Recent Fire Damage Posts

House Fire? Call SERVPRO!

8/4/2022 (Permalink)

One of the scariest things you can go through as a homeowner is having a house fire. Not only
is the fire itself scary, the aftermath is even harder to deal with. Whether it was a small grease
fire in the kitchen, or a severe fire that caused damage to the entire house, it affects many
aspects of your life and your family’s life. SERVPRO specializes in Fire & Water - Cleanup &
Restoration, no matter how big or small the job, we can help from start to finish!

- Mitigation Services

- Property Protection

- Heavy soot

- Smoke damage

- Structure damage and more!


We have all the tools and cleaning supplies needed to return your home to its original state.


“Like it never even happened.” Let our trained professionals help you today!

Kids and Fire Safety

8/1/2022 (Permalink)

Home fires can start quickly, and spread at an incredible rate.  Studies have shown that once a smoke detector goes off in your home, you only have about 2 minutes to get out safely! When you have young children in the house, that thought can be overwhelming and frightening.  Altho we cannot always prevent a fire from starting, there are things we can do to help our families get out safely if a fire occurs.

Working Smoke Detectors/Alarms are of utmost importance!! Altho you only have about 2 minutes to escape once the alarm sounds, smoke detectors in the home have been shown to reduce fire-related deaths by 50%.  Considering half of all home fires occur between 11PM – 7AM, when most folks are sleeping, a working smoke detector sounding the alarm can make all the difference. As well as with so many fires starting during the night time, it is a good idea to have working alarms in each bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home. For the best protection, install interconnected smoke alarms. This way, when one goes off, they all sound.  Practice a few times with the alarm actually sounding, to ensure that your child is not afraid of the sound, and that they know what they should do when they hear the alarm

Also, practice escaping out of every room of your home.  Make a game of it, see how many different ways you can get out to your designated ‘safe space’ and meeting area. Even have your kids help draw a map of your different escape routes. They will have fun. Drawing a map also helps ingrain it into their minds, making them more likely to remember what to do in the event of an actually fire.

Teach kids to not play with matches and lighters.  Make a habit of storing these items up and out of reach of young children. Teach children that if they happen to find a match or lighter, to take it to a trusted adult immediately!

Fires can be devastating, and sadly, we cannot completely fire-proof our world.   But just a little bit of planning can make a big difference for your family. And if you ever do experience a fire, do not hesitate to call upon your Fire Restoration Specialists at SERVPRO! We are always here to help.

The Statistics Of Fire in the USA

5/9/2022 (Permalink)

Flames in residential homes can spread quickly due to personal belongings and many furniture items.

The Fire Statistics: House-fires are more common than you think…

According to FEMA the number of house-fires in from 2015-2019 was 346,800.

That is actually a 3.2% decrease from 10 years prior.

Fires cost an average of 14.8 billion dollars’ worth of damage to properties per year. This is over a 74% increase from 10 years prior.

Fire deaths are also at a 10 year high at over 3,700 fire related deaths reported in 2019.

Here in Oregon we have 308 registered fire departments.

So far this year (as of May 1st), we have 7 reported deaths due to house-fires in the state of Oregon.

We also lost beloved firefighter Austin Smith during a barn fire in February of this year, he was from the St. Paul Fire District. He was just 30 years old.

Cooking remains the top cause of house-fires at over 50%.

Cooking accounts for approximately 30% of commercial fires.

Education of prevention and the top causes of fires is more important than ever. Especially considering almost 8% of house fires were started due to negligence (not arson). This means that over 27,000 house-fires were completely preventable.

Here is a wonderful tool that you can use for your home whether you own or rent. Print it out, hang it up, go over it with your kids, or anyone that lives in the home with you. Fire Safety Checklist: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/fief/up_in_smoke_home_checklist.pdf

Resources: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/index.html

More resources: www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/fire.html

Backdraft, Not Just A Movie.

5/9/2022 (Permalink)

One of the biggest warning signs of a possible backdraft is black smoke.

Do you know what a backdraft is?

You may know what it is, or what it looks like, but do you know what causes it?

We have all seen the movie, whether you loved it or not…you remember the epic scene at the end.

Here is a great overview of what backdraft is from Wikipedia: A backdraft (North American English) or backdraught (British English) is the abrupt burning of superheated gasses in a fire, caused when oxygen rapidly enters a hot, oxygen-depleted environment; for example, when a window or door to an enclosed space is opened or broken.

Firefighters are taught to recognize backdraft conditions, due to space fire is contained in, smoke emitting from the fire (how dark is it? How fast is the fire burning?), no visible flame (fires often suffocate in this stage of burning due to lack of oxygen), the biggest sign I think of is the sudden movement of air inward when an opening to the affected space is finally made.

You can learn about all the signs of backdraft more here: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/blog/cb-051920.html

How Hot Is Too Hot?

5/6/2022 (Permalink)

Drywall that has been affected by the severe heat of a house-fire.

How hot is Scorching?
Did you know that “Scorching Hot” is slang?
There is indeed no clear cut answer to what temperature is considered Scorching.
It can be defined as a temperature that can burn you if you come in contact with it (like a hot pan on the stove), or a weather temperature that humans are uncomfortable being outside in for any period of time.
Have you ever seen a picture of heat affected drywall taken after a house fire? That is what comes to mind when I think of scorching.
Weird things happen when drywall has gotten so hot, it has almost caught fire…Drywall in this condition is usually black and the paint/sealant on the drywall is bubbling. Drywall and the minerals that make drywall start to damage at around 175 degrees F, drywall can spontaneously catch fire at 350 degrees F.
There is such a great heat fluctuation in house fires that at floor level it may be 100 degrees F (which is why humans are told to get low or crawl in the case of a fire), at ceiling height it can easily reach 1500 degrees F. No human can survive in that type of heat. In fact, the hottest temperature humans can withstand (short-term) is 248 degrees F.
Our human bodies are made up of water and other elements that heat can affect severely.
It’s a delicate balance to keep our bodies at an optimal temperature. Even if our internal temperature fluctuates a few degrees our bodies respond with flu-like symptoms.
Fire safety is so important. Many fires can engulf and destroy entire houses in a matter of minutes. With each changing season check your smoke alarms, have an exit plan, and educate your family and loved ones on the importance of fire safety.

