights for Broken Bulbs and Frayed Wires

    When hanging up the holiday lights, be sure to check the entire strand of lights for broken bulbs and frayed wires before hanging and turning them on. Older lights get much hotter than the newer LED lights, especially the larger ones, so be sure to keep them away from any flammable materials like fabrics or dry Christmas trees.
  4. Do Not Overload Electrical Outlets

    With all the lights to hang, it’s easy to overload your electrical outlets. Most outside electrical outlets are ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets which will cut the power to the outlet if overloaded or there is an electrical short in the lights. If your lights are tripping the outlet, you may either have a frayed wire or a broken bulb or you are overloading the outlet with too many strands of lights. Overloading a non-GFCI outlet inside can lead to an electrical short and fire which is why it’s very important to never overload a single outlet with too many strands of lights.
  5. Keep Pets Away from Holiday Lights and Trees

    If you have cats or dogs that like to climb and chew on things, be sure to keep an eye on them around your Christmas tree and holiday lights. An animal chewing on a wire or breaking a bulb could not only electrocute and kill your beloved pet but also cause a fire. If you do find them chewing on the wires or climbing through the tree, you might want to consider locking them in a safer room or training them not to mess with the tree or lights.
  6. Deep Fry your Turkey with Extreme Care

    If you choose to deep fry your turkey this Thanksgiving or holiday season, do so with extreme care. Make sure the deep fryer is at least 10 feet away from your home and any structure. Make sure the deep fryer is on a flat surface where it won’t tip over easily. Have a fire extinguisher that is approved for grease fires nearby in case a fire does occur.
  7. Never Leave Your Kitchen While Cooking

    Whether you’re baking cookies and holiday treats or preparing for a huge holiday dinner, your kitchen will probably be busy this holiday season. With so much happening in the kitchen during this festive time of the year, it should come as no surprise that kitchen fires are the most common house fire during the holidays. To reduce the risk of a kitchen fire, it’s always a good idea to have someone in the kitchen at all times when baking or cooking. Also, before you start cooking your big holiday meals be sure that you have a working fire extinguisher in your kitchen. When using your stove or cooktop, be sure that any flammable materials, like towels, are not near the hot surfaces.
  8. Test Your Smoke Alarms

    Last but not least, walk test all of your smoke alarms. You want to be sure they are installed on every level of your home. It doesn’t hurt to install an extra one near your Christmas tree if one isn’t there. A smoke alarm can alert you quickly when a fire starts and can mean the difference between a little smoke damage and catastrophic damage.

If a Fire Should Occur, Call the Fire Damage Experts

While we hope this holiday season is a joyous occasion, if you should suffer a home fire or even suffer from smoke damage from a small kitchen fire, call SERVPRO of Indianapolis West immediately. The fire damage repair and restoration experts of SERVPRO of Indianapolis West have the expertise and equipment to quickly clean and restore your home as if nothing ever happened. You can contact them online or call them at 317-243-3149.

Top 10 Tips to Reduce the Risk of Home Fires

10/26/2017 (Permalink)

Top 10 Tips to Reduce the Risk of Home Fires

While October is Fire Prevention Month, there are many things you can do every month to reduce the risk of a fire happening in your Indianapolis home. We’ve compiled these top 10 home fire safety tips that you can follow now and throughout the year. If you do, however, suffer a home fire, you can call the fire damage repair and restoration experts at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West.

Top 10 Home Fire Safety Tips for your Indianapolis Home

1. Test Your Smoke Alarms Monthly

Hold down the test button and wait a few seconds for the alarm to activate. If it doesn’t activate, replace the batteries. Some of the newer smoke alarms have 10-year lithium batteries. These smoke alarms should be replaced completely every 10-years.

2. Install Smoke Alarms In Every Bedroom

If a fire should start in a bedroom where you are sleeping, you want a smoke alarm to go off as quickly as possible to increase the chance of escaping without harm.

3. Install Smoke Alarms at Every Level

Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of a home, including the basement. Beyond installing one on every level and in every bedroom, you should also consider installing smoke alarms in areas that are at higher risk of fire. These higher fire risk areas include a laundry room, kitchen and furnace room.  

