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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Handling Fire Damage in Amarillo

4/21/2023 (Permalink)

fire damaged office SERVPRO of Amarillo is ready to help with your fire damage restoration. Call for a consultation. All insurance is accepted.

A fire can strike in the blink of an eye, leaving behind devastating damage and destruction. After such a tragic event, figuring out where to start can be overwhelming.

How Do Firefighters Put Out a Fire?

A firefighter's main priority is ensuring the safety of individuals on the affected property. After completing any necessary rescues, their primary focus is to prevent further damage from occurring. This may involve employing various firefighting methods, which could include:

  • Utilizing fire hoses to extinguish flames
  • Spraying foam and water on different areas of the building to contain the fire
  • Cutting holes in walls or roofs to enable smoke and heat to escape
  • Searching for pockets of fire using thermal imaging cameras
  • Ventilating toxic smoke from the building

Firefighters are trained to respond promptly to any emergency, and their work can help prevent further loss or destruction of property.

During a firefighting effort, firefighters use large amounts of water to extinguish flames and prevent the fire from spreading. A fire hose can deliver up to 100 gallons of water per minute, depending on the size and intensity of the blaze and the type of building and firefighting technique employed. In some cases, water pressure may need to be increased to ensure it reaches high-rise buildings.

In addition to water, firefighters may also use foam to suppress fires. The foam tends to be more effective than water in certain situations, such as fires involving flammable liquids or gases.

Using water and foam during firefighting can cause significant damage to buildings, even after a fire has been extinguished. Water can seep into floors, walls, and ceilings, causing structural damage and promoting the growth of mold and mildew. Foam can leave a residue that must be cleaned to avoid damaging surfaces.

Therefore, extensive damage restoration, including water restoration, is often necessary after a fire. Properties damaged by fire will likely need mold remediation if left alone for too long. It is strongly recommended to seek professional assistance from an experienced fire restoration company to ensure the proper and safe restoration of any affected property.

What Does a Fire Damage Restoration Company Do?

The goal of damage restoration companies is to secure the property to stop further damage, followed by cleaning, restoring, and reconstructing the property to its pre-fire condition. During extensive restoration work, homeowners may need to file a property insurance claim, which a professional Amarillo fire damage restoration company can handle. 

The Fire Damage Restoration Process

The process of fire restoration involves several critical steps to ensure that your property and your life can gradually return to normalcy.

Following emergency response clearance of your property, you must seek the services of a professional fire damage restoration company in Amarillo. These experts will typically follow these steps to restore your property. 

1. Helping homeowners file an insurance claim is usually the first order of business.

Although necessary, filing an insurance claim can be complex, time-consuming, and confusing, particularly for homeowners who have recently experienced a devastating fire and are already experiencing overwhelming emotions. A reliable fire damage restoration company can help guide and support homeowners through the claim process and provide necessary assistance.

Sometimes, the insurance company may send an adjuster to inspect the damage first-hand. In such cases, the restoration company would work closely with the adjuster to provide access to the damaged items and answer any queries about the restoration process.

Documenting damages is the first step in filing an insurance claim. A reputable fire damage restoration company will carefully report every aspect of the damage resulting from the fire, including any structural damage, personal belongings, and other items affected by the fire. This step is crucial for the insurance adjuster to assess the damages and determine an appropriate compensation amount.

A professional fire damage restoration company deals with the critical cleanup and restoration processes and handles all communication with the homeowner's insurance company throughout the insurance claim procedure. Additionally, their communication goes beyond submitting documentation and estimates, negotiating on the homeowner's behalf, and providing extra information required by the insurance adjuster.

Working with an experienced and reputable fire damage restoration company will ensure homeowners receive fair and timely compensation. These companies have established credibility and proficiency in dealing with different insurance companies policies and adjusters, which ultimately allows them to navigate the insurance claim process more efficiently and with the homeowner's best interests in mind.

The best restoration companies offer more than just repairs and aid to make the homeowner feel more comfortable by constantly updating them about the claim's progress.

2. The restoration company will assess the damages and secure the property. 

Securing the property to prevent further damage is essential after a fire. Restoration companies should take the necessary precautions to ensure the property is safe and secure before restoration work begins. The property's structural integrity will be assessed, and the walls, roofs, windows, and doors will be checked for any damage. If any of these elements have been compromised, they will be boarded up and sealed to prevent rain or debris from entering the building.