Most Think They Are House-Fire Prepared, But Are They?

4/5/2022 (Permalink)

You have read about house fires, and if you are safety prepared you have a fire extinguisher and smoke detectors in your home, but do you have a plan?
House fires can happen for many reasons, but each one starts incredibly small…like the burning of a tea candle, or a spark from faulty wiring, or a toaster oven overheating, or (the most common) cooking fire from unattended food on the stove.
If something as small a spark can destroy an entire home, you would think we as homeowners and renters would be more prepared for it. But the sad truth is, less than half of the 80% of the US population who believes they are prepared and know what to do in the case of a fire…don’t have a plan in place if an actual fire happens.
In order to have a plan in place you should ask yourself and your family members these questions:
Do you know where the fire extinguisher is?
Do you know how to operate the fire extinguisher?
Do you know what exit points we have in the house depending on where the fire is located?
Where are we meeting outside? (By the big oak tree, by the mailbox, next to the tulip bed, etc)
Do you know what to do if a fire starts and your Mom/Dad and I are not here? (For older kids)
Do you know the hazardous ways that fires most often happen in homes?
Getting out of the house and to a safe place is always the first priority!
In case you are curious, here are the top reasons house fires start:
1: Appliances & Equipment (stoves, curling irons, cooking devices, etc)
2: Candles (proof you should never leave a burning candle unattended)
3: Holiday Decorations (we all love the twinkling of Christmas lights, just make sure to water your tree!)
4: Electrical Systems and Devices (old or shoddy electrical work, as well as loose wires are dangerous)
5: Smoking (more specifically negligent smoking)
For more information you can visit this Red Cross webpage: Prepare For House Fires

Preparedness of a Fire Restoration Technician

12/16/2021 (Permalink)

There are many different dangers for a SERVPRO of Salem West Technician to consider when responding to a fire loss.

Our team has to take into account prevention of cross contamination, possible toxic levels of smoke and Ashe in the air, and whether or not the structure can be cleaned or not, and much more.

Each Fire Technician responding to a Fire loss needs to make sure they have the following items on hand:

-Respirator (with carbon filters)

-Shoe covers (multiple pairs for going in and out of the structure)

-White Suit or Coveralls (Ashes that may still be floating in the air are highly acidic)

-Protective glasses

-Camera (For capturing pictures of surroundings)

-Laser Tape (if measuring is needed)

-Gloves

-Cleaning Supplies (To decontaminate any items before packing them into vehicle)

-Cell Phone (to update team on findings or in case back-up is needed)

-Sponges (For smoke testing)

That is just the start of a long list of items to consider.

There are other things to consider when responding to a fire loss.

Here are some key questions our Fire Restoration Technicians need to ask themselves:

-Has the site been cleared by the fire department for entry?

-Are other vendors onsite or being called out to estimate loss?

-Is there water damage from fire fighting efforts? How extensive is it?

-Will I need to determine if contents are salvageable or not?

-Am I prepared to enter this structure and gather the pictures and measurements needed to create a proper estimate of damages if it is requested before work beginning?

Being prepared comes with the job. A Fire loss is one of the most heavily toxic environments we encounter. Facing a fire damage it is always crucial to be prepared for the worst case scenario. At SERVPRO of Salem West our technicians approach each fire with training and preparedness.

What's in the fire extinguisher?

8/6/2021 (Permalink)

Extinguish that fire!

 Extinguishing a fire is the process of stopping the open flame and burning affect.

The material to extinguish a fire can be anything from, water, foam, fire blanket, or to what is commonly used in modern portable fire extinguishers; monoammonium phosphate or potassium bicarbonate.

These powders are great at putting the flame out for sure. There is also something else that’s important to know.

Cleaning up fire extinguisher dust is vitally important as well. The powders can be corrosive to metals and may lead to damaging items that were not directly impact by a fire.

If you’ve discharged a fire extinguisher in your home, take the following steps to clean up.

#1 Start clean-up as soon as safe to do so, but quickly as possible.

#2 Vacuum up all visible dry powder from all surfaces.

#3 Use a dry cloth to wipe up powder from surfaces.

#4 Use a wet cleaning method to help release the powder from oily or dirty surfaces.

#5 Rinse if needed with clear and clean water.

#6 Sanitize any food prep areas with SERVPROXIDE.

You’ll also want to dispose of any food that has come in direct contact with the powder as it will be unsafe to consume.

SERVPRO of Salem West is here to assist you in your disaster cleanup needs anytime, day or night.

Back Deck BBQ Fire in West Salem

8/2/2021 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Warped Vinyl Siding

It's summer in the Willamette Valley and Outdoor cooking and grilling are at the highest point of the year. Who wants to cook inside and heat up the house when it's 90+ degrees out? Not me! But as a responsible griller, it's important to always be safe while you cook outdoors. 