4. Keep Bedroom Doors Closed when Sleeping

If a fire should start outside your bedroom, you want to lower the risk of smoke inhalation by keeping your door closed while sleeping. By closing your bedroom door, the smoke alarm located nearest to the fire should wake you up before smoke has had a chance to infiltrate your bedroom.

5. Create and Practice Fire Escape Plan

If a fire should start at the bottom of the stairs, how will your family escape from a fire? If a fire is blocking the door, where do you go to escape? It’s important to not only create a fire escape plan but to practice it with your family.

6. Have a Fire Extinguisher in Your Kitchen

If a fire should start on your stove top, how will you put it out? It’s important to have a working fire extinguisher located in your kitchen. It’s best to place the fire extinguisher away from the higher risk fire areas like the oven and stove top.

7. Check and Clean Out Your Dryer Vent Annually

While it may be a pain to remove the dryer vent hose and clean it out, it can greatly reduce the risk of a fire from the accumulated dryer lint in the dryer vent.

8. Make Sure Your Chimney Damper is Open Before Starting Fire

With the cold weather upon us, many homes are lighting up their fireplaces for the first time this season. Before you strike the match or turn the gas on, make sure that your chimney damper is open. Too often, people light their first fire in their fireplace only to see smoke billowing out into their home causing extensive home damage.

9. Keep Candles One Foot Away from Flammable Materials

Candles are romantic. They’re also a common culprit of house fires. If you do light candles in your home, make sure that you keep them at least one foot away from anything that can burn. Also, never leave a room where a candle is burning without extinguishing it first.

10. Install Carbon Monoxide Alarms on Every Level of Home

Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that can quickly kill you. By simply installing a carbon monoxide alarm on every level of your home, you can greatly reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

What to Do If a Fire Should Occur

Even the small of home fires can cause extensive damage to a home. While the flames of a small fire may not cause much damage, the resulting smoke can quickly spread throughout the house causing smoke damage to furniture, clothes, electronics, carpets, and more.

If you should suffer from a house fire, it’s important to call the fire and smoke damage restoration experts of SERVPRO of Indianapolis West immediately. We will work right away to identify the steps to clean and restore your home while taking steps to prevent any unnecessary further damage from occurring.

Call SERVPRO of Indianapolis West at 317-243-3149 to start taking the appropriate steps to clean and restore your home.

How to Clean Smoke Damage on Walls and Ceilings from Your Indianapolis Home

8/31/2017 (Permalink)

How to Clean Smoke Damage on Walls and Ceilings from Your Indianapolis Home

Cleaning smoke stains off walls and ceilings can be a difficult task. Even if the fire was minor like a cooking fire, the smoke can quickly discolor your ceilings and walls. Since smoke rises, the smoke usually damages your ceilings first as the smoke spreads across the ceiling leaving smoke residue. While smoke can usually be cleaned easily off metal and smooth surfaces like counters and ovens, ceilings and walls are not so easy to clean.

The Difficulty of Cleaning Smoke from Walls and Ceilings

The problem with smoke damage on walls and ceilings is that they are not completely smooth and usually quite porous. This means that smoke can penetrate the walls and ceiling making the removal and cleanup very difficult with standard cleaning supplies. With ceilings, many homes have textured ceilings like popcorn ceilings which make the cleaning even more difficult. Even if your ceilings are completely smooth and painted with glossy paint, cleaning them can be awkward leaving you with sore arms and a sore back before you’re halfway through cleaning them.

Smoke Spreads Quickly Through a Home

Even with a little great fire on your stove top, the smoke from the fire can spread quickly throughout your home beyond the kitchen walls and ceiling. If your central air conditioner or heat is running, the smoke can spread through the vents causing smoke damage in other rooms. The smoke residue can stick to the air ducts constantly reminding you of the fire every time your air conditioner or heater turns on.

The worst outcome is when smoke spreads to your furniture, drapes, clothes, carpets and other cloth items in your home. Getting smoke out of cloth fabrics can sometimes be as easy as washing them but most often require further commercial grade cleaning and deodorizing. Smoke can also penetrate electronics and appliances. With electronics, you can’t use any household cleaners or sponges as they will further damage the electronics. So what is one to do if you suffer smoke damage in your Indianapolis home?

