Recent Fire Damage Posts

Winter is the most Common Season for House Fires

2/11/2019 (Permalink)

House fires occur during the coldest months out of the year, Winter, than in any other season. While you are enjoying being warm and cozy this winter season, please also be vigilant and smart about Fire Safety. The reason being is that heating equipment is responsible for 1 in every 7 reported home fires and 1 in every 5 home fire deaths. And although wood burning stoves give off that nice amber glow and the space heater emits warmth, be sure to keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from any heat source like fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators or space heaters.

Many homeowners have invested in generators for those winter blizzards that threaten us to lose power. Generators are great at giving us light, keeping us warm and refrigerating our perishable food. However it is so important to keep portable generators outside, away from windows, and as far away as possible from your home. Carbon Monoxide detectors are just as important as your smoke detectors. Test your carbon monoxide alarms at least once a month. To avoid electrical fires, plug only 1 heat-producing appliance (such as a space heater) into an electrical outlet at a time. Always have a qualified professional clean and inspect your chimney and vents every year! And any remaining ashes that have been cooled should always be stored in tightly covered metal container, and kept outside at least 10 feet from your home and any nearby buildings.

By following these simple rules will help keep your loved ones and home safe and warm during the coldest days of the year.

Home Fire Sprinklers can Dramatically Reduce Heat, Flames, and Smoke

2/11/2019 (Permalink)

When properly installed and maintained, fire sprinklers help save lives.

Fire sprinklers have been around for more than a century, protecting commercial and industrial properties and public buildings. What many people don't realize is that the same life-saving technology is also available for homes, where roughly 80 percent of all civilian fire deaths occur.

The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Fire Sprinkler Initiative outlines proven, effective ways that home fire sprinkler advocates can communicate the impact of sprinklers to their decision makers. NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Initiative highlights key research underscoring how fire sprinklers can reduce the risk of death or injury from fire. According to NFPA's "U.S. Experience with Sprinklers" report: 

  • the civilian death rate was 81 percent lower in homes with fire sprinklers than in homes without them
  • the average firefighter injury rate was nearly 80 percent lower when fire sprinklers were present during fires
  • when sprinklers were present, fires were kept to the room of origin 97 percent of the time
  • the home fire death rate was 90 percent lower when fire sprinklers and hardwired smoke alarms were present. By comparison, this death rate is only 18 percent lower when battery-powered smoke alarms are present but automatic extinguishing systems weren't

Smoke Alarms Saves Lives.

2/11/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out. 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW!

  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. 
  • Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound. 
  • Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
  • Test your smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
  • Today’s smoke alarms will be more technologically advanced to respond to a multitude of fire conditions, yet mitigate false alarms.
  • When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside.
  • Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years.

Holiday Safety

12/11/2018 (Permalink)

According to the National Fire Protection Agency U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 200 Christmas tree related home fires during the holiday season. In total, the average annual property damage is over $14 million dollars!  While such fires are uncommon they are more likely to result in civilian death. A death occurs in 3% of reported Christmas tree fires. By comparison a fatality occurs in only ½% of all other reported home fires. The reason for this discrepancy, Christmas tree fires usually star overnight when trees are left lit. Remember to turn your tree lights off before going to bed and if your tree is natural make sure to water it regularly and dispose of it shortly after the holidays.   

We at SERVPRO Newton / Wellesley wish you and yours a happy and safe holiday season!

Holiday Fire Hazards

12/11/2018 (Permalink)

The more holiday lights the better, right? Weather we are talking about strands of our favorite Christmas lights or holiday scented candles, one quarter of reported Christmas tree fires the result of electrical problems or heat sources too close to the tree (according to the NFPA). Be sure not to overload outlets with multiple strands of lights and make sure that the electrical wiring is up to current electrical code standards. Also, check the wiring to ensure that there are no frays or loose connections.
If candles are the way you light up your holidays then follow these two important safety tips. Do not leave candles lit when going to bed or if no one is home. Additionally, keep them a safe distance from anything flammable.


We at SERVPRO Newton / Wellesley wish you and yours a happy and safe holiday season!

