Recent Fire Damage Posts

4 Most Common Fires

6/5/2020 (Permalink)

Fireman saving child Fireman saving child

While fires can start at anytime and anywhere, below are descriptions of the four most common types of fires. Acknowledging these types of fires may help you to reduce or even eliminate the risk of starting a fire.


The most common type of fire in the U.S. is the kitchen fire. The reason that the kitchen is the source of many fire hazards is because the kitchen is where heat, electricity, water, and grease come together.
The most common type of kitchen fire is the grease fire. A grease fire is extremely dangerous as it can get out of control quickly and spread from the stove throughout the kitchen and into other rooms of the house.
Many grease fires occur because someone leaves a frying pan on the stove unattended. They also occur when someone overheats a pan during attended cooking if the grease catches fire. Grease fires can cause serious injury and extensive property damage.
Other types of kitchen fires include oven fires and appliance fires. Fires can also get started in the kitchen when electricity comes in contact with water.


Electrical fires are caused by a number of different factors, including faulty appliances, worn or faulty electrical wiring, improper use of electrical outlets and worn out breaker boxes.
Older homes often do not have the proper wiring to handle the amount of electrical appliances in use today. Often old wiring inside walls becomes frayed or worn, causing shorts and sparks that can ignite.
Old breaker boxes are made to shut off electrical current when the circuit becomes overloaded as a fire prevention measure, but often the connections are worn or broken and do not activate the breaker switch.
Lighting is another cause of electrical fires, which can be triggered by improper wiring or the use of bulbs that are higher in wattage than the amount recommended for the lighting appliance.


This type of fire is particularly common in the winter months. Portable heaters should always have automatic shutoffs that activate when they overheat as a fire precaution.
Coil space heaters are especially hazardous because the coils will ignite anything combustible nearby. Always keep any type of space heater a minimum of three feet from anything combustible. That includes curtains, bedding, clothing and furniture. Always shut space heaters off when you’re not in the room.
Extension cords should not be used with space heaters as they generate too much electricity and can start a fire.


Fires caused by cigarettes account for 1,000 deaths in the U.S. every year. Many times the smoker is not the person who dies.
Most smoking fires are started by embers igniting on furniture, bedding and trash cans. Smokers should always be sure cigarettes are completely extinguished before emptying ashtrays into the trash.
Never smoke in bed and never smoke when you are tired, inebriated, or drowsy from medication. Do not place ashtrays on flammable surfaces like couches, chairs, or beds where they can tip over and start a fire.
The best way to prevent smoking-related fires is to smoke outside the house and have a can filled with sand to extinguish cigarette butts.

SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee Counties are always here to help when it comes to making it "Like it never even happened."  Feel free to give us a call at 386-754-0261 if you have any questions.

Always have a plan

6/2/2020 (Permalink)

Home on fire Home on fire

SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee Counties hates to see anyone have any type of fire issue in their home.  Here are some tips we would recommend for making a plan to leave your home if a fire was to occur.  Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as one or two minutes to escape safely once the alarm sounds. Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors. Also, mark the location of each smoke alarm. Here are some tips for helping you with your home fire escape plan!

  • Know the plan
    Make sure that you’re familiar with your building’s evacuation plan, which should illustrate what residents are supposed to do in the event of an emergency. The evacuation plan should be posted in places where all residents can see and review it, and the building management should hold a fire drill with occupants at least once a year. Most states also require that buildings periodically test their fire safety systems as well.  Be sure to participate when your building drills take place. When looking for an apartment or high-rise home, look for one with an automatic sprinkler system. Sprinklers can extinguish a home fire in less time that it takes for the fire department to arrive.
  • Practice is key
    Whether your building has one floor or 50, it’s essential that you and your family are prepared to respond to a fire alarm. Identify all of the exits in your building and if you are using an escape planning grid, mark them on your escape plan. Make sure to mark the various stairways too, in case one is blocked by fire.
  • Never use the elevator
    In case of fire, always use the stairs to get out, never the elevator. Make sure to practice using the stairs as part of your escape plan. If someone in your family has difficulty climbing down steps, make sure to incorporate a contingency for this into your plan.
  • Stay low
    Smoke from a fire is toxic and deadly no matter what kind of structure you live in. When you hold your fire drill, everyone in the family should practice getting low and going under the smoke to the exit. In the event of a fire, if both stairwells are filled with smoke, stay in your apartment and wait for the firefighters.
  • Seal yourself in for safety
    If you can’t exit an apartment building due to smoke or fire in the hallway, call the fire department to report your exact location and gather in a room with a window to await their arrival. Close all doors between you and the fire. Use duct tape or towels to create a seal around the door and over air vents in order to keep smoke from coming in.
  • Stay by the window
    If possible, you should open your windows at the top and the bottom so fresh air can get in. Don’t break the window – if smoke enters the room from outside the building, you won’t be able to protect yourself.
  • Signal to firefighters
    Wave a flashlight or light colored cloth at the window to let the fire department know where you are located.