How to Clean and Remove Smoke Damage from Your Home

Whether your home suffered extensive fire and smoke damage or just minor, the best thing to do is call professional fire damage restoration experts like those at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. Using household cleaners won’t usually work and sometimes can make the damage and stains even worse. At SERVPRO of Indianapolis West, they have the experience, expertise, commercial grade cleaners and tools to properly and effectively remove any fire or smoke damage and restore your home as if nothing ever happened. Call SERVPRO of Indianapolis West today at 317-243-3149 to learn how we can help with fire, smoke, water and mold damage.

How To Get Smoke Odor Out of Fabric

5/17/2017 (Permalink)

How to get smoke out of fabric.

If you suffered a fire in your home, then there’s a good chance that some of your fabric furniture smells like smoke. With harder, nonporous surfaces, you can usually remove the smoke odors with cleaning solutions. You’ll find removing smoke odors much more difficult when dealing with more porous surfaces like fabric couches, clothes, and rugs. So how does one remove smoke odors from porous surfaces like fabric furniture?

The Baking Soda Method

Using baking soda to eliminate smoke odors seems to be a popular method. The idea is to sprinkle baking soda onto the surface and the baking soda will absorb the odors. While this may work with surface odors, this doesn’t work well to get deep-seated smoke odors out of the foam cushions of sofas and the carpet pads under carpets.

Airing It Out

Another popular remedy to get the smoke out is to set the furniture or rug out in the fresh air. While this may work for a rug or thin fabric, it most likely won’t help with sofas and fabric furniture. Also due to the chemical nature of smoke, airing it out won’t cause the smoke particles to break down and the smoke odor to go away.

The Best Way to Remove Smoke Odor

If you are looking for the best and only way to remove smoke odor from fabrics and porous surfaces, then you will want to call a professional fire and mold remediation company like SERVPRO Indianapolis West. The professionals at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West have a machine called an ozone generator. An ozone generator creates ozone which is able to permeate porous surfaces and oxidize the substances that are causing the odor. An ozone generator creates a high level of ozone which is dangerous to humans which are why they are only used by professionals in unoccupied spaces like a sealed room or an empty house.

If you should suffer a house fire or have smoke or cigarette odors that you want to remove from your furniture or home, call the fire cleanup experts at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West at 317-243-3149 for 24-hour emergency service. At SERVPRO of Indianapolis West, we have specialized equipment, professional training, and certifications that allow us to restore your home to its pre-fire condition.

How to Clean Up After A Fire

4/16/2017 (Permalink)

House Fire in Indianapolis

Unlike a broken pipe or a flooded basement, a fire in a home presents a unique and challenging situation when faced with restoring a home to its preloss condition. When a fire happens in a home, not only do you have the fire causing damage but there's also smoke and often times water damage from the fire department. At SERVPRO of Indianapolis West, we have a proven fire damage restoration process that we follow to ensure every fire no matter its size, is handled quickly and professionally in order to return things at home back to normal as fast as possible.

Time is of the Utmost Importance

Once the fire has been put out, it’s important to call us, SERVPRO of Indianapolis West as soon as possible. Even if it’s in the middle of the night, we're available 24/7 to help. We are ready to take your call and take action no matter the time of day or night. Sometimes the fire department needs to break windows and cut holes in the roof to vent the house so that they can fight the fire properly. If that happens to you we can properly secure the structure even in the middle of the night. Call us at 317-243-3149 and we'll help you and your family get back the life you had before the flames took over.

A Close Examination of the Fire

Examining the damage a fire has caused to a home requires experience and discipline. With a fire, you have smoke and soot that can easily move from the source of the fire to the rest of the home. It can travel through doorways, stairwells, and the duct work. It can also get into every little crack and crevice in your home from outlets, sockets, lights, and behind, under and on top of every piece of furniture and appliance.

When our fire restoration experts first arrive at your home, they will start from the source of the fire and examine every inch of your home as they fan out away from the source. If the air conditioner or heater were running during the fire, this can quickly cause the smoke and soot to be carried throughout the home. Our experts will know what to look for from years of experience in order to layout a plan of action to ensure every piece of evidence that a fire has occurred is completely gone.