A recent inspection in West Salem found scorching and discoloration on the vinyl siding on the back of the home. It did not appear to be widespread, just one area. The homeowner mentioned that it had happened twice over the past year or so, and that it was from a BBQ being too close to the house. What looked to just be discoloration, turned out to be warping of many of the vinyl siding pieces (most likely due to the hot steam and smoke being vented directly at the house when cooking).

The heat had warped some of the panels so greatly that they were no longer effective at keeping moisture out. This may not seem like a big deal, but when you think about siding…what is its main purpose? To protect the house from outside elements, especially moisture. So, if the siding becomes compromised, it can no longer perform its main purpose. That is why it is so important to fix broken, cracked, or damaged vinyl as soon as you can after spotting it.

Keeping moisture out of your house should always be a top priority. Moisture intrusion can cause mold to grow quickly because it gives it a nice moist place to multiply.

Some smaller jobs, when it comes to vinyl siding replacement, can be done by the average American homeowner. Please see this Replacing Vinyl Siding. Where Shannon, from House Improvements, uses his YouTube channel to show you how to replace your own vinyl siding on your home, even if it’s in the middle of the wall. He also gives you the link to buy the tool you will need in the comments!

House Fires and Youth Education

5/10/2021 (Permalink)

Oregon is not usually listed nationally in the top 10 states with most House Fires, at least over the past handful of years. Fire data and safety statistics show repeatedly that New York, Texas, and Pennsylvania have all been in the top 5 over the past years…repeatedly.

If you have PulsePoint on your phone, you probably see the engines being called out constantly. Most of those, over 60% actually, are for medical response.

As a state, I think Oregon is very environmentally aware, therefor I think we have excellent fire safety programs. Like these youth resources from the Oregon State Fire Marshall: https://www.oregon.gov/osp/programs/sfm/Pages/Youth-Fire-Safety.aspx

No matter the circumstances, house fires are never an easy thing to think about happening. That is why talking about them is essential to education. Whether you have a child that is new to the idea of fire safety, or you yourself can practice better fire safety practices, it’s always a good idea to brush up on the latest safety protocols and prevention tips.

If you are interested in talking points to share about house fires with older kids, here are some great resources from FEMA: (printer friendly) https://www.doe.in.gov/sites/default/files/safety/fire-safety-home-students.pdf

It’s important to note to kids, that although the idea of house fires are scary, the better educated you are on fire safety and prevention, the lower chance you have of suffering a house fire. House fires (except under extreme wildfire circumstances) are preventable. Education, especially with children in the home, is a must.

A great resource for all disaster education and prevention tips continues to be FEMA. No matter your child’s age, there are different levels of topics and resources at this link: https://www.ready.gov/kids

Educating kids on fire safety, and disaster response safety is a powerful tool. And kids, no matter the age, can learn fire prevention tips.

Uncommon Appliances That Can Be A Huge Fire Risk!

5/10/2021 (Permalink)

When we think about house fires being started by appliances, we think about toasters, stoves, and lamps, things like that. What most of us don’t think about is the uncommon appliances that are actually huge fire hazards.

1: Dishwashers

-dishwashers can be a huge fire hazard. We don’t usually associate fire with washing things, because water in a fire deterrent. But dishwashers having heating elements, and the heating elements are very powerful. I’m sure you have noticed the extremes heat that comes out of the dishwasher when a cycle just finishes drying. Well, that’s the heating element working hard to make the interior of the dishwasher so hot that the water all evaporates from your dishes and pans.

(Safety tip: never turn the dishwasher on…and then leave the house).

2: Refrigerators

-refrigerators again are not an appliance we would normally associate with fires, but they can be extremely hazardous and fire prone under the right circumstances. Refrigerators have a compressor, and as long as that compressor is working properly all is well. It’s when the fridge raptor compressor overheats that it becomes a fire hazard. Also, refrigerators use lots of electricity, and an electrical short can also spark a fire quickly.

(Safety tip: If you notice a light bulb that never turns off, take it out of the fridge to prevent it from getting too hot until you have the problem fixed. Refrigerator lights aren’t meant to stay on for hours and hours straight like regular bulbs.

No matter the appliance, it’s always good to regularly check the wiring and take note if an appliance shows signs that something is wrong, lights flickering, or much noisier than normal when operating. The heavy hitters when it comes to appliances are also the ones we already know and expect: Stove, Toaster Oven, Dryer, and Microwave.

Smoke Detectors: The Facts

5/10/2021 (Permalink)

Having working smoke detectors in your home in incredibly important and can save your life. Smoke spreads faster than fire within a home, but doors and different levels of a home can impede the path of the smoke. That’s why it is recommended that smoke detectors be installed in each bedroom and outside each sleeping area, and on each level of your home.

On levels without bedrooms, install smoke detectors in living room/family room, or near the stairway to the next level. Smoke alarms in the basement should be install on the ceiling near the staircase. Smoke alarms should be installed at least 10 feet from each cooking appliance.

Mount smoke alarms high on walls or ceiling. Never paint smoke alarms, this can impair the device from operating properly.

-For the best protection, connect all smoke alarms so when one goes off…they all go off.

-If you home is large, you may need to install more fire alarms than usual.

-Test your smoke alarms 1x a month for insuring the device is working properly.

-People who are deaf can use a different kind of alarm (a strobe light, or bed shaker for instance).

-Replace all smoke alarms after 10 years.

-Replace batteries in smoke alarms each season.

-On the market now are smoke alarms coupled with carbon monoxide detectors.

So the bottom line is, lets keep our batteries fresh in our smoke detectors. Let’s keep them positioned well within our homes. Let’s keep enough of them in our home based on the size of our home.

On average 2,620 people die from fires within their homes each year. 1 in every 320 homes will report a fire in a five year period. It has been reported that about 60% of those fires took place within a home that had a non-working smoke detector.