Odor Penetration

10/12/2018 (Permalink)

Factors which Help Odors Penetrate 

  • Surface Porosity – The porous nature of building material varies – Hardwoods are less porous than soft wood. The types of paint used will change the porous nature of building materials. Flat paint does little to protect against odor penetration while paints with a high gloss finish may make a surface impervious to odor and moisture penetration. Items like carpet, drapes, and upholstery are all excellent vessels for odor retention.  
  • Heat - Heat causes porous surfaces to expand, allowing odors to penetrate even deeper. When heat is removed, the surfaces cool, contract, and trap the odor particles. This is why odors resulting from a fire are so pungent and challenging to neutralize.
  • Heavy concentrations of residue - The more concentrated the residue from substances causing the odor, the greater the surface area of materials that it can impact. 
  • Exposure time - The longer a surface is exposed to odor particles, the greater the number of odor particles that will penetrate porous surfaces. The greater the number of odor particles that penetrate porous surface areas the stronger the odors are likely to be.

Environmental factors also influence our reception of odors. Odor molecules are very volatile; they vaporize easily. High humidity levels help dissolve and carry odor vapors to the nose. This makes odors in humid air seem stronger than those in dry air. Weather conditions thus impact how evident odors are to people; odors become more detectable by the nose as the humidity increases. Our technicians alert our clients about these potential environmental impacts. It is quite possible, even months later, for odors to reappear during times of increased humidity or temperature. That is not so say that the odor neutralization process was incomplete, but rather the environmental conditions have changed and become more conducive to odor reception. In some cases additional neutralization may be necessary.    

Next up - Deodorization methods and basic procedures.

Odor Remediation

9/25/2018 (Permalink)

Odor remediation projects tend to be complex. Odors may be real or imaginary. Furthermore, interpretation of odor as good versus bad varies from client to client. As such every remediation project presents a unique set of challenges to our technicians. Over the coming weeks I would like to provide insight into some of these challenges and how to properly neutralize odor.  To begin with we need to better understand how we as humans process odor, what odor is, why odor remains, and finally environmental conditions that may enhance our reception of odor.

Humans depend on their nose as the best “instrument” for detecting odor. Odors result from airborne chemicals, gases, or tiny particles. As we breathe, these substances are absorbed by the mucous membranes in our nose and mouth. Receptors in the nose send a message to the brain, where the odor sensation is interpreted. Each individual reacts to odors differently in detecting whether odors are present and how intense they are. Interestingly there are two types of odors — real and imagined.  

  • Real odor is the sensation of smell caused by a real substance. Odor molecules interact with olfactory nerve cells in the nose. The olfactory nerves send a message to the brain that is interpreted by the olfactory lobe.
  • Imaginary or psychological odor is what people think they smell. They are stimulated by a given set of circumstances and strong impressions formed from similar circumstances before. Some people think they smell something because of the circumstances, not because of an odor actually being present. Imaginary odors are sometimes called heightened awareness odors, because circumstances have made the individual more aware of odor than he or she normally would be, and thus more likely to smell something that no one else smells.

Moreover, the term odor describes both good and bad smells. Whether an odor smells good or bad is in the mind of the individual. Some odors — such as putrefying flesh — are considered unpleasant by almost everyone. Other odors — such as gasoline or paint fumes— may be considered good odors by some people, but extremely offensive by others. The interpretation of whether a smell is good or bad differs from one individual to the next.

Odor particles are tiny. Tiny objects are measured in microns, and odor particles range in size from .1 (one tenth) of a micron to about four (4) microns. To put these sizes in perspective take a look at the period at the end of this sentence. That period is about 150 microns in size or 38 times bigger than the largest possible odor particle!  The extremely small size of odor particles allows them to penetrate surfaces easily. It is this penetration into building materials and furniture which result in odors remaining in our environments. This is also what makes the odor neutralization process at times challenging.   

NEXTFactors which Help Odors Penetrate 

Chemicals Released By Fires

4/30/2018 (Permalink)

Some of the biggest issues associatedwith fire damage don'tcome directly from the flames.The heat and water vapor from combustion can cause severe damage. There is also the smoke and soot from the fire that can cause lasting problems to your home. They contain toxic chemicals and also have a smell that lasts.

Plastics and other synthetic materials can leave behind harmful chemicals that are dangerous to inhale.Wood smoke is usually the largest contributor to smoke in the building. It contains methane, carbon monoxide, benzene, sulfur dioxide, formaldehyde, formic acid, acetic acid, and traces of heavy metals. This combination of chemicals is quite hazardous and can cause major problems for anyone who inhales or comes in contact with the smoke or residue left behind. The smoke and soot can cover almost every surface in the house even in places that were not directly adjacent to the fire, traveling either through air vents or wall cavities.