Before restoration work can begin, a restoration company must check the electrical and gas systems to ensure the fire doesn't damage them. If either system is damaged, the restoration company must shut off the power and gas supply to prevent further accidents.

In addition, restoration companies will also install temporary lighting and heating systems to provide a safe working environment for their technicians. This is essential for ensuring a proper and thorough restoration process.

To provide complete and effective restoration services after a fire, a certified technician needs to assess the extent of the damage caused by the fire, smoke, and water. To begin the assessment process, a visual inspection of the entire property will be conducted to determine the harm caused by direct flames. The review will include checking the structural elements, such as walls, floors, and ceilings, and assessing the extent of the damage they sustained.

Since smoke damage can be much more extensive than the actual flames, the technician will also pay close attention to any traces of smoke damage. Smoke and soot particles can penetrate surfaces deeply and cause long-term damage and odors if not treated promptly.

Specialized equipment, including thermal imaging cameras, will be used to locate hidden damage caused by the fire, particularly those affected by water. Moisture and mold growth after a fire are expected due to the high moisture levels and lack of ventilation. The restoration crew can also test the air quality to ensure the property is safe.

Water damage is a common problem after a fire due to the water firefighters use to put out the flames. The restoration company will use high-powered pumps to extract any standing water from the property to address this. They will also set up dehumidifiers and air movers to dry the property and prevent mold growth.

Finally, to ensure the safety and security of the property, the restoration company will install temporary fencing and security cameras to deter any unauthorized access, vandalism, or theft. These security measures are necessary for a thorough restoration process.

After the assessment, a fire damage restoration plan tailored to the specific situation will be created. The program will create an itemized breakdown and budget of the steps needed to restore the property to its pre-fire condition and mitigate further damage.

3. The restoration company will provide an estimate for repairing the damages needed to restore your property to its pre-fire condition. 

A comprehensive estimate submitted to the insurance company determines the policyholder's compensation amount. 

Many damage restoration companies will only perform cleaning and restoration work, but fire damages almost always involve reconstruction services. Make sure to choose a full-service fire damage restoration company that can help you process 100% of your fire restoration needs. Working with just one company will minimize your property's restoration costs and time. 

4. After the insurance company has determined the compensation amount, the professional restoration team goes to work repairing any damaged areas of the house. 

Such areas typically include:

  • Removal of asbestos or lead in affected areas
  • Moving services 
  • Content cleaning and textile sanitization
  • Smoke damage repairs
  • Water Damage Repairs
  • Construction to Repair any Structural Damage

Restoring your home to its initial condition is crucial, supposing it's beneficial for your overall well-being and successful claims with your insurance company.

The restoration company must remove any hazardous materials, such as asbestos or lead, from the property before any restoration work begins. With the necessary equipment and expertise, the restoration company will remove these materials safely and efficiently.

After a fire, a restoration company is expertly equipped to address the removal of debris, smoke, and soot. They use specialized equipment and techniques to ensure that the property is immaculate and safe for occupancy. The first step in the debris removal process is to assess the damage and determine which materials can be saved and which need to be disposed of. The restoration company will use heavy-duty equipment, such as bulldozers and excavators, to remove large amounts of debris and rubble from the property. They will also use hand tools and vacuums to clean up smaller debris.

To ensure a smoother process, the restoration company may use several approaches to report the damaged items to the insurance adjuster. Firstly, they would take inventory of all damaged items, noting the type and extent of damage incurred. They make a detailed list of all damaged items, estimated value, and replacement costs to aid the adjuster in determining the exact coverage of the policy. This comprehensive inventory list would typically include all the items affected by the fire.

Apart from the inventory, the restoration company would work closely with the insurance adjuster to provide any additional documentation or information needed. This may include pictures of the damaged items, receipts or invoices for repair or replacement costs, and any other paperwork necessary for the claims process to proceed without any glitches.

A reputable restoration company will move all damaged items inside the property to a content restoration facility. From there, a highly trained technician will sort through the items to determine which ones can be restored and which must be disposed of.

The restoration company will use specialized packaging materials like bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and furniture covers to protect the salvageable items during transit. After the items are packed and labeled, they will be carefully loaded onto moving trucks and taken to the content restoration facility.