For more information you can visit:

https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/smoke_alarms.html

Or: https://www.oregon.gov/osp/programs/sfm/Pages/Smoke-CO-Alarms.aspx

Fire: What makes it spread faster?

4/15/2021 (Permalink)

Have you ever thought about what causes a fire to spread so fast? There are several key factors. You may know some of them, one of the most prominent ingredients that causes a fire to spread quickly WITHIN a home is the presence of chemicals and combustibles.

When fire comes into contact with certain chemical and products it causes the fire to burn faster and hotter than it would otherwise.

Another reason for fire to spread quickly vs. slowly is how open the space is. The very popular layout of homes nowadays is the open concept living, dining, and kitchen area. If a fire has less materials to burn through it will move quicker.

Another popular feature in todays homes in ventilation (HVAC) systems. HVAC systems invite fire to move smoothly between rooms and floors without obstruction.

Construction materials and what a home/structure is built out of is another factor to the way fire moves within an area. For example, concrete and steel are much more fire resistant than wood and particleboard. When the wildfires hit the canyon last September, the structures that went up in flames first and the quickest were the manufactured homes.

A good idea would be keeping chemicals and combustibles in a area that is fire resistant, like the garage that has a concrete slab floor, vs. a worse idea like keeping them under the kitchen sink. Why is the kitchen the last place you want to store your cleaning chemicals? The kitchen is the biggest source of fires within a home, with cooking being the biggest cause.

The biggest safety tip with fire prevention is to never ignore the potential source of a fire being started.

Like a spark when you flip the light switch, or the flickering of lights in a room.

Like leaving food cooking on the stove and leaving the room.

Like leaving candles burning when we are not using them.

Living life day to day we fall into a rhythm of comfort, we start to trick our minds into being comfortable with something we know is not the safest choice. Thoughts like, “Well, the candle burned fine yesterday for 3 hours while I was in the same room, so what difference does it make if I’m IN the room or not?

The bottom line is, stay safe, stay aware, and know the risks of fire within your home.

Christmas Time Fire Safety

12/16/2020 (Permalink)

Preventing House fires around the holidays includes simple steps and provides peace of mind.

This blog will give you some information and tips and guidelines on how you can reduce the risk of a house fire around the holidays.

At Christmastime there are many things that increase risks of house fires. Here’s a few…and also prevention tips following each risk listed!

~Increased Baking and Oven Use (Tip: always stay in the kitchen while cooking & baking, and follow instructions on baking temperatures).

~Increased Electrical Use (Tip: If a socket sparks, or if lights flicker on and off, you need to get your wiring checked. Also, Don’t overload your breaker with too many outdated Christmas lights).

~Use of outdated Christmas lights (Tip: Investing in low energy LED lights for your house and tree reduces the amount of electricity used, and also the newer versions of Christmas lights stay cooler than the vintage kind).

~Letting your Christmas Tree dry out! I cringe when I think about us kids leaving the tree up until it was brown and crispy growing up! (Tip: Get the tree in water within an hour of chopping it down, if you bought it on a lot, re-cut the trunk and then place it in water. See that it has water everyday, especially the first three days when it will drink the most!).

~Lighting candles and letting them burn unattended (Tip: when lighting candles always keep a watchful eye on them and be in the same room. If you cannot guarantee supervision of burning candles invest in some LED ones to give you a safe option that doesn’t require constantly being near).

~Not having your smoke detectors up/working/batteries installed (Tip: This is pretty simple, you just need to do the check on your smoke detectors monthly by pressing the test button as instructed. And...okay, so maybe you got up in the middle of the night and put the “battery-dying-beeping-detector” under the couch cushions and threw every blanket you had on top! This morning is a new day, and you need to run to the store and buy those replacement batteries!!).

~Christmas presents piled high! (Tip: Too many presents only happens when they cause a blockage of a entry or exit point in the house, or if the presents are near a fire hazard or fireplace…also, if you can’t get to the base of the tree to water it!).

I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips!

Enjoy this Christmas and may it be magical and joyous for you and your loved ones!

Fire and Heat...how they affect a structure.

10/30/2020 (Permalink)

Fire Damage alone is always difficult to remediate. But when you mix fire damage with extreme heat it can be impossible to bring the structure back to preloss condition. The hotter a structure gets, the more that will need replacement during the restoration process.

When heat reaches intense levels, it can permeate walls and surfaces rather than leaving a smoke/soot dusting on the surface. When heat causes soot and smoke to enter materials and bind with them…the materials become non-restorable.

So when a fire is small, but gives off a ton of smoke that affects the whole house, it will be easier to restore that house because the smaller the fire the less heat and adhesion.

When a fire gets large, heat starts to penetrate objects and materials, heat also can melt electrical and siding of homes as well as cause light fixtures, appliances, and engineered trim to distort and melt. Sometimes large fires don’t give off as much smoke, but due to the extremes of the heat they are just as detrimental to the integrity of the home.

Also, the source of the fire can cause how restorable the house may or may not be. For instance, a small fire that occurs due to a candle catching a newspaper is much less time consuming than a fire from cooking in the kitchen. Protein fires in the kitchen, while often confined to the stove, are extremely difficult to bring back to preloss condition. This is due to the oils that are often what started the fire. The residue that comes off of these fires is oily and difficult to remove from surfaces that it has affected.

So no matter the source of fire, or the size of fire, you can trust SERVPRO of Salem West to return your home to the sanctuary it once was again. With our knowledge and approach of restoring a fire affected home, you can expect the great results our customers have received for the past 20 years.