Smoking in your home

4/16/2020 (Permalink)

House fire House fire

So where are we at when we catch our homes on fire? 40% of fires are starting in the bedroom and 35% are living rooms or family rooms. If we stopped smoking on our bedrooms and living rooms, and went outside, we could potentially cut 75% of smoking related structure fires out. With that being said, let’s discuss the unknown dangers of smoking in the home. I’m not going to say you are less likely to survive a home fire today as to 50 – 60 years ago, but the risk is a lot higher for what we have in our homes today. Take a look at what you have in your home. Your TV, couch, clothes, drapes, computers, dressers and so on. We have so many plastics, polycarbonates and synthetics in our homes today fires burn hotter and faster and give off high amounts of dangerous gases. The amount of time you have to get out of the home safely is a very short window compared to back in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s where homes were filled with furniture built with real wood and cotton. There are studies today showing rooms filled with modern items being lit on fire and the room being completely engulfed in fire in three to four minutes, compared to a room being filled with older legacy furniture and home materials that when lit would flash or become fully involved about 25 to 30 minutes after ignition.

It is very simple; if you smoke just don’t do it in the house. Take the time and go outside to smoke. Here are some other helpful tips to go by:

• Put your cigarette butts out in water or sand.

• Use deep sturdy ashtrays and don’t put them on the couch or bed.

• Place ashtrays on a table away from other items that could catch fire.

• Don’t smoke if you are on oxygen, period!

• Make sure your ashtrays are cold before you discard them.

• Don’t empty your ashtray in your trash in your home. Its good practice to have a metal bucket outside to empty them into.

• Never smoke in bed.

• Finally have a working smoke detector in your home. It’s amazing of the number of homes without a working smoke detector. You should have a detector on each floor of your home and outside and inside of each bedroom.

If something like this were to happen to you or your family, call SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee counties and we will make it "Like it never even happened."

Types of Smoke

3/27/2020 (Permalink)

Smoke Damage Smoke Damage

Did you know that there are four different types of smoke? Wet, Dry, Oily, and Protein

Wet smoke - Plastic and Rubber

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

Dry Smoke - Paper and Wood

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

Oily Smoke - Grease, Fuel Burning, and Burnt Plastics

  • Easily smeared, resistant to wet cleaning

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

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

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

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

Have questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?

Call Us Today - SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee Counties is ready to respond and answer your questions on how to tell which type your fire might have been and also clean.  If you don't know which type soot it is, you can DO MORE DAMAGE by trying to clean yourself.  You also have to know what kind of paint you have or you could do more damage as well.  You can reach us at 386-754-0261 and we will be glad to assist you.   We also cover Madison, Jasper, Perry, Fort White, Mayo and other surrounding areas.  


3/24/2020 (Permalink)

Fire in a Microwave This could happen to you! Be prepared if it does!! Know the process!

Step One: Emergency Contact

The best fire damage restoration companies offer emergency services meaning that they are able to come out quickly when contacted and provide immediate relief for your property. This is a very important feature and you should always look for companies that offer this when trying to find fire damage restoration.

Why do you need immediate service before you start the fire damage restoration process? Of course, it’s actually the job of the emergency services and fire department to put out the fires. However, you may still need fire damage restoration services very quickly in order to prevent damage from spreading through your property.

Say a fire burns a hole in your roof for instance. This could then lead to a situation where you have rain coming in through your ceiling and ruining your property more – the longer you leave this the more the extent of the damage is going to increase and thus you need to get immediate emergency services whenever possible rather than waiting for the problem to get more severe.

Step Two: Assessment

The next thing that a fire damage restoration company will do in the fire damage restoration process is to assess the extent of the damage in your property. This will usually involve looking at how far the fire, the smoke, and the soot have traveled as well as seeing how badly affected your walls and furniture have been.

This is an important first step as it is only by understanding the extent of the damage that the company will be able to come up with a plan of action and to give you an accurate quote for how much it should cost and an accurate estimate of how long it will take.

Step Three: Tarp and Sealing Services

Once the fire damage restoration begins in earnest, the main priority will always be to prevent damage from getting worse. For instance then, if you have a leak thanks to a hole burned in your roof or due to a hole in your wall, then your fire damage restoration company will start by addressing that.

Likewise, fire damage restoration can also often go hand in hand with water damage restoration. This can be necessary for instance if the fire has led to a burst pipe or water tank. In these cases, fire damage restoration services will act quickly to stop the source of the water before it spreads through more of your building and causes more damage.