Protect Against the Elements

In many home fire situations, there may be damage to the exterior of the home that would cause the outside elements, like rain, to get inside. If windows have been broken, doors kicked in, roofs damaged or exterior walls damaged from the fire, we will first board up any windows or doors and cover any roof or wall damage with tarps to keep the elements from causing further damage to your home.

The Water Has Got to Go

If the fire department was called to the fire and they had to use their trucks or hydrants to put out the fire, then you will be dealing with a lot of water damage. To keep the water from stagnating and causing mold in your home, our experts will extract the water from your home, treat any damp areas to prevent mold from growing, and employ industrial drying fans and dehumidifiers to remove all the moisture from inside your home. This step is crucial as black mold can quickly grow in situations like this causing even further damage to your home as well as being a health hazard.

Getting the Smoke and Soot Out

The next step that is taken is to clean up all the surface areas of the home that have smoke and soot damage. At SERVPRO Indianapolis West, we use special equipment and solutions to remove even the most stubborn of smoke and soot. We are highly trained to recognize smoke migration patterns and identifying the proper cleaning process to best fit each and every individual case. The smoke and soot damage can easily spread along the ceiling and through the duct work. You don’t realize how much surface area there is in your home until you have to clean every inch of it due to smoke and soot damage.

Cleaning Up the Small Stuff

Take a look around the room you are in now. Every single item that you see would most likely have to been professionally cleaned and sanitized to remove any signs that a fire happened nearby. With upholstery and fabrics, the smoke odor can sometimes be removed with special equipment that creates a gas that is able to break down the smoke molecules and remove the odors. This usually requires us taking the furniture to our facility where we can safely do this. For other items like wood furniture and other solid surfaces, we can usually scrub these down and sanitize them. For electronics, due to the many circuit boards and wires inside them, they are very sensitive to high heat and soot residue and can sometimes be difficult to fully restore.

Finishing Touches

If the fire caused any damage to floors, ceilings or walls that we couldn’t clean up or restore then our experts will replace them. This can be anything from drywall to carpets to cabinets to new flooring or ceilings. Our mission is to restore your home as if nothing ever even happened. A home fire is something we hope no one ever has to experience but if they do, then we will make it "Like it never even happened."

If you should suffer a house fire, call the fire cleanup experts at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West at 317-243-3149 for 24-hour emergency service. At SERVPRO of Indianapolis West, we have specialized equipment, professional training, and certifications that allow us to restore your home to its preloss condition.

Tips to Reduce Risk of Fire in Your Indianapolis Home

10/16/2016 (Permalink)

Reduce Risk of Fire In Your Indianapolis Home

October is recognized as Fire Prevention Month. As part of Fire Prevention Month, SERVPRO of Indianapolis West would like to offer helpful tips to reduce fire risk at your home.

Home Fire Statistics

According to fire experts, families has as little as 2 minutes to escape a house fire while most families mistakenly believe that have at least 5 minutes or more to escape a house fire. That is why it is so important to exit the house quickly once a fire has been realized.

Only 69% of parents believe their children know what to do or how to escape if a house fire occurs. Less than half of all parents with young children have talked to their families about fire safety and over 70% have not identified a safe place to meet outside the home in case of a fire. Over 80% of families have never practiced home fire drills.

As you can see, the statistics are alarming but by taking a little time this month, more families can be prepared in case of a house fire. By talking with your kids about fire safety, where to meet in case of a fire, and how to escape when a fire occurs; you can greatly increase the chances of surviving a fire.

Home Fire Safety Checklist

1. Create an Escape Plan & Practice


Work with your family to create an escape plan in case of a fire. Practice your escape plan with your children. Also, plan alternative escape plans in case the fire is blocking an escape. Be sure to practice a fire drill with your family and check your escape time.

2. Check Smoke Alarms


Take a few minutes to test all of your fire alarms. Make sure they all are properly working and have batteries. Most smoke alarms have a test button that you can depress to test if it works properly. Also, if you have carbon monoxide detectors, be sure to check them too. Change the batteries in your smoke alarms every year unless they are a long-life battery. It's also a good idea to test the alarms once a month.