Removing smoke and sot requires the proper machinery and expertise.Here atSERVPRO of Newton / Wellesleywe have all of the machinery and expertise you would need. Our certified professionals have been working with people in need of help for years.

It may seem like life will never be the same following a disastrous fire. With the help of our technicians we can get you back on track. Let us make it "Like it never even happened."

Get Into The Habit of Closing Bedroom Door

4/30/2018 (Permalink)

Did you know that 40 years ago you had about 17 mins. to get out of your house during a fire?

Now you have have about 3 mins. This is due to the synthetic materials, furniture and construction materials that we use.

Fire spreads faster than ever. Having your door closed can save your life. It gives you more time to find a way out before the room fills with smoke or more time to be rescued.

Having the door closed slows down the smoke, hear and fire itself.

One concern that people had with having the door was that they wouldn't be able to hear the alarm. The difference, in one study, showed that there was only a 17 decimal difference between the door closed and opened. It was still loud enought to hear the alarm in the room with the door closed.

Along with the alarm, having the door closed can save your life.

Get inthe habit of closing the door.

How to Prevent a Dryer Fire

3/23/2018 (Permalink)

Very few people realize thedanger ofclothes dryer fires. However, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are an estimated annual 15,500 fires, 10 deaths and 10 injuries due to clothes dryer fires. Several hundred people a year are also subjected to carbon monoxide poisoning from improper dryervent setups. The financial costs come to nearly $100,000,000 per year. In some cases faulty appliances are to blame, but many fires can be prevented with proper dryer venting. Lint accumulation and reduced airflow feed on each other to provide conditions ripe for a fire. Lint is a highly combustible material, which, interestingly enough, is one of the ingredients in a recipe for home-made fire starters. A number of dryer vent problems contribute to this.

Here are several important steps you can take to keep this from happening to you

Clean your lint screen.Always clean your lint screen right before you push the start button forEVERY LOAD! Even if there is just a small amount of lint on the screen, clean it anyway. This is a good habit to get into.

Check your vent hose.Make sure your vent hose is in good shape. If you have the white plastic vent hose, replace it now! It is not safe and has been outlawed. Use the aluminum type vent hose and make sure the length is as short as possible and not crushed or kinked.

Clean your vent line regularly.It's very important that the vent line (from the wall behind the dryer to the outside flap) is not restricted or clogged up with lint. This greatly increases your chance of a dryer fire. If you are unable to clean out this line yourself, call a professional. Many Chimney Sweep companies offer this service.

Keep the area around the dryer clean.In the event that your dryer does have a lint fire, don't give it more fuel to destroy your home. Make sure there are no articles of clothing, boxes, cleaning supplies, or anything else behind or around the dryer. You should also keep things off the top of the dryer.


Clean the lint out of the inside of the dryer regularly.
Your dryer needs to be opened up and vacuumed out periodically. Most dryers today are not easily accessible for the homeowner. Unless you know how to take your dryer apart and put it back together, you'll need a technician to do this. Any time you have your dryer repaired, ask the technician to vacuum it out for you. He should be doing this anyway as part of the service.

Make sure your gas line is in good shape.If you have a gas dryer you should check your gas line. If it looks old or questionable, you should replace it. Make sure when you push your dryer back into position, you don't kink the line.

The Risk of Using Heat Lamps

3/7/2018 (Permalink)

Heat lamps keeps our pets and livestock nice and warm but it is crucial to follow simple rules to protect their safety as well as your home from fire damage.  The following will help to reduce the hazards posed by heat lamps for pets and livestock:

  1. Use UL-listed heat lamps and follow manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Heat lamps with guards may provide some protection if the lamp falls into combustible bedding.
  3. Ensure heat lamps are installed in locations where they are far enough from any combustibles to preclude ignition.  Remember that wooden construction elements will eventually dry out and ignite from a heat lamp too.
  4. Ensure the installation is secure and the light cannot be knocked down.
  5. Run cords in locations where animals cannot reach them.
  6. Make sure electrical circuits are not overloaded.  Heat lamps use more amperage than regular lights.
  7. Keep all combustibles away from heat lamps and ensure kids doing chores are aware of the hazards.
  8. Check the lamp and mounting periodically to ensure it is secure.

If you’ve got concerns about your heat lamp, stop and check it out.  That few minutes may save your pets, your livestock, your barn, or even your home.