Step Four: Clean Up

Next, the fire damage restoration service will begin the clean-up part of the fire damage restoration process whereby they will clean away smoke, dust, and soot from your surfaces. After a fire often you will find that your property looks dark, stained and charred. The first job of your fire damage restoration company will be to clean up all this damage and get your property at least looking as normal as possible.

This is also when water damage restoration will begin properly. Here any standing pools of water will be removed using submersible pumps and the areas will then be dried and sanitized. Water damage can also cause health problems owing to contamination in the water, so sanitization is particularly important here.

During this fire damage restoration process, companies will also ensure to remove any odors that can linger after the smoke has been in the room. This might involve carpet cleaning as well and will often need to address adjacent rooms as well as those directly affected by fire damage.

Finally, the clean-up part of the fire damage restoration process will also involve the removal and disposal of items that are too badly damaged to be repairable. If you have furniture for instance that has absorbed a lot of contaminated water, or if you have carpet that has been badly burned… in these cases often the best case scenario is just to throw these things out and to replace them with new items. Fire damage restoration companies handle this for you so that you don’t have to.

Step Five: Repair and Renovation

The next stage is to begin actually restoring furniture and repairing the damage caused by fire. For instance, if cabinets have been destroyed by fire, then fire damage restoration will involve either repairing those cabinets or replacing them with new ones. Carpets can likewise be installed a new and walls can be repainted and wallpaper can be put back up.

The idea of this stage is to get your property looking as good as new so that you can go back to normal. However, the very best fire damage restoration companies will go one step further than this. That’s because they will not only offer restoration but also renovation. These companies can then repair your property and actually leave it looking better than it did at the start. This can be something of a silver lining – if you’re stressed and upset because your furniture has been ruined, then fire damage restoration can turn this into an opportunity to renovate your property and to enjoy having a completely new redesign.

Step Six: Consultation

Following the completion of your fire damage restoration services, you may find that the company that provided them offers you some ‘debriefing’ and consultation on how to prevent future fires. Sometimes, it may be the case that the fire damage was avoidable and in this case, they can offer some design advice for your rooms or help you to find the best smoke detectors and other means for being alerted to fires early.

When you are in need of a fire and smoke damage restoration company in Lake City, Live Oak, Jasper, White Springs, Lake Butler, Starke, Perry, Mayo, MacClenney, Chiefland, Cross City, LuLu and surrounding areas contact us at 386-754-0261.

Fire Safety Tips

3/23/2020 (Permalink)

Fire Extinguishers Fire Extinguishers

Here at SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee Counties, we love to inform our customers as much as we can.

You’ve heard all of the preventative steps, you’ve prepped your employees, and your building is up to code. However, the easiest prevention methods are usually the most overlooked. Some of the biggest ways to avoid needing fire damage restoration services are usually some of the quickest to check. Inspect these things today and be sure to set reminders accordingly:

  • Smoke Detectors. Safety experts say that you should check these at least once a month and replace the batteries once a year, or as needed.
  • Fire Extinguishers. See the directions on your fire extinguisher to see when it expires and who you can call to replace your extinguishers. Extinguishers can last anywhere from five to fifteen years. Also, depending on your fire marshal’s standards, you may have to have your extinguisher certified.
  • Fire Exits and Exit Signs. Can guests clearly see exit signs? Can they easily get to them? Consider having a fire drill to ensure guests and employees can easily get out of the building in the event of an emergency. Practice regularly.
  • See any State or Local Guidelines. There are some local and state guidelines that businesses have to follow to stay up to code. Take a minute to read up on these laws or talk to your local fire marshal to learn about the guidelines.

Keeping your business, employees, and guests safe is important. Just by taking the time to make sure the basics of fire safety are taken care of, you can protect your investment.

Keep your Kids Safe with these Fire Safety tips

1/14/2020 (Permalink)

Child with fire escape plan drawn out on a piece of paper in front of their face Make sure your children understand the escape plan!

When creating an escape plan in your home, you should go over it with your children so they know how to get out the house. Kids typically don’t think about how they would escape from their home in a fire, so this is an important discussion to have with them.

  • Have a plan in place for children that cannot get out on their own, such as infants and toddlers. Talk about which family member is going to wake up the children and help them get out.
  • Always identify two different ways out of every room. You should know multiple ways to exit in every room in case one exit is blocked, or it is too dangerous to use.
  • Choose a destination outside the house to meet, a safe distance away. This could be across the street, or at a neighbors’ home.

In addition to fire prevention with children, there is the concern of burn prevention. In many instances of fires started by children, serious burn injuries can occur. Here are some tips to help keep your kids safe from fire and burns.

Do you have a emergency fire plan for your home?

6/6/2019 (Permalink)

Have a PLAN!

We are all busy with kids, school, work, after school activities, but we all need to take some time out of our busy schedule, and make a family fire plan. I know as a parent it hard to juggle family life, but safety for my family is always on my mind. Here is what you can do.