3. Check Fireplaces, Space Heaters, and Baseboard Heaters

With the colder months approaching, you'll most likely be using your fireplace or heaters to warm your home. If you use space heaters, make sure to place them away from anything that could be flammable like curtains, blankets or furniture. This goes for fireplaces and baseboard heaters too. Experts say that a heat source should be at least 3 feet away from the heat source.

4. Be Safe in the Kitchen

Kitchen fires are one of the most common fires in homes. To reduce the risk of fire, never leave anything cooking or baking unsupervised. When frying, grilling or cooking on an open flame, keep dish rags and other flammable materials away from the burners. If you are cooking with oil, be careful not to splash or spill the oil near the burners as it can quickly flame up. It's also advisable to have a working fire extinguisher located in your kitchen in case of a small fire.

5. Be Smart and Be Prepared

By following these tips, you can reduce the risk of fire in your family's home. If a fire does occur, you can greatly increase the risk that your whole family escapes safely by planning an escape and practicing fire drills on a regular basis. This October during Fire Prevention Month, ensure your home and family are safe and are prepared in case of a house fire.


If you should suffer a house fire, call the fire cleanup experts at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West at 317-243-3149 for 24-hour emergency service. At SERVPRO of Indianapolis West, we have specialized equipment, professional training, and certifications that allow us to restore your home to its pre-fire condition.

Top Causes of Indianapolis House Fires

8/24/2016 (Permalink)

Cooking is the number one cause of house fires.

Below you will find some of the top causes of house fires in the Indianapolis area. Many of these causes can greatly be reduced by following a few common sense tips that we point out below.

1. Arson and Intentional Fires

According to the NFPA, around 282,600 intentional fires occurred between 2007-2011. Homes and other structures accounted for 18% of these fires. According to the data, most home arson fires occur between 3PM and midnight. Bedrooms are where most of the fires originated.

2. Candle Fires

Candles accounted for 9,300 home fires between 2009-2013 or 3% of all house fires. These fires resulted in 86 deaths, 827 injuries and over $374 million in damage. Candle fires occur most often on Christmas, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day. To reduce the risk of a fire from candles:

  • Don't use candles in bedrooms or areas where you may fall asleep.
  • Never leave a candle burning unattended.
  • Keep candles at least a foot away from anything that can catch fire.

3. Cooking Fires

Cooking is the number one cause of house fires and injuries. Most fires resulted from the cook leaving or being distracted from what they are cooking. Over 66% of cooking fires started with the food and cooking ingredients. This could be cooking oil catching fire or cookies or other food igniting from being overcooked. Frying foods with oil was the biggest cause of cooking fires. The number one day that cooking fires occurred was Thanksgiving. To reduce the risk of cooking fires, never leave any cooking unattended. Be careful when using oils not to splash or spill them onto the cooking surface. If a fire does occur, have a working extinguisher in the kitchen to quickly put out any small cooking fires.

4. Electrical Fires

Between 2007 and 2011, 47,820 home fires were the result of an electrical failure or malfunction. Electrical fires resulted in 455 deaths, 1,518 injuries, and $1.5 billion in damage. Bedrooms, attics, and kitchens were the leading areas of a home where the fires started. While lightning accounted for almost half of all electrical home fires, appliances like washers and dryers were the other major cause of electrical fires. To reduce the risk of electrical fires:

  • Replace any damaged electrical cords.
  • Don't run extension cords under carpet or in high traffic areas.
  • Make sure your outlets have tamper-resistant covers if you have small children.

5. Heating Fires

There were 56,000 home heating equipment fires between 2009 and 2013. Half of them occurred during the months of December, January, and February. These fires resulted in 470 deaths, 1,490 injuries, and over $1 billion in damage. To reduce the risk of home heating equipment fires, keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from fireplaces, space heaters, wood stoves, furnaces and other home heating sources. Never leave a space heater unattended as they account for the majority of all home heating equipment fires. If you use a fireplace to heat your home, make sure you clean the chimney regularly to prevent build up of creosote.