Common Causes of House Fires

2/28/2018 (Permalink)

During the winter holidays we tend to be more vigilant about fire safety but homeowners must be aware of obstacles to fire safety all year and particularly in the cold weather months.  In the winter months, people spend more time indoors and more time inside increases the risk of house fires.  According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) more than 360,000 home structure fires each year which is equivalent to $6-8 billion dollars in damage. Those figures are astounding and you don’t want to be a part of those statistics when these tragedies are preventable.  With foresight and good judgment, homeowners can minimize these risks. Take a look at these common fire hazards in your home defined by the National Fire Protection Association and ask yourself, guilty or not guilty?

    1. Candles: Do you light candles and walk away?

While the glow and aroma creates the perfect ambience, candles are best enjoyed outside or used with precaution.  Never leave a candle unattended or less than 12 feet from an object.  Better yet a battery operated candle is extremely safe, never burns out and gives off that soft glow.

    1. Smoking: Do you allow smoking in the house?

Another reason why smoking is not such a great idea, it is the second leading cause of house fires.  The good news, smoking is on a downward trend and with the help of recent regulations of nonflammable household items such as couches, mattress, pajamas, that has also decreased house fires caused by cigarettes.  Though ironically the older you are the likelihood you will experience a house fire related to cigarettes increase.  Individuals killed in a house fire were 65 and older.   Try smoking outside instead.

    1. Electrical & Lighting: Are you confident the electricity in your house is safe?

There are numerous causes for electrical fires; an overloaded circuit and extension cords, an overheated light bulb, space heaters, faulty wiring and appliances.  To minimize risk, don’t overload outlets, make sure you use inside cords for inside and heavy duty/outside cords for outdoors.  Never leave Christmas lights or halogen lights overnight or on when not at home and consider hiring an electrician to make sure wiring is in place.

    1. Dryers & Washing Machines: Have you checked the lint tray in the dryer lately?

Clothes dryer and washing machine fires are more common than one might realize.  The most common cause for dryers are lint trays and cable insulation for washing machines.  Make sure you clean the lent screen before and after every use.  Double check lines for gas and propane dryers.  Vent the dryer to the outside and ensure nothing is blocking the vent.  Clean the vent pipe on a regular basis and keep area around the dryer free of combustible materials.

    1. Lightning: Do you know the inside dangers of lightning?

Fires caused by lightning are most likely to occur in June, July and August in the late afternoon.  Lightning can also be the cause of wildfires.  Stay away from doors and windows during an electrical form.  Do not use electrical equipment during storms.  Avoid using faucets and baths during a thunderstorm.

    1. Children playing with fire: Do you keep fire hazards out of reach ?

Children the age of six and under are most likely to start a fire using matches or a lighter.  Make sure to keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children, teach them fire safety at a young age and make sure children are always supervised.

    1. Christmas Trees: Do you know the dangers associated with decorations?

Christmas tree fires cause an average of $18.3 million in property damage each year.  Keep live Christmas trees well watered and dispose them before they become too brittle and dry.  Turn Christmas tree lights off before leaving the house or going to bed. Make sure they are a safe distance from any heat source.

    1. Cooking: Do you make a habit to check the stove while cooking and before leaving the house?

Another leading cause of house fires is cooking and easy to get distracted when something is simmering on the stove.  Always be vigilant when cooking and never leave items on a stove unattended.  Never put a grease fire out with water, instead place a lid on the pan to smother the fire.  If fire occurs in the oven, keep oven door shut until fire extinguishes itself.  Keep flammable items away from oven and always have a fire extinguisher in kitchen.

SERVPRO of Newton / Wellesley To The Scene

2/20/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of NEWTON/WELLESLEY was on scene to assist SERVPRO of FRAMINGHAM, our sister franchise, with a fire that was spotted in the early morning hours by a neighbor. No one was injured. The original newspaper article from the Metro West Daily News is below.

ASHLAND — Fire officials say they are grateful for a man walking his dog early Monday morning who spotted flames on a second-floor porch of a Tilton Avenue home, then banged on the building to wake up residents in two apartments.

Doug Duval said he was walking his miniature pinscher Ruby around 5 a.m. when he saw the fire at 25-27 Tilton Ave. It was dark outside and the Christmas lights looked strange, he said.

"When I got a little closer I could see it was fire," he said. "There were 10-foot flames shooting up the wall."

He tied Ruby to a fence on the property and jumped into action.