  • Make a map of your home, and make a fire exit plan. Post you fire plan in the kitchen area a daily reminder.
  • Teach safety techniques like step by step how to instructions to stay low to the ground, and cover your face with your shirt or a pillow case to protect from the smoke
  • Conduct drills like listening for the smoke detector, and practicing the fire exit plan for evacuation.
  • Talk about fire safety with your children. Play games to teach them stop drop and roll, and to be ready for if a fire if it happened in your home.

If a fire happens in your home SERVPRO of Columbia & Suwannee Counties can help you fix your home. We are here for you and your home 24/7.

Fire Extinguisher Safety

6/5/2019 (Permalink)

P.A.S.S. is something to remember in case of an emergency!

Do you have a fire extinguisher in your home or business? Did you know that many insurance companies offer a discount for having a fire extinguisher in your home? For a mere $20-$50 you could save money on your homeowners insurance and have a life and property saving tool in your home.

If you have a fire extinguisher in your home, it is important to understand how to properly use it. After reading this article read the instructions on your extinguisher and become familiar with where everything is located on it. Make sure to share the information with everyone in your home so they too can be prepared. 

The National Fire Protection Association recommends remembering the word PASS in order to properly operate your extinguisher.

Pull the pin. Hold the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.

Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.

Squeeze the level slowly and evenly.

Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

Make sure you store your fire extinguisher in a safe and easily assessable area. Check the date on your extinguisher and make certain it is not expired. Put in your calendar to check the expiration date yearly.

Before purchasing a fire extinguisher, visit to understand which type of extinguisher is right for your property.

SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee Counties offers some tips about fire extinguishers!

Smoke and Soot Damage

4/17/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke and Soot damage after a Suwannee County home fire.

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

Smoke and soot facts:

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

The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke:

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

  • Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, and smears easily. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

  • Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

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

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

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage? Give SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee Counties a call today (386) 754-0261

Home Fire Escape Plan

3/27/2019 (Permalink)

Home Fire Escape Plan

Every second counts during a fire. Fire experts agree, people have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it’s too late.

In a matter of moments, a small flame can become a major fire, making it critical to be prepared with an escape plan in place. A survey conducted by the American Red Cross shows only 26 percent of families have developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. Once a plan is developed, it is critical that everyone in the home understands the plan; the best way to do this is by practicing the escape plan at least twice a year. Increase your chance of surviving a fire by ensuring you have working smoke detectors in place, building an escape plan, and then practicing the escape plan. The following are a few steps to help you develop an emergency escape plan:

  • Draw a map of each level of your home and show all doors and windows. Find two ways to get out of each room. Make sure all doors and windows that lead outside open easily.
  • Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas on the second and third floors. Only purchase collapsible escape ladders evaluated by a recognized testing laboratory. Store them near the window where they will be used.
  • Choose an outside meeting place a safe distance from your home where everyone can meet after they’ve escaped. Make sure to mark the meeting location on your escape plan. Teach children how to escape on their own in case you cannot help them. Plan for everyone in your home with special considerations for elderly or disabled individuals. Practice your fire escape plan at night and during the daytime. SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee Counties want you to stay safe and prepare now to ensure you are ready for any disaster.

For more information on how you can prevent home fires, give us a call at (386) 754-0261. Or visit us at

Dryer Vent Fires Can Happen

3/22/2019 (Permalink)

Dryer Vent Fire

Dryer vent cleaning is a chore that most homeowners often forget. Dryers are a luxury that many homeowners have the delight of possessing. From a consumer report taken in 2009, about 80% of all households within the United States have a gas or electric clothes dryer. Specifically, 73% of households own an electric dryer, while approximately 20% own a gas-powered counterpart. Despite this amenity, there is a risk to consider when owning one of these machines. Fires can likely occur, in many cases due to both the improper care of dryer venting and the lint trap.

Longer Drying Times

  • If a dryer vent is clogged, a typical drying cycle could take twice as long as normal. In addition, clothing may appear to be damp or not properly dried. Dryers push the hot air out of the system through the vent. The vent could be blocked by lint particles, keeping the air inside the dryer moist and warm.

Dryer is Extremely Hot

  • Do you notice that your clothing is very hot at the end of a cycle or the dryer is hot to touch? This warning sign means the vent is not exhausting properly. If your system is clogged, it not only wastes energy but also can cause the heating element and blower in the dryer to wear out faster.

Burnt Odors

  • Your dryer may emit occasional burning odors due to the buildup of dryer lint. Lint can build up in the exhaust tube connect to the dryer unit. Lint is highly flammable and can combust due to the high temperatures and heat within the unit. To remedy this, make sure to empty the lint trap often.