House Fires in American Homes

8/19/2020 (Permalink)

More House Fires During Winter!

You may think that house fires increase in the winter months, and you’d be right, but only ever so slightly (about 1% more than warmer months). When house fires actually increase a noticeable amount its not during the colder months or because of the temperature outside, but during certain hours of any given day within the year.

What are the peak hours during the day that the most fires happen within American homes you may ask? The answer is from about 4:30pm-8:30pm. Why?  Most of us are home by that time and should be able to catch a fire if it happens, right?  But most fires caused between that 4 hour period, are caused by homeowners themselves…and they are caused, by cooking dinner.

Cooking fires make up almost 50% of all household fires. And while many homeowners catch the fires before they cause substantial damage, many can get out of control within minutes…seconds even.

We cook with highly flammable materials and substances. Butter, oil, and fatty substances can catch fire and create a toxic coat of soot within the area in minutes.

When you are cooking, never leave something unattended and keep a fire extinguisher handy and close by. Make sure you know how to operate the fire extinguisher as well. Seconds and minutes can be the difference between a minor inconvenience and a few hours of a smoky smelling house, and an entire home that needs fire restoration cleaning. If you have suffered a cooking fire, call SERVPRO of Salem West. We can help you return your space to it’s preloss condition.

Multiplex Fires In Salem, OR

6/4/2020 (Permalink)

When dealing with a fire loss in a multiplex there are many different factors to take into consideration.

1. Who is the owner? Who is the tenant? Is there a property manager?
2. What was the source of loss? Has the fire department released the scene? Has insurance released the scene?
3. Does the owner and the tenant want to work with you throughout the mitigation and repairs process? Or just the mitigation?
4. How many units were affected by the fire? Directly, or through heat and smoke damage?
5. How do all parties involved want communication to go throughout the process? Email? Phone? In-person? How often do they want updates on progress?
6. Does the owner have insurance? Does the tenant have renters insurance?
7. Will the tenants need lodging during the cleaning and repairs process?
8. Gather all contact information available, owner, property manager, tenant, insurance, and any additional parties involved.
9. Get papers signed (from all involved) to begin the documentation process and open the job!
10. Set expectations and answer any questions or concerns all parties involved may have.

Those are just the first ten I could think of…
A significant fire loss is a process, but done right from the beginning, it can go smoothly and give you valuable experience on handling a large loss correctly and efficiently.
SERVPRO of Salem West has an amazing Fire Team. If your property has been affected by a fire, call SERVPRO of Salem West. We strive to provide the best possible service during such a difficult time.

House Fire Smoke...How Dangerous Is It?

6/4/2020 (Permalink)

“They say it’s the smoke that will get ya” I cannot recall the first time I heard that term, but it took me awhile to understand what it truly means. Here in Oregon we are exposed to smoke often, we have cookouts, we BBQ, we have campfires, we have burn piles when conditions allow, and all of us know what it’s like smelling like a campfire on a summer night.
You may ask what the difference is between campfire smoke and house fire smoke? The answer may surprise you, because both are very dangerous to the human lung. Campfire smoke is carcinogenic.
In fact, The environmental protection association finds that smoke from wood burning is 12 times more carcinogenic than smoke from cigarettes, and it stays in the human lungs and body up to 40 times longer!
The answer to why house fire and campfire smoke is so incredibly toxic and dangerous is simple. It is unfiltered. Particles and chemicals that have not been completely burned are inhaled and larger than any particle that even avid smokers lungs encounter.
When a house fire happens, the smoke is enclosed in a compact space, it is concentrated and can cause immediate acute respiratory effects.
The saying “Never go back inside a burning building” makes all the sense in the world when you think about it. You may rationalize, well the fire is in the bathroom upstairs, I can fetch something from the downstairs living room…in realty, if smoke is throughout the home, you need to remove yourself from the structure as soon as possible…and stay out.
House Fire safety and education is so important and can greatly increase your chances of surviving a house fire. The soot and residue that a house fire leaves behind is also a carcinogenic…even when the smoke has settled.
If you suffer the unfortunate occurrence of a fire to your home or business, entrust SERVPRO of Salem West to clean and repair the damage safely from the beginning.

Oregon Wildfires - dangerous and up to 90% preventable

6/4/2020 (Permalink)

Did you know that up to 90% of wildfires are caused by humans?
The remaining 10% is usually lightning. Nature's fire starter.
In order for fire to happen, it needs fuel (this can be anything that is flammable or that will burn).
The second thing a fire needs to start is oxygen, no shortage of that.
The third factor, and really the key factor to what a fire needs to start, is a source of energy to kick-start the combustion reaction. In the summer months wildfires are more prevalent for many reasons, but it’s not because of the hot weather…the hot weather dries out trees and grass and landscapes, yes. It succeeds in making the environment more vulnerable to a fire once it’s started, but the starting of the fire itself…is mostly due to human negligence.
As we get outdoors in the Willamette valley this summer, remember to fully extinguish all campfires, remember to use fireworks only when allowed and gather the used fireworks and dispose of them in a non-flammable container, remember never to throw a cigarette on the ground. And yes, that includes from an open car window. This is not only dangerous, but a cigarette is not biodegradable. It won’t magically disappear, it won’t waste away over time, it will litter the ground and earth until a good Samaritan or a company like SERVPRO of Salem West is hired to clean up the area.
Let’s all take responsibility this summer to protect our environment and our neighbors from the dangers of wildfires. Let’s each do our part to keep our forests and homes safe. Let’s always remember to put the fire out, let's always remember to be responsible with throwing away cigarettes, let's use fireworks responsibly, and let's do what we can to educate and help our community stay informed on wildfire prevention.