"I started banging on the side of the house yelling, 'fire, fire, fire!'" he said. "I woke the whole neighborhood."

A neighbor called 911 as the two apartments were quickly evacuated. The first floor homeowner and a neighbor got a fire extinguisher out of the garage to fight the flames, Duval said.

The Ashland Fire Department arrived to finish the job. Nobody was injured in the home and the fire was contained to the porch, according to fire Lt. David Iarussi. The neighbor who helped douse the flames was taken to MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham for a smoke-related evaluation.

Iarussi said the state fire marshal's office determined the cause to be careless disposal of a cigarette.

"The fire would have been much worse if it spread inside the house and the fire alarm went off," he said. "We wouldn't have known until the fire alarm went off."

Fire Chief Scott Boothby said it was a "good catch" by Duval, and the fire was mostly out within 15 minutes.

"Luckily, someone was walking by at the time," he said. "It wouldn't have taken too much more. A few more minutes it would have extended into the house and attic. It was just starting to burn the roof of the porch."

He said a Hopkinton engine and Framingham ambulance responded to the scene for mutual aid. Sherborn firefighters covered the Cedar Street Station.

The first-floor homeowners were allowed to return, while the second-floor tenants were temporarily displaced until a company could clean up, Boothby said.

He said a similar situation happened on Trailside Way a couple of months ago when a person walking by reported a fire. That fire also was determined to be caused by a cigarette, he said.

He encouraged residents to make sure smoking materials are put out properly.

Home Fire Preparedness - SERVPRO of NEWTON/WELLESLEY

2/20/2018 (Permalink)

The (7) Ways to Prepare for a Home Fire:

  1. Install the right number of smoke alarms. Test them once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year.
  2. Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.
  3. Ensure that all household members know (2) ways to escape from every room of your home and know the family meeting spot outside of your home.
  4. Establish a family emergency communications plan and ensure that all household members know who to contact if they cannot find one another.
  5. Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year. Press the smoke alarm test button or yell “Fire“ to alert everyone that they must get out.
  6. Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.
  7. Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.                          

For additional information on how to stay prepared, follow the Red Cross link below:

http://www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/fire/home-fire-preparedness

Contact our office at (617) 332-9000.  The professionals at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are available 24/7/365 to assist you in the event your home or business experiences fire/smoke/soot damage.  We are here to help you make it, "Like it never even happened."

Christmas Trees Must Be Hydrated

12/1/2017 (Permalink)

The holiday season is upon is which also translates to many candles and treasured decorations.

Always always be mindful of open flames and never leave candles unattended.

For those who celebrate Christmas, is it also important to keep your tree hydrated.

According to the US Department of Commerce, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) works to develop better ways to measure things — like, for example, how likely a tree is to burst into flames. The verdict:much more likely if the tree isn’t well hydrated.

Although Christmas tree fires are still considered rare, they do still account for roughly 200 home fires each year, destroying an annual $14 million in the process,the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) says. They’re deadly, too, killing an average of six people yearly.

So how do you prevent your tree from going up in flames? First off, definitely don’t light it up on purpose. Believe it or not, that causes about a quarter of the Christmas tree fires, the NFPA says — usually in January. Since heat plus fuel equals fire, it’s also a good idea keep your tree andnon-tree decorationsaway from hot things like candles and heaters.

Second: water your tree, and get rid of it when the needles start to crunch. Evena flaming book of 20 matches couldn’t spark a blazein a well-hydrated, freshly cut Christmas tree. But just 61 seconds after flames licked the needles of a desiccated conifer, the tree was reduced to smoldering branches.The NIST did the experiment, so you don’t have to.

Halogen Lamps Can Cause Havoc, When Not Properly Used

11/2/2017 (Permalink)

Halogen light bulbs may last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, but they have additional dangers associated with them. Compared to incandescent bulbs, halogen bulbs have a longer lifespan and are more energy efficient. Being aware of the dangers associated with halogen lights can help minimize the risks that come with using halogen light bulbs.

Halogen light bulbs can reach temperatures much higher than traditional light bulbs. According to the New York State Fire Administration, a 300 W halogen bulb can reach temperatures as high as 970 degrees F. This high level of heat generation can potentially cause ignition of combustible fluids or fumes nearby.