If you clean your vent on a regular basis, you can extend the lifespan of your dryer AND your clothes!  Clogged vents indicate a less than perfect performing dryer. If you were to clean the vent, you can save money on your energy bills. In some instances, an unclean vent can increase your energy bills by as much as thirty dollars a month. If properly cleaned, you could save money on HVAC repairs and your monthly bills. For more information, visit or give us a call at (386) 754-0261.

Not All Smoke Is Created Equal

3/1/2019 (Permalink)

Did you know that there are four different types of smoke? Wet, Dry, Oily, and Protein

Wet smoke - Plastic and Rubber

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

Dry Smoke - Paper and Wood

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

Oily Smoke - Grease, Fuel Burning, and Burnt Plastics

  • Easily smeared, resistant to wet cleaning

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

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

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

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

Have questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?

Call Us Today - SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee Counties (386) 754-0261

Board Up Needed?

1/8/2019 (Permalink)

Temporary Repairs Needed?

If your commercial property has experienced a fire, there are several reasons why you might want to board up structural damage or windows. In addition to keeping the external elements out of a building with fire damage, boarding up can also prevent additional losses due to looting and make the fire cleanup process easier.

Most full-service restoration specialists offer boarding-up services. Here are four reasons to board-up after a fire.

1. There is still viable stock on the premises. If products that appear viable remain in the building, you should consider boarding up. These items may require assessment and cleaning and may not be fit for sale, but having them properly processed rather than stolen can be helpful for insurance purposes.

2. You want to protect electronics and other valuables. Depending on the extent of the fire damage, you may be able to restore some electronics or other valuable property to working condition. Loss can be far more expensive than restoration or covered replacement.

3. You need to keep out the elements. If the structure of your property has sustained extensive damage, you should try to keep the elements out. Exposure to additional water, wind, or sunlight can compound the damage caused by smoke residue and soot.

4. You want to limit soot damage. It is generally a good idea to reduce foot traffic on the scene of a recent fire. When soot gets embedded into carpeting or upholstery, it can be much more difficult to restore these materials to a pre-fire condition.

Talk to restoration experts in Lake City, Florida about whether boarding up is a good strategy for preventing loss and limiting damage after a fire. Your major concern is likely to be how to recover from fire damage as quickly and completely as possible. Preventing looting and exposure to the elements can make fire cleanup more successful.

Call us at our office (386) 754-0261 located in Lake City, Florida to answer any questions you might have regarding services available.

Understanding Content Coverage

5/22/2018 (Permalink)

The best way to determine if you have enough content coverage is to conduct a home inventory.

Everyone has homeowners insurance right? It’s one of those things you have and hope you never have to use right? So, what happens if you do have to utilize coverage because of a damage?

Unfortunately, because homeowners insurance is necessary many homeowners rely solely on their agents to choose a policy that is right for them. This is totally fine, and works in many cases, but being educated on what your policy includes and doesn’t include is important.

Most policies are written and cover to repair or rebuild your home after damage. But what about ALL of the personal belongings inside of your home? Generally, your content coverage is 50 to 70 percent of the coverage that you carry on the structure of your home. In most cases this is a sufficient amount to cover personal items that are damaged, but in some cases it isn’t.

The best way to determine if you have enough content coverage is to conduct a home inventory. This is a much easier task thanks to modern technology. Walk through your home room by room and photograph all personal belongings. (TIP-If you picked your home up and turned it upside down, all items that would fall out are considered contents.) Open drawers and closets to photograph all items inside. You can catalog these items and keep them at an offsite location or you can download an app such as DreamVault and access it from any mobile device. This particular app is designed to house photos and information pertaining to each individual item, such as price, model and serial number. There is also a speech to text feature to help with documentation.

If you have jewelry, collector’s items, art or firearms, sometimes your coverage can fall short. Keep that in mind when documenting all items and reviewing your policy. If you find that your coverage is lacking you can generally purchase additional coverage or a rider for certain items.

When you have had damage to your home and personal belongings, you don’t want to worry with the added stress of insufficient coverage. Ensure that you are covered.

If you have damage to your home and/or personal items we are here to help.  Call our office and we will walk you through the process and make your damage “Like it never even happened”. SERVPRO of Columbia & Suwannee Counties (386) 754-0261

Deodorization Destroys Odors

4/20/2018 (Permalink)

Using a Dry Clean Sponge to remove excess soot from structural surfaces.

Call SERVPRO of Columbia & Suwannee Counties for deodorization of tough odors.   

Even a small fire can cause odors for years to come if the affected areas are not properly cleaned and deodorized. Fire, smoke and soot damage in your home or business can create unpleasant and potentially permanent problems.

As various materials burn, the smoke produced travels throughout the structure, leaving odorous residues and deposits on surfaces and hard to reach places. Unless fast, professional action is taken, these residues and deposits can cause permanent damage to contents and may result in resurfacing odors.