Troubles A’ Cookin’

4/22/2020 (Permalink)

We’ve all heard it, and some of us live by it, the kitchen is the heart of the home.

We gather there to prepare meals together, bake birthday cakes, roast Thanksgiving dinners.

We also know that kitchen fires are some of the most prominent causes of house fires in the US.

It’s easy to see how most cases of house fires come from the kitchen…

With appliances and situations throughout the space that involve heat, open flame, and electricity.

Cooking Fires account for 49% of household fires annually, with thanksgiving being the peak day for first responders.

You can do so many things to prevent fires from happening in the kitchen. Including the following…

-Always monitor food being cooked/baked.

-Don’t use large amounts of unnecessary oil or cooking fat.

-Frying is a huge culprit for food ignition, use caution.

-One small fire from the kitchen can affect your entire home (Soot, Residue, and toxins).

-Educate your children on the safety of using small appliances (Toasters, Microwave, etc).

-Make sure your smoke alarms have batteries and are operational.

-Tie back your hair, roll up your sleeves, get loose ends away from hot surfaces!

-Keep flammable materials (dish towels, etc) away from kitchen counter surfaces and ranges.

-Always practice Common Sense (If you have to think about if something is a good idea or not, it probably isn’t).

SERVPRO of Salem West & Lincoln and Polk Counties has a team of highly trained and caring individuals who make up our Fire Team.

If you have a need for services such as cleaning of soot, restoration of beloved documents from fires, content disposal and inventory, Furniture and Content cleaning and restoration, call SERVPRO of Salem West. We are here to help, and we have been proudly serving the community for the past 20+ years.

Multi-Level Home Fire Restoration in Willimina, Oregon

11/15/2019 (Permalink)

When a fire strikes your property, we are your local restoration company to call. Damages caused by a fire need various forms of mitigation. When damage occurs, it can affect the structural integrity of your property and the contents within the structure. Residual odors of smoke are left behind when all the dust has settled.

SERVPRO was called to a property in Willimina, Oregon after a fire began in a bedroom on the main level and affected the basement. Our technicians immediately got to work creating a restoration plan with the homeowners.

Removal of the damaged materials is necessary prior to detailed cleaning. Our technicians removed the affected sheet rock, insulation and flooring in the source room. These materials contain high levels of soot, creating the lingering odor from a fire. Using safe demolition techniques and HEPA filtration vacuums we were able to remove the remaining soot from surfaces in the home.

Our technician work hand in hand with property owners and insurance adjusters, keeping strong lines of communication open.

During the restoration process, our technicians carefully handled and packed each content item in the affected rooms.  A strategic cataloging process is utilized including photographs of each item. The list that is created is given to the adjuster and homeowner.

As soon as the pack out process is completed, we send our technicians in to begin removing the remaining materials affected by the fire and then begin the drying process. There are many avenues that are required in order to have the structure back to preloss condition and ready for a rebuild. Once the drying and cleaning of surfaces left in the home were completed, we brought in a thermal fogger and an ozone machine. The two machines are used to neutralize odors throughout the property.


SERVPRO of Salem West/Lincoln & Polk Counties is available 24/7/365 for emergency services.

Fire damaged and contents

9/3/2019 (Permalink)

Melted plastic

After a fire and before the restoration can begin.

The process of packing up your belongings can be long and tedious. SERVPRO® of Salem West takes that burden from your shoulders. You have enough to tend to, let us help with packing and unpacking.

Our restorer team is extremely detailed and accurate by inventorying each item. When your contents are packed they are then moved to a secure location at our business.

When it is time to begin the move out process you do not have to concern yourself with packing items as we come prepared with the essentials. SERVPRO® supplies sturdy boxes, bubble wrap, shrink wrap and various packing materials. Our team(s) set up packing tables in each room while also identifying each box per room.

Boxed items are small to medium size objects and are packaged accordingly.

Large items that can be disassembled to safely transport will be. If we are unable to disassemble then our team(s) will wrap the times with the necessary material and place moving pads around so other items do not cause damage.

Electronic items are not packed in boxes because they tend to need specialty cleaning, therefore are handled with extreme care and brought back to our location for storage.

Unsalvageable items are items that have sustained severe damage from the fire.

Documenting your contents is a high priority and we do it by hand and digitally. We have a move out checklist that the project lead will go over with you and list items in detail. When the project lead is back at the office, they will then record the information in a spreadsheet along with taking digital photographs and then uploading those to your customer file.

When the time has come that repairs and restoration is complete, we will then preform a move back. By bringing your items back, unload and unpack per room you will notice cleaned and restored items safely returned to their proper spaces.

If you find yourself in need of fire restoration or have question and concerns give us a call at (503) 393-9999 or visit us HERE. SERVPRO® of Salem West operated 24/7/365 with emergency services available.

Apartment Fire In Salem Oregon

8/30/2019 (Permalink)

Salem Oregon fire damage.

In Salem, Oregon an apartment fire occurred during the evening. Fortunately there were working smoke alarms that alerted residents along with good neighbors who ensured everyone exited the building.

Here's a few tips to ensure safety during a building fire.

  1. Think safety first and get out of the building.
  2. Things can be replaced.
  3. Take role call.
  4. Once you're safe, set up lodging for the night with family or friends.
  5. Call your insurance agent to start the claims process.

SERVPRO of Salem West is professional cleaning and services company, servince the Willamette Valley for 20 years. Our team members are trained and highlsy skilled in disaster cleanup and restoration.

From water, fire, smoke and biohazard, we can help you anytime day or night.