  Because of this, they have been known to cause a fire when they touch the wrong surface for too long. For example, if the lamp falls over and the light is turned on, it could potentially catch the drapes or some paper on fire. Small children have been known to drop a blanket or some other flammable object on the top of a lamp and leave it, promptly starting fire

 Various items that were placed over a halogen lamp in a test were used to determine how quickly a fire can happen. Results included a polyester/cotton shirt burning in 24 seconds. Cardboard ignited in 1 minute 17 seconds, and a piece of pine wood caught fire in 1 minute 43 seconds, according to the study results.

As a preventative measure, make sure you place lamps in areas where they won't get knocked over or bumped into. Keep fabric, wood and other flammable items away from the light. Nothing should ever impede air flow around the bulb. Turn off the lamps when not in use, and avoid direct contact with the bulb except when changing the bulb.

Keep Fires Out Of The Festivities

7/14/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Keep Fires Out Of The Festivities House fire caused by fireworks.

An Independence Day tradition always includes  fireworks painting the sky on the evening of the 4th of July and all throughout the summer. Sadly as the sparklers shoot upward so do injuries, fires and the resulting home insurance claims.  Even though your basic homeowners' insurance covers fires, your policy may likely cover fires caused by fireworks your family sets off, especially in states where they are deemed illegal which includes our great state of Massachusetts.  
July 4th is the one day of the year with the largest number of fires reported according to the National Fire Protection Association. More than half of these fires are caused by people shooting off rockets in their own backyard.   On average, fireworks cause over 18,500 fires a year, including 1300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside fires with an average of $43 million in direct property damage according to the Consumer Product Safety Commissions Fireworks Annual Report (2015). 
Even if your state permits the use of fireworks, you may want to reconsider whether that would be a wise decision. Instead of a 'do-it-yourself' fireworks show, your family could sit back, relax and enjoy the display so many local towns host. And you have the added comfort of knowing your family is not in harm's way.   

Think Before You Grill

7/14/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Think Before You Grill An unattended grill engulfed in flames

   Summertime is synonymous with grilling and barbecues. There is no better way to spend the day with family and friends in the comfort of your backyard on a hot summer night than a tasty barbecue made up of good food, good cooks and good company in a great atmosphere.  However it is important we take precautions when dealing with open flames and propane gas.  Here are some simple Dos & Don'ts to ensure a safe and enjoyable time. Here is What You Should Do: 1.       Keep you grill at least 10 feet away from your home, the further the better. Also ensure grills are not underneath wooden overhangs.2.       Make sure you clean your grill on a regular basis. Grease and fat buildup will provide more fuel to the fire.3.       Always check for gas leaks. By simply rubbing soapy water on the gas hose and connections, you will be able to determine if there is a gas leak. If the soap begins to form large bubbles there is a leak.4.       Keep decorations away from your grill. Summer décor like hanging baskets and banners look nice but they are flammable items and should be kept at a good distance.5.       Keep a spray bottle of water handy for minor flare ups.6.       Keep a fire extinguisher within a couple of steps from the grill and make sure you know how to use it in the event of a larger fire.  And Now For What You Should Never Do: 1.       Never turn on the gas while the grill lid is closed.  This is a huge No-No as a closed lid filled with gas will cause an explosion when the lid is opened and the gas is exposed to oxygen.2.       Never leave a grill unattended to avoid unintended consequences.3.       Never overload your grill with fatty meats that drip on the flames and cause a flare-up. 4.       Never use a grill indoors, its design as an outdoor kitchen!

The Unexpected Dangers of a Hoverboard

5/18/2017 (Permalink)

This popular high tech toy have proven to be deadly. Federal officials urge consumers to use caution when buying or using self-propelled hoverboards after one of the devices is blamed for causing a deadly house fire in Pennsylvania.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled more than 500,000 hoverboards made by 10 retailers warning that the products did not meet federal fire safety standards. Additionally, the CPSC has investigated more than 60 hoverboard fires since the fall of 2015.

In their initial recall announcement, the CPSC said that the affected hoverboards used lithium-ion battery packs that which can overheat thus creating a risk of the hooverboard smoking, catching on fire or even causing an explosion.

Consumers are urged to check hoverboards to see if they comply with federal standards. They need to look for a sign or confirmation that the products are certified by UL, a safety consulting firm formerly known as Underwriters Laboratories.

With this UL safety seal, it helps reduce the potential fire and hazards and will greatly decrease the probability of an incident. The UL standard has many tests that focus on lithium ion battery safety. While hundreds of models have undergone and passed the strict safety requirements, more the 250,000 hoverboards have been recalled to replace faulty battery packs.