SERVPRO of Columbia & Suwannee Counties can provide specialized services that can rid your home or business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. We do not cover up lingering odors with fragrance: we seek out and remove the sources of the odor. Once found, SERVPRO's own proprietary line of professional cleaning products is used to treat and prevent the odor from returning. Any restorable item in the affected areas will also be professionally cleaned and deodorized, including furniture, draperies and upholstery, electronics, art, flooring, walls, ceilings, HVAC air ducts, and more.

Contact SERVPRO of Columbia & Suwannee Counties, located in Lake City, Fl if you have fire, water, mold or just a stubborn odor that refuses to go away, we'll help make it "Like it never even happened."

Liquids That Can Cause Fire Damage

2/19/2018 (Permalink)

If you are using lighter fluid on your grill, it is important to soak the coals before lighting them and not after.

You Can Help Prevent Fire Damage by Staying Aware of Flammable Liquids in Your Home

Many homeowners in Florida are already familiar with the many safety hazards within their homes, including burst pipes, weak electrical systems, burning candles, and more. However, there are some that are often ignored but present a severe risk for fire damage when they come into contact with a flame. These include flammable liquids that may be lying around your house.

In the event of an accidental spill, leading to severe fire damage in North Central Florida, SERVPRO has got you covered. Our IICRC-certified technicians can come in quickly to mitigate the damage and restore your property to preloss condition, "Like it never even happened." We use industry-standard tools and techniques in every restoration job, ensuring that you retain the value of your home after the event.

Nail polish remover is one of the most ignored causes of fire damage with which SERVPRO has dealt. The liquid contains acetone, which is very flammable. When a nearby flame (e.g. from a burning candle or gas stove) comes in contact with the polish remover, it can cause a fire that may in turn spread to your upholstery and other materials.

The rubbing alcohol in your medicine cabinet is also flammable and tends to vaporize quickly. At SERVPRO, we receive numerous cases of fire damage resulting from people pouring the liquid over fabrics to eliminate bedbugs. Gasoline, turpentine, and paint thinner are also possible causes of house fires. One reason for this is improper storage in the garage. Filling glass jars with gasoline, for instance, risks them falling and breaking, creating a spark that may lead to a huge fire.

Many backyard grill masters use charcoal lighter fluid to light up the coals quickly. However, it is easy to create an uncontrollable flame on the grill, causing extensive fire damage in the process. It is advisable to douse the coals before lighting them (not after) - when the briquettes are cold. Additionally, avoid spraying anything on the grill that is not recognized charcoal lighter fluid.

Home fires are not something most homeowners would like to think about. When it happens, SERVPRO of Columbia & Suwannee Counties is there to help. We are a trusted leader in the restoration industry and provide 24/7 emergency services for local residents and neighboring towns. For any assistance, call us today at (386) 754-0261.

For more information on fire prevention in Lake City, Florida click here.  Live Oak, Fl click here

Keep it Safe!

1/5/2018 (Permalink)

Perry, Florida Fire Damage Prior to Cleaning and Rebuild

Winter is the same anywhere you go...lower temperatures & shorter days.  Often times we use alternative heat sources like fireplaces, portable space heaters, and wood burning stoves to make our homes cozy.  Did you know that heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths?

Keep the following safety tips in mind to help reduce your risk of a heating-related fire:

  • Keep anything flammable at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or a portable space heater.  Have a three foot "kid-free zone" around open fires and space heaters.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room.  Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container.  Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed. 
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer's instructions.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly.

Should your home ever face a tragedy, SERVPRO of Columbia & Suwannee Counties is here to assist in any way possible. If you would like to learn more information regarding fire damage restoration or some of our other services such as duct cleaning or mold remediation, visit our SERVPRO website.

How To Get Rid of Smoke Odor After a House Fire

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

Cabinets from a utility room fire.

House or Office fires can be particularly devastating, and even after a Lake City, FL fire remediation team has come into clean and restore your home, the after effects of fire damage can linger for months – especially smoke odor. Smoke has a way of seeping into the walls, fabrics and floors of a home, allowing the smell of it to live on long after the fire has been extinguished. If you don’t want to deal with the smell of smoke after the fire has been put out, implement these smoke cleaning techniques right away. 

Pinpoint the Cause

In most instances, the smell of smoke is not coming directly from burnt wood, but rather from leathers, plastics and other materials that contain harmful chemicals. It is important to identify where the smoke smell is coming from in your home, as this will dictate how you should clean it, or if you should seek professional assistance. If you smell residual smoke in your home, pinpoint the cause and contact your local smoke damage remediation team for guidance. Create some sort of ventilation in the time being. 