Reduce the Risks


As you can see, there are many causes of house fires. While the risk of arson can't necessarily be reduced, the other factors can. The most important factor in reducing household fires is to always be aware of potential causes of fires. If you are cooking, pay attention and never leave the kitchen unattended. If you use candles, blow them out when you leave the room. If you use a space heater, don't leave it running unattended and keep any combustibles away from it. Simply being aware of fire risks can go a great way to reducing the potential for a house fire.

Reducing Fire Risks in Your Indianapolis Home

6/11/2016 (Permalink)

Candles are one of the leading causes of house fires.

Fire can do substantial damage to your home. While the actual fire can be the most destructive, the smoke and the water can also cause lots of damage. At SERVPRO of Indianapolis West, we're experts at fire damage cleanup, repair, and restoration. We have restored countless Indianapolis homes that have suffered from fires. And many of those fires could have been easily prevented by avoiding these common causes:

1. The Beauty and Danger of Candles

Candles are one of the leading causes of house fires. Most happen as a result of forgetting to extinguish the candle when leaving the room it is in. If you do light candles in your home, never leave one unattended. Even leaving for a minute to answer the door or go to the bathroom is enough time for a candle to ignite a material nearby. Be sure to keep candles away from curtains, papers, and other flammables. Also, don't place them where kids or pets can knock them down. The best advice is not to light candles in your home, but if you do, take the necessary precautions. 

2. Something is Burning in the Kitchen

We've all burnt dinners and food in our kitchens. But there are some steps to take to make sure a burnt dinner doesn't turn into a burnt kitchen. When cooking on the stovetop, make sure towels, window curtains, and other flammables are not near the heat source. When cooking with oil be extra careful not to spill any near the heat source. Oil and grease fires are the most common in the kitchen. Never use water to put out an oil or grease fire. Always have a working extinguisher in your kitchen in the case of small fires. It's a good idea to check your extinguisher ever 6-months to make sure it is still in working condition. When using a fire extinguisher on a grease or oil fire, stand far enough away from the fire so that the extinguisher doesn't blow the oil or grease further spreading the fire. Never leave the kitchen when cooking with any heat source including the microwave. Many kitchen fires could have been prevented if the person had not left the kitchen.

3. Space Heaters Turn Into Space Fire Starters

Space heaters are one of the most common causes of house fires in the winter. While many space heaters have built in safety features, they can still be dangerous. If you have a space heater, never leave it turned on when you are away from your home. When using a space heater, keep it away from flammable items like couches, beds, curtains and carpets. Also, place them away from high traffic areas where they may get bumped or knocked down. It's not a good idea to have a space heater running while you are asleep. An extra blanket is a much better and safer choice over a space heater. 

4. Smoking is Bad for Your House's Health

Cigarettes and cigars that aren't completely extinguished are a major cause of house fires. If someone smokes in your house, make sure there is a large ashtray to ash and/or put out the cigarette or cigar. Also, make sure it's cleaned on a regular basis to reduce the risk of catch old butts or cigars on fire in the ashtray. Try not to smoke where a cinder or dropped cigarette could cause a fire like on a bed or couch. 

5. Check Your Fire & Carbon Dioxide Detectors

Walk around your home today and test every fire and carbon dioxide detector. Make sure there is a detector in every major room and area of your home. While you can take steps to reduce the risk of fire, you can't reduce them all. Which is why it's important to have properly installed and working fire and carbon dioxide detectors in your home. If there is a fire, a detector can save your life and reduce the fire damage to your home. 

Have fire, smoke or water damage? Call us at 317-243-3149 for 24-hour emergency service. At SERVPRO of Indianapolis West, we have specialized equipment, professional training, and certiications that allow us to restore your home to its pre-fire condition. 

How to Get Soot & Smoke Odor Out of Indianapolis House after Fire

4/14/2016 (Permalink)

Indianapolis Kitchen Fire & Smoke Repair

Even the smallest of kitchen or house fires can be destructive. While the actual fire damage may be easy to fix, the smoke damage can be very difficult to remove. While there are some DIY and home remedies that might work, the best choice is to always call the professionals at SERVPRO Indianapolis West. We have dealt with hundreds of house and commercial fires in the Indianapolis area and know all the tricks, treatments, and tools to remove the most stubborn soot, smoke odor, and fire damage from your home.