Calls us (503) 393-9999

Salem, Oregon - Cooking Oil Fire

6/27/2019 (Permalink)

Kitchen Fire - Salem Oregon

Salem, Oregon – Cooking Oil Fire

Cleaning up soot and smoke after a grease fire in your kitchen can be a daunting task.

A grease fire in your Salem, Oregon home is an unexpected disaster and can create a significant amount of damage. Pouring water onto a fire is an initial reaction, but water mixed with oil creates a splash effect causing the fire to spread. The most effective way to snuff out a grease fire is with a fire extinguisher.

After extinguishing the fire in your Salem, Oregon home it is difficult to clean and restore your kitchen to its original condition. We want you to look to us, SERVPRO of Salem West as your neighborhood fast and friendly team to help turn things around.

Our team here at SERVPRO of Salem West will walk you through the whole restoration process making sure you understand and are comfortable leaving your kitchen in our hands. Communication is key with every job, especially yours. You chose SERVPRO of Salem West to make your kitchen look “Like it never even happened.” You experienced a grease fire disaster in your kitchen and we will be there to fix it the first time.

Life can throw unexpected curves your way and cause disruptions you never thought possible. SERVPRO of Salem West is here to turn that around and give you a reason to smile.

SERVPRO of Salem West is well versed in walking home owners through the process of grease fire recovery, cleaning. You can call us anytime, day or night at (503) 393-9999 with any questions you may have.

Building Fire at Mattress World Northwest - Salem, Oregon

6/14/2019 (Permalink)

A Fire Sale is a term used to describe a "Sale" of items at extremely discounted prices.

That is not the case with this large Mattress Super Store located in Salem, Oregon that suffered fire damage, affecting every item in the store.

On the night of March 20th, 2019, Salem - Oregon fire fighters responded in full force to knock down and extinguish a fire at the store before it grew too large.

With a fast onscene response, our local fire fighters were able to contain the fire at the source and keep damage held back to a minimal number of properties.

We're grateful for the men and women who are there to help in time of need. These are some of the people risking their lives to save ours and our propery.

If the unthinkable happens where a fire strikes your Salem, Oregon business, contact us at  (503) 393-9999, we'll be there to answer any questions, walk you through the process and clean up the mess.

When A Fire Burns It All - Dallas, Oregon

6/10/2019 (Permalink)

Anytime a fire strikes, it's devastating.

Most homeowners never really expect a fire damage to their own property. This Dallas, Oregon home experienced a fire damage to their home and vehicle.

In all instances of home and business fires, the most important thing to do is to keep, people safe first. 

The initial urge to run back in to grab a few things could cause harm to you and others who follow in after you.

Please exit the structure immediately and dial "9-1-1"

Your life and those you love is more important than any possession you have. It can all be replaced.

When you need help cleaning up the mess, please call us anytime, day or night. We're always here to help.

(503) 393-9999

To Deep Fry Your Turkey or Not – Salem, Oregon

11/19/2018 (Permalink)

Think safety!

Holiday seasons bring cheer and warmth when family gathers for good food and memories. Turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and so much more fill the table and the air. How do you cook your turkey? The popular way is outdoors using a turkey fryer, but do you know how to operate the fryer properly?

Here are the do’s and don’ts of frying your turkey for the holiday.

Do:

  • ONLY use a turkey that has completely thawed.
  • Make sure the surface you are placing the fryer on is level and at least 10 feet away from any flammable materials, including buildings.
  • Follow the instruction manual when using the fryer, paying close attention to the amount of to use.
  • Frequently use and monitor the oil temperature with the appropriate thermometer.

Don’ts:

  • NEVER use a frozen turkey.
  • Do not overfill the fryer with oil. If the oil spills over and touches the heating element/flame it will combust and can possibly cause serious harm to an individual or the surroundings.
  • NEVER use water to extinguish an oil fire. This will cause the fire to splatter and spread.

We all want to enjoy our holiday time with friends and family, eating amazing food and creating new memories. Safety is very important when you decide how to cook your turkey, whether it be in the over or outdoors in a turkey fryer. No one ever wants an unexpected visit from their local fire department.

In any case of fire when you are left with residual damage to your property SERVPRO® of Salem West is on the job. Any time of day or night, holiday or not we have teams to dispatch in your time of need. Call us at (503) 393-9999.

Dallas, Oregon. Professional Clean Up

8/28/2018 (Permalink)

Board up, debris clean-up and safety in mind.

SERVPRO® takes your property from a fire loss and revitalizes it.

In the event of a fire or fire related disaster you will want to contact your insurance company and create a plan with your agent or adjuster. By doing this, you will have an understanding what is covered and not. SERVPRO® of Salem West works with our customers, their agents and adjusters.

SERVPRO® is a fire restoration company that can restore, clean and monitor your property. Our company uses various methods to clean and restore your property and contents.

When you see the green vehicles roll up that means you have put your trust in your local team at SERVPRO® of Salem West. Our top priorities are to access and prevent further damage to the property and contents and to prepare and maintain the safety aspects for our customer(s) and team(s).

Some of the services we provide following a fire are:

  • Inspect and evaluate the loss site by conducting an initial inspection.
  • Secure the property by boarding up any points of access (i.e. windows, doors, etc.).
  • Use proper equipment to dry the remaining water and moisture used to suppress the fire.
  • Set up and possibly use outside resources for emergency electricity use.
  • Remove strong odors from the structure to keep our team(s) safe.
  • Conduct the initial cleaning and packing up contents and moving them to a secure location while our customer(s) find temporary housing.
  • If necessary, conducting pest extermination.