Remove the Source of the Odor  More often than not, smoke cleaning involves removing the source of the odor. There will be some things that you can salvage and clean, but there are others that may be a total loss. Some examples of items that are usually damaged beyond repair if not cleaned in time include:  Drywall
Tile grout
Laminate flooring 
Wood floors 
Insulation  Clean Everything With Odor Counteractant  Once you have gotten rid of all the items that are non-salvageable, you can begin to clean. Professional fire remediation teams in Lake City, FL, recommend using a thermal fogger combined with an ozone treatment, which attacks the source of the odor without using harmful chemicals. Ozone treatment is also helpful in killing mold and water damage, which can help counteract the damage caused by the fire hose.Smoke cleaning is an essential step after a house fire. If you want to ensure your home is free of smoke odor after a fire, contact SERVPRO of Columbia & Suwannee Counties, your local fire damage restoration professionals. 

Stay Safe During the Holidays - Be Smart

12/6/2017 (Permalink)

Nothing brightens the Christmas holidays more than a beautifully decked-out tree. But without proper precautions, Christmas trees, lights and candles can pose real fire hazards to homes, offices, and schools. Shorts in electrical lights or flames from candles, lighters, or matches start most tree fires. For every nine home fires that begin with a Christmas tree, says the NFPA, one person dies—compared to one death in every 75 home fires unrelated to Christmas trees.

Here are a few fire safety tips to ensure a merry, healthy, and safe Christmas for your family and friends.

-Get a fresh tree and make sure it’s not dry. Bounce the tree trunk on the ground; a fresh tree will keep its needles.

-Keep the tree hydrated with a water capacity of at least 1 gallon. Replenish the water every day.

-Place the tree in a safe location, approximately 3 feet away from heat vents, space heaters, radiators, baseboard heating, and fireplaces.

-Avoid electrical mishaps. Don't overload outlets. Connect no more than three strands of lights to a single extension cord. Don't run extension cords under rugs, across doorways, or near heaters.  If possible, use a surge protector.

From all of us here at SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee Counties, we wish you a worry-free and safe holiday!  We wish a Merry & Safe Christmas to all of our North Central Florida communities including Lake City (Columbia County), Live Oak (Suwannee County), Lake Butler (Union County), Jasper (Hamilton County), MacClenney (Baker County), Mayo (Lafayette County) and Madison (Madison County).


SERVPRO Handles Large Scale Fire Damages - Cleanup and Rebuilds

5/15/2017 (Permalink)

Kitchen Fire

One of the most severe losses a homeowner can experience is seeing a fire consume their home and possessions. After such a devastating loss, support and clear direction in salvaging whatever you can from fire and smoke damage are what brings reassurance.

At SERVPRO, our staff is more than trained and experienced professionals – they care about people and are their goal is to get you back in your home as fast as possible, while ensuring you are informed each step of the way to ease any concerns you may have.   

It is good to understand the fire types that are most common which can affect your home in Florida knowing ahead of time can help you prevent such fires from occurring that negatively affect you and your family.  

Protein Fire  Food on the stove or in the oven has burned and has left a strong, burnt food odor and smoke residue on surfaces and contents. This is usually associated with meat.  

Complex Fire  Multiple synthetic and natural items in your home have burned, which creates a black smoke and sooty residue on surfaces and contents, with synthetic smoke odors. Emergency corrosion mitigation is needed in this case to protect hard surfaces that are at risk for additional damage from pitting and staining.  

Natural Fire  Shrubs, bushes, and trees have burned, and smoke has come through the structure from outdoors, leaving smoke residues and odors.   

Furnace Malfunction  Heating appliances like furnaces that run on oil have malfunctioned and created smoke that spreads throughout your home. A classic case of "puff-back" can be difficult to cleanup.  

Not Just Burnt Items - Smoke and ash can keep causing corrosion and damage to materials if they go unattended.

Smoke odors remain in a home long afterward and keep causing problems if they are not removed, which is why SERVPRO comes to your home quickly after being called. In only a few minutes after a fire, discoloring occurs on walls and other surfaces. After a few hours, finishes on appliances turn yellow, and smoke etches glass after a short time, while smoke tarnishes metals fast.   

Since not all fire damage is the same, we take the time to identify the source and figure out the kind of fire that happened. We evaluate the areas that are wet from firefighting efforts that could need treatment and remediate any water damage. We also evaluate any sensitive material which could be damaged by smoke and soot particles.

For the aftermath of severe fire incidents, we recommend that you remove belongings, medications, laptops, school books, toys, and other items when you temporarily relocate during the fire damage restoration and rebuild. Then we "pack-out" the remaining contents for cleaning and storage purposes. The use of ultrasonic cleaning & washing systems can salvage much thought to be lost possessions.   We also perform structural restoration which includes removing any charred contents that might seal in smoke like burned wood and insulation, plus evaluate floor coverings and carpets that could need removing. We inspect your home’s framing and subfloors for safety and treat surfaces affected for smoke odors, sealing them to keep any odors leftover from leaking back into your home. We thoroughly clean, eliminate the bulk of odors and deodorize surfaces to bring your home to its preloss condition, whenever possible. 