But what if you were hanging out at a campfire or in a smoky restaurant or your kitchen walls behind your oven are a little dingy from too many burnt meals; there are a couple home remedies that we've found scouring the internet that may work.

The Power of Vinegar

It seems like vinegar is a solution for many problems in the home. It works great to unclog a coffee maker. It's also mentioned often to remove odors like smoke from fabrics. Most people recommend diluting vinegar with water and using a soft cloth to wipe any surfaces that can't be washed like leather jackets. For clothes, it seems that adding a little vinegar to the wash will help remove the odors. Vinegar and water will supposedly also help remove odors like mildew or smoke from books although that seems to have mixed results.

The Power of Baking Soda 

Another popular product in the kitchen that seems to have hundreds of uses is baking soda. Baking soda does a good job of absorbing odors and can be used on carpets and furniture. It can also be used in stinky shoes, closets, hampers, litter boxes and wherever else smelly odors may linger. It won't get rid of smoke from most house fires, but it may help make your teenage son's room more tolerable. 

The Power of SERVPRO of Indianapolis West

The most important step to remove soot and smoke odor from a home after a fire is to thoroughly clean or replace all the belongings and parts of the home that came into contact with the smoke. While the fire may have been minimal, the smoke and soot can easily travel throughout your home and throughout the ductwork of the home. And if you don't get every wall, every ceiling, every nook and cranny professionally cleaned the smoke odor can linger and possibly continue to spread over time. One professional tool that we use to break down and eliminate smoke odor is a commercial grade ozone machine. The ozone machine creates ozone that travels through the air and breaks up the smoke molecules. 

If you have experienced a house fire or are just having odor issues in your home or office , give SERVPRO Indianapolis West a call and we will thoroughly clean and deodorize it. For more information about our fire damage repair and restoration services you can visit our Fire Damage Repair & Restoration page or to get help online visit our Contact Us page.

Cleaning Up from Fire Damage in Indianapolis

3/22/2016 (Permalink)

Even a small fire can be devastating for an Indianapolis home or business. A little grease fire in the kitchen can produce smoke and soot that spreads throughout the house sticking to everything in its path. The fire damage can be overwhelming but as long as everyone got out safely, your home or business and all your possessions can usually be replaced or cleaned. So once the smoke has cleared and the fire has been extinguished, what should you do?

The first thing you need to do is call your insurance agent to start your claim for the fire and smoke damage. You should work with your agent in hiring a professional Indianapolis cleaning and restoration company like SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. 

We specialize in fire and smoke restoration and can quickly access the damage and stop any further damage from happening. For instance, ash and smoke not only leave a strong odor behind but can also cause corrosion and etching that needs to be stopped before it becomes an even bigger problem. 

We will work with you and your agent to create a fire and smoke restoration plan that will quickly restore your Indianapolis home or business. When it comes to fire and smoke damage, timing is of utmost importance. So call your insurance agent and then call us if you live in the Indianapolis area including Avon, Plainfield and Brownsburg.

Now that you know what to do, here are a few things you shouldn't do right after a fire. 

  • First and foremost, make sure you have permission from the fire department to enter into your home after the fire is extinguished. 
  • If you have any electronics that were exposed to the fire or smoke, do not try turning them on. Not only could you be electrocuted or cause a new fire, the smoke and ash could cause further damage to the internals. We can examine your electronics and determine whether they can be professionally cleaned and restored. 
  • Do not take or use clothes that have smoke odors from the fire. The odors can be transferred to your car's upholstery or to the home or place where you take them. 
  • Don't try cleaning any walls, surfaces, fabrics, carpets or furniture as you could cause further damage. Smoke and ash require specialized cleaning solutions, tools and processes to remove.  It's best to leave everything untouched and wait for us to arrive to assess what can be cleaned and what needs to be replaced.

If you have questions about certain possessions or cleaning processes, we will be happy to answer them for you. We know a fire can be devastating and our highly trained restoration specialists will work hard to get your home or business and your life back to normal as quickly as possible.