Once the items arrive at the facility, they will be inspected for any remaining damage. The restoration company will use advanced equipment and techniques to remove all traces of smoke, soot, and water damage. For more demanding jobs, specialized equipment like ultrasonic machines and an Esporta Wash System will be brought in for the best results.

After the items have been restored to their pre-fire condition and thoroughly inspected, they will be repacked and labeled for transport back to the property. The restoration company will ensure that each item is returned to its proper location in the property and will work with the homeowner to ensure their complete satisfaction with the restoration process.

The restoration company will employ a combination of techniques to remove smoke and soot from the property. This is because smoke and soot can penetrate deep into porous materials like carpeting, upholstery, and drywall. Their techniques include dry cleaning, wet cleaning, soda blasting, and thermal fogging.

Dry cleaning encompasses dry sponges or chemical cleaning agents to remove loose soot and smoke residue from surfaces. On the other hand, wet cleaning involves using water or cleaning solutions to remove more stubborn soot and smoke residue from surfaces. Soda blasting is another technique that utilizes baking soda to blast away smoke and soot from surfaces, and this technique is effective for brick, stone, and other hard surfaces.

Thermal fogging uses a specialized machine that creates a deodorizing fog of solution. It penetrates deep into porous materials to neutralize smoke odors. This solution can penetrate porous materials, including every crevice and surface, to neutralize smoke odors. The answer is a combination of chemicals that bind to the odor molecules and neutralize them. 

Another technique used by restoration companies to remove odors is ozone treatment. An ozone generator creates ozone, a gas that can neutralize odors. The ozone generator is placed in the affected area, and the ozone circulates for some time. The gas reacts with the odor molecules, neutralizing them and breaking them into non-harmful compounds. While ozone treatment is effective, occupants should not be present during treatment, as ozone can be hazardous to human health.

In addition to thermal fogging and ozone treatment, restoration companies may use specialized cleaning agents and equipment to remove odors. Air scrubbers and HEPA filters can remove any lingering odor particles from the air, while specially formulated cleaning agents can clean and sanitize affected surfaces. A thorough inspection ensures the property is spotless and safe for occupancy. A plan for necessary repairs or renovations can then be developed with the property's owner.

If the structural components are partially damaged, repair procedures involve reinforcing them using different techniques, such as applying structural steel beams to support weakened walls and floors. In some cases, restorers may use epoxy or other specialized bonding agents to attach new components to the existing ones.

However, in cases where the components are completely damaged, the restoration company will need to remove and replace them with new materials. This often entails cutting out damaged sections of walls and floors and replacing them with new materials such as drywall or flooring. Restorers will also replace any damaged electrical or plumbing fixtures and install insulation and soundproof materials where necessary.

Ensuring the repair work aligns with local building codes and regulations is essential after a fire. As a result, restoring companies must obtain any necessary permits and undergo inspections to meet all the applicable regulatory requirements.

Furthermore, the restoration company should also install fire-resistant materials to prevent future fire outbreaks. These materials may include fire-resistant drywall, insulation, and wiring to minimize the risk of fire spread. Overall, taking these measures ensures the safety and longevity of the restored property.

How Long Does Fire Damage Restoration Take?

The duration of the fire restoration process largely depends on the scale and intensity of the fire damage. Generally, restorations can take between a few weeks to several months to complete.

If wildfires have seriously impacted your area, delays are likely to occur as fire restoration companies and insurance adjusters work to assist many affected families and businesses. In such situations, it is crucial to remain patient and cooperate with the companies and adjusters as they work towards helping everyone in need.

Hiring the Best Fire Damage Restoration Company

Selecting the right fire damage restoration company is crucial to ensure a satisfactory outcome. It is essential to choose a company with the experience and necessary skill set to handle the unique challenges of fire damage restoration. 

To make an informed decision when hiring an Amarillo fire restoration company, you should look for the following traits:

Response Time: When it comes to fire damage restoration, time is of the essence. The longer you wait to initiate the restoration process, the greater the risk of secondary damage. It would help if you considered choosing a professional restoration company that understands the urgency of restoring your property quickly and efficiently. They will arrive on the scene promptly, secure the area, and start the restoration process immediately.