At SERVPRO of Columbia & Suwannee Counties, we are ready to restore your home after a fire disaster. With you as our priority, we move quickly to perform expert and thorough remediation once you call us at (386) 754-0261. We also service Union (Lake Butler), Lafayette (Perry) & Hamilton (Jasper) Counties as well as surrounding counties to include Baker, Madison & Branford Counties.

Tips for Fire Damage in a Home or Business

9/22/2016 (Permalink)

This is what was left of a time clock and bookshelf in a business that experienced a fire. Thankfully nobody was hurt and SERVPRO was able to help!

At any time, no matter how new or old your home is, a fire can happen. A number of reasons could be the cause of it. Most homeowners are not prepared for a disaster caused by fire. Fire can take lives, precious memories and valuable possessions.  So if you are the victim of a fire, what should you do? Aside from calling SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee Counties, here are some things to consider. 

Do not enter your home until permission is given by the fire department.  It is dangerous to enter your house after a fire even if minimal damage was done.  Structures may be compromised. Sometime fires can re-ignite due to wind, movement, or missed embers.

If you are the homeowner, call your insurance company as soon as possible. You need to know what your insurance policy covers. If you are NOT the homeowner, contact them immediately so that they may contact their insurance company.

Replace all important documents you may have lost in the fire.  This may include your driver’s license, social security card, passport, birth certificates, or any other document that is vital to you. 

Depending on how bad the fire affected your home, you may need some cleaning or you may need reconstruction and restoration.  Our highly trained technicians will be able assist you through the entire process of helping you, alongside your insurance agent to get everything taken care of.  Fire damage is one of the most unpredictable disasters that require an experienced team of professional to restore structures affected by the fire, systems running during the fire, and the smell of the structure and contents after the fire. SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee Counties can efficiently and effectively restore your home or business from fire, smoke and soot damages. (386)754-0261 “Like it never even happened”

What is Fire Restoration?

8/15/2016 (Permalink)

Along with Fire Damage is Water Damage from putting out the fire. We specialize in doing it all to fully restore your Columbia or Suwannee home.

Fire Restoration is a process that begins as soon as the officials deem the property safe. Smoke is an acidic byproduct of fire capable staining surfaces such as walls and counters. In some cases, the steps taken to put out the fire itself can actually cause more damage than the actual fire.

What You Should Leave to the Professionals

There are some things that you don’t want to attempt on your own due to the toxic gases or risk of smoldering ash. We as professionals have the proper safety equipment to get the work done without the risks.

  • Don’t wipe down the walls, furniture or any other absorbent surface.
  • Don’t sit on or move furniture inside affected area.
  • Don’t consume any food product, including canned items, that were exposed present at the time of the fire.
  • Don’t turn on home systems like an air conditioner.
  • Stay away from electrical devices like appliances or TVs, until a fire restoration professional deems them safe.
  • What You Can Do on Your Own

  • Make that call first – you will need professional help, so before you try to do stuff on your own, Call SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee Counties
  • Open all the windows. This will get air moving to push the smoke out of the rooms.
  • Move pets and kids to a smoke-free environment. Smoke contains carcinogenic gases that can affect their health. Start with a neighbor you trust for immediate aid then move them to a temporary home with friends or family until the fire restoration is complete.
  • IF there is no power, empty your refrigerator and freezer. Once empty, prop the door open to prevent odors from building up inside.
  • Make not of any items you wish to have restored or replaced. This can be anything from
  • Should you become the victim of a Columbia or Suwannee County Fire Give us a call at (386) 754-0261. We can make any disaster "Like it never even happened”.

    Major Cause of Summer House Fires....

    4/27/2016 (Permalink)

    Ceiling fire in a house, During the summer months as you try to cool down be mindful of the electric appliances you use.

    In 2012, The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported there were 365,000 residential house fires in the United States. These fires alone caused the 12,875 injuries and 2,380 lives. Those number do not includes first responder injuries or deaths. It equaled up to $5.7 billion worth of property damage.

    Some of the Major causes were of course candles, and smoking. But specifically during the Summer Months they found extended usage of electrical appliances such as overhead lighting fixtures, portable and floor fans, and window air conditioning units. As with ANY electrical device there is always a potential of fire. Poor electrical work is often an unknown danger to the homeowner. This can include badly connected circuits, loose wires, and improper grounding.

    Here’s a link to the NFPA with some helpful information to about safety plans so prepare your home and family in case a fire should happen:

    Should you find yourself in the situation of a fire damage SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee Counties has over 10 years of happy customers. Let us make it like it never even happened. (386) 754-0261