 

 

How To Prevent Attic Fires

5/18/2017 (Permalink)

Did you know that more than 40% of attic fires are the result of electrical malfunctions?

So how do we help prevent an attic fire? Here are three things firefighters suggest you hire have a professional to do:

  1. Have your chimney inspected by a professional who will check the interior and exterior of the chimney, including the part running through the attic
  2. Check the wiring in your attic, preferably by an electrician, looking for signs of damage, cracked insulation (wire sheathing), and exposed or disconnected wires
  3. Look for signs of burning and charring in the insulation and wood

    A common mistake is that everybody typically plugs in their space heaters to help supplement their heat. And then, they'll put them on a long extension cord so that they are able to reach areas with less heat. So, the longer the extension cord is, the more ampage it will draw on the circuit.

Another common fire hazard is that homeowners choose voltage incandescent light bulbs in ceiling fixtures that is a higher voltage than required is also a fire hazard. That heat that is trapped within the light fixture goes straight up into the attic and in the wires and essentially cook the wires, starting a fire.

 

How to Safely Dispose Oily Rags

4/3/2017 (Permalink)

     With warmer weather approaching, home improvement projects will be on the rise. In an effort to make everything look new again for another summer, we re-stain outdoor furniture and prime the deck for a nice appearance at our summer barbecues. “Do-it-yourselvers” take heed! There is a grave danger inherent in using oil based products that you may not be aware of. If you do not properly dispose of the oily rages after use, you are rolling the dice for a potential disaster. Discarded rags left unattended and not contained have the potential to cause spontaneous combustion which leads to fire.

     You are done with your project; you toss oil soaked rags without giving it a second thought. What most people who use these products do not know, is that when a substance like linseed oil is left on a cotton rag and left in the open air, a chemical reaction takes place. The rag actually heats up to almost 400 degrees as it is in the process of drying. And believe it or not, there is no spark needed to cause this devastating fire. It is so important to be aware of these products and to always carefully read all the instructions, no matter how small the print, before you even open the container to use the product. You need to know the instructions on proper disposal of the rags, as well as how to secure the container after the job is done. Besides linseed oil, other culprits include flaxseed, sunflower and soybean oil, coal, charcoal, hay, compost piles, piles of manure, paint thinners, oil-based paints are all susceptible to spontaneously combusting. 

     So the next time you’re ready to tackle a do-it-yourself project or to hire a contractor to do a job with an oil based product, make sure the rags are properly stored in a metal can filled with water and an oil breakdown detergent with a secure lid.  Then you will be able to  dispose of the closed can of rags when your town sponsors a hazardous waste collection day. This one simple act can save you from the despair of a preventable fire. If you research fires caused by oil-based products online you will be amazed at how easily these fires get started and rage out of control. One example online described a handyman who had an oily rag in the back pocket of his work overalls when the rag dried out by the sun caught fire and burned him.

 

The 24-hour emergency services provided by SERVPRO Framingham and SERVPRO 

Newton / Wellesley comes to your rescue when you need them, ready to help using their water and fire damage training as well as their wide range of knowledgeable expertise. They will get you through a difficult experience. Once the fire department leaves the scene, you may be left with a non-functioning business or residence because of water damage caused by firefighting efforts. We have the specialized fire and water damage restoration training, personnel, and equipment to handle fire and water damage and the ability to efficiently restore your business or residence to pre-fire condition.

Common Causes of Wildfires

3/28/2017 (Permalink)

   A wildfire is the potentially deadly catalyst that starts as an uncontrolled fire in a large undeveloped and un-populated area. If the response to these fires is not timely they can quickly get out of control and end up destroying homes and agriculture and killing animals and human life in their path. As many as 90 percent of wildland fires in the United States are caused by human carelessness or criminal intent. An unattended campfire, the burning of debris, negligently discarded cigarettes as well as intentional acts of arson are some of the ways that people cause tragedy. Wildfires can also be caused by an accumulation of dead matter (leaves, twigs, and trees) that create enough heat in some instances to spontaneously combust and ignite the surrounding area. Man-made combustion from arson, carelessness and lack of fire safety cause wildfire disasters every year. However, weather conditions contribute to the occurrence of wildfires as well. Lightning strikes or extended dry spells causing drought are weather related agitators. Lightning strikes the earth over 100,000 times a day and 10 to 20% of these lightning strikes can cause fire.  An average of 1.2 million acres of US woodland burn every year. And sadly a large wildfire is even capable of modifying the local weather conditions and producing its own weather.