Insurance Claim Processing: Another essential factor to consider when hiring a restoration company is whether they can assist with filing insurance claims. Check if the company can communicate with your insurer and report any damaged items, such as furniture and appliances. This step is crucial, and a good fire damage restoration company will have no issue providing proof of items that need replacement to your insurance adjuster. The best restoration companies usually offer an experienced Project Coordinator who will guide you through filing an insurance claim, ensuring that all necessary steps are taken to maximize coverage. They will also communicate with your insurance adjuster to give you the best chance of a positive outcome. Moreover, these companies will have pre-existing contracts with top insurance companies to help make your claim process smoother. They will work with you and your insurance company to determine the most cost-effective way to restore your property.

Extent of Damage Assessment: Ensure the fire damage company has extensive knowledge in assessing the extent of damage from smoke, soot, water, and other elements. A professional fire restoration company will have the right equipment and expertise to accurately evaluate the damage's extent. With their advanced technology and skill set, they can provide an accurate estimate of the cost and duration of the restoration project. To determine the best approach, they should also offer a detailed assessment that includes what parts of the property have been affected, the kind of damage sustained, and how far it has spread.

Cleaning & Restoration Experience: Make sure the company you choose has experience in cleaning and restoring your specific type of property and affected content. They should have the expertise to identify hidden damage that could cause further problems, such as water damage that could lead to mold growth. It's also essential to verify that the technicians and managers assigned to help have relevant experience and certifications, preferably from the IICRC.

Safety with Professional Tools and Equipment: Safety is another crucial aspect. Fire damage often leaves behind hazardous materials, such as asbestos and lead-based paint, requiring specialized handling. The best fire restoration companies have undergone proper training and invest in the equipment to handle hazardous materials safely. This ensures that your property is safe from any dangerous materials after restoration.

Structural Component Repairs: Verify if the company offers structural repairs like walls, floors, ceilings, etc. Construction will almost always be a significant part of fire damage restoration, and the restoration company you hire should have a construction department or division. These professionals should also have a Project Coordinator to help process your insurance claim.

Content Storing & Return Services:

  1. Confirm whether or not they will store contents offsite (in their facilities) while doing repair work.
  2. Ask to understand how their cleaning process works. The top-of-the-line fire damage restoration companies will have advanced technology to clean your contents, such as an ultrasonic machine and an Esporta Wash System.
  3. Ensure they return all restored items to you when work is complete.

Securing Your Property. A professional restoration company should secure your property against further damage and debris removal caused by the firefighting effort. Services like roof tarping and board-up will help guarantee safety and prevent further loss.

Construction. Verify the fire damage restoration company you choose can also handle the reconstruction portion of your project and that they will work with your insurance adjuster to ensure this is part of your claim. 

Hiring the best fire damage restoration company can play a significant role in getting your life back on track after a fire incident.

SERVPRO of Amarillo's Professional Fire Damage Restoration Process

SERVPRO of Amarillo is a premier fire damage restoration company serving Amarillo and surrounding areas. Our franchise is owned and operated by one of Texas' longest-existing SERVPRO franchisees, boasting nearly 40 years of experience in the damage restoration industry.

We offer a comprehensive approach to fire damage restoration, ensuring that every aspect of the restoration process is handled efficiently and effectively. Our extensive knowledge in assessing the extent of damage caused by fire, smoke, soot, and water guarantees that we provide precise estimates of the duration and cost of each restoration project.

SERVPRO of Amarillo uses the most advanced equipment available in the industry, and our technicians undergo extensive training, receiving certifications from both the IICRC and SERVPRO University. With the right equipment, tools, and expertise, we can handle hazardous materials that threaten your property during restoration.

In addition to fire damage cleaning and restoration, we offer structural repair services for walls, floors, and ceilings. Our construction division can start restoration immediately after your property is cleaned and deodorized. Your assigned Project Coordinator will work closely with the insurance adjuster to communicate your needs, ensuring a seamless reimbursement process.

At SERVPRO of Amarillo, we take pride in storing and returning your items to their pre-damaged condition. Our content storing and return services are top-of-the-line, thanks to our advanced technology, ultrasonic machines, and the Esporta Wash System for sanitizing textiles.

Rest assured that we report damaged items, such as appliances and furniture, to your insurer, facilitating a quick and seamless reimbursement process. We're also committed to securing your property from further damage and removing any debris caused by firefighting efforts.

Contact us today to receive a complimentary fire damage restoration consultation. 

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