     Summer is coming and many of us will be camping in the woods. We have known Smokey the Bear all our lives and have the responsibility to share his critical message with the next generation of campers. I love the commercial where Smokey comes out of the woods and gives a young camper a hug for carefully putting out his campfire. You can't help but smile. The message is stated subtly but is a good reminder of the detailed instructions Smokey has provided for years on how together we can prevent foret fires. As Smokey advises, keep campfires at a managemable size, allow wood to burn to ash completely, and pour a substantial amount of water on all embers until hissing sound stops.  If you do not have water, stir up the dirt or sand into the embers with a shovel and bury the fire making absolutely sure no embers are exposed and still smoldering. One last word of caution from the Bear who knows, “If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.”

Common Causes of House Fires

2/22/2017 (Permalink)

During the winter holidays we tend to be more vigilant about fire safety but homeowners must be aware of obstacles to fire safety all year and particularly in the cold weather months.  In the winter months, people spend more time indoors and more time inside increases the risk of house fires.  According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) more than 360,000 home structure fires each year which is equivalent to $6-8 billion dollars in damage. Those figures are astounding and you don’t want to be a part of those statistics when these tragedies are preventable.  With foresight and good judgment, homeowners can minimize these risks. Take a look at these common fire hazards in your home defined by the National Fire Protection Association and ask yourself, guilty or not guilty?

    1. Candles: Do you light candles and walk away?

While the glow and aroma creates the perfect ambience, candles are best enjoyed outside or used with precaution.  Never leave a candle unattended or less than 12 feet from an object.  Better yet a battery operated candle is extremely safe, never burns out and gives off that soft glow.

    1. Smoking: Do you allow smoking in the house?

Another reason why smoking is not such a great idea, it is the second leading cause of house fires.  The good news, smoking is on a downward trend and with the help of recent regulations of nonflammable household items such as couches, mattress, pajamas, that has also decreased house fires caused by cigarettes.  Though ironically the older you are the likelihood you will experience a house fire related to cigarettes increase.  Individuals killed in a house fire were 65 and older.   Try smoking outside instead.

    1. Electrical & Lighting: Are you confident the electricity in your house is safe?

There are numerous causes for electrical fires; an overloaded circuit and extension cords, an overheated light bulb, space heaters, faulty wiring and appliances.  To minimize risk, don’t overload outlets, make sure you use inside cords for inside and heavy duty/outside cords for outdoors.  Never leave Christmas lights or halogen lights overnight or on when not at home and consider hiring an electrician to make sure wiring is in place.

    1. Dryers & Washing Machines: Have you checked the lint tray in the dryer lately?

Clothes dryer and washing machine fires are more common than one might realize.  The most common cause for dryers are lint trays and cable insulation for washing machines.  Make sure you clean the lent screen before and after every use.  Double check lines for gas and propane dryers.  Vent the dryer to the outside and ensure nothing is blocking the vent.  Clean the vent pipe on a regular basis and keep area around the dryer free of combustible materials.

    1. Lightning: Do you know the inside dangers of lightning?

Fires caused by lightning are most likely to occur in June, July and August in the late afternoon.  Lightning can also be the cause of wildfires.  Stay away from doors and windows during an electrical form.  Do not use electrical equipment during storms.  Avoid using faucets and baths during a thunderstorm.

    1. Children playing with fire: Do you keep fire hazards out of reach ?

Children the age of six and under are most likely to start a fire using matches or a lighter.  Make sure to keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children, teach them fire safety at a young age and make sure children are always supervised.

    1. Christmas Trees: Do you know the dangers associated with decorations?

Christmas tree fires cause an average of $18.3 million in property damage each year.  Keep live Christmas trees well watered and dispose them before they become too brittle and dry.  Turn Christmas tree lights off before leaving the house or going to bed. Make sure they are a safe distance from any heat source.

    1. Cooking: Do you make a habit to check the stove while cooking and before leaving the house?

Another leading cause of house fires is cooking and easy to get distracted when something is simmering on the stove.  Always be vigilant when cooking and never leave items on a stove unattended.  Never put a grease fire out with water, instead place a lid on the pan to smother the fire.  If fire occurs in the oven, keep oven door shut until fire extinguishes itself.  Keep flammable items away from oven and always have a fire extinguisher in kitchen.