Do’s and Don’ts of self-cleaning

  • Don’t attempt to wash the wall of the structure.
  • Don’t attempt to clean the carpet or upholstered furniture.
  • Do use linens or materials that will not bleed color onto furniture and carpets to decrease further damage.
  • Do limit walking around or moving objects and furniture.
  • Do keep your hands clean. By doing so you will lessen the chances of transferring soot particles to surfaces.
  • Do turn the electricity off. Empty the freezer and fridge while propping the doors open to limit odors.
  • Do carefully clean chrome fixtures in the kitchen and bathrooms with a light coating of lubricant.
  • Don’t send clothing or materials affected by the fire to a dry cleaner.
  • Do wash all sides of plants with water.
  • Do change furnace filters and tape pieces of cheesecloth over air registers. This will allow the HVAC system to run and clean itself without adding further residue inside the structure.

You can find more information regarding SERVPRO®’s fire restoration process HERE.

Day or night, SERVPRO® of Salem West is available to lend a hand after a disaster. Call us at (503) 393-9999 if you have questions or concerns.

This Stayton, Oregon home experienced a fire damage.

6/19/2018 (Permalink)

Garage fire in Stayton, Oregon.

This Stayton, Oregon homeowner suffered fire and smoke damage in their garage. An electrical malfunction started the dryer fire. The area of the garage surrounding the dryer became covered in soot and smoke residue. The fire was extinguished quickly with the use of a fire extinguisher, quick thinking on the homeowner’s behalf.

Fire damage leaves behind odors, smoke residue and soot which can be challenging for the homeowner to clean. By calling SERVPRO of Salem West the homeowner was at ease knowing the cleanup was being professional managed.

When you are faced with a fire disaster, remember SERVPRO of Salem West is by your side. We are have technicians that operate 24/7. Call SERVPRO of Salem West in your time of need at (503) 393-9999.

We can make it “Like it never even happened."

A Home Fire Damage Is Never Easy.

6/6/2018 (Permalink)

Salem - Oregon House Fire

Fire damage to your Salem, Oregon home is never an easy experience. The challenges ahead to restore you home can be daunting. ButThe main objective for everyone involved is to be safe.

Please exit your home immediately and dial 9-1-1

Once the fire is put out you must be prepared to take action to restore your life and home. While the trauma is difficult the reality is you are the only one who can make the next move and the decision as to what to do next is yours.

SERVPRO of Salem West has helped thousands of home owners move past fire and water damage to restore their homes and belongings.

When you need professional help and assistance we are only a phone call away at (503) 393-9999. With highly skilled and trained technicians , we can make it, “Like it never even happened.”

Candles can cause home fires too.

3/26/2018 (Permalink)

Proper cleaning of soot and smoke at Salem, Oregon home

Home fires are one of the most difficult things to go through.

This Salem, Oregon home owner suffered from smoke damage. A lit candle was too close to a curtain which started a home fire.  The room where the fire occurred had heavy soot and smoke.  Because smoke drifts through the air, there was smoke and soot at a lesser degree throughout the entire home.

The odor and soot should be removed and treated as soon as possible. These homeowners called SERVPRO of Salem West, knowing our experience and knowledge would provide the best possible result restoring their home and making it look “Like it never even happened.”

The process of taking care smoke odor is methodical and detailed. First, we treat the walls, floors and ceiling that have been damaged by the smoke with a special spray. The spray limits the amount of smoke molecules that get in the air. It contains penetrants and emulsifiers to slow down or stop the odor evaporation process. If the odor can’t get through, the smell won’t get through either.

Secondly, after the fire there are smoke odors in the air. Our technicians will spray a product to counteract those smells.  The last step in the smoke odor treatment is thermal fogging.  The product used will react with the odor-causing residues and eliminate the odor rather than just mask them.

SERVPRO of Salem West is available 24/7 and can be reached at (503) 393-9999.

Major Fire Damage in Salem, Oregon

11/22/2017 (Permalink)

House fire in Salem, Oregon.

Sometimes fires can be caught early when they are small and easy to put out, other times they happen when you’re not home or get to out of hand to put out yourself before it destroys most of your home.

In such a devastating time like this, you can look on the bright side of things and know your friendly, reliable team at SERVPRO of Salem West is here to help and is going to turn things around.

Not only are we going to make the damages look “Like it never even happened.” but we are also going to keep you feeling confident and comfortable throughout the whole process, with updates, new findings and the steps we take along the way to get the job done right the first time.  

Life can hits us with unexpected and/or unwanted problems, issues and complications, but in the end there is always something to smile about.

Get a quote and lots of smiles 24/7/365 with SERVPRO by calling (503) 393-9999.

Cooking Related Fires.

10/30/2017 (Permalink)

  • U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 166,100 home cooking-related fires between 2010-2014 resulting in 480 civilian deaths, 5,540 civilian injuries and $1.1 billion in direct damage.
  • Two of every five (43%) home fires started in the kitchen.
  • Unattended cooking was a factor in one-third of reported home cooking fires.
  • Two-thirds of home cooking fires started with ignition of food or other cooking materials.
  • Ranges accounted for three of every five (62%) home cooking fire incidents. Ovens accounted for 13%.
  • Clothing was the item first ignited in less than 1% of home cooking fires, but these incidents accounted for 18% of the cooking fire deaths.
  • More than half of people injured in home fires involving cooking equipment were hurt while attempting to fight the fire themselves.
  • Frying is the leading activity associated with cooking fires.

Information provided by NFPA. 

When fire strikes call SERVPRO of Salem West at (503) 393-9999.

Fire By The Numbers

6/16/2017 (Permalink)

Commercial building fire in Silverton, Oregon
Fires in the U.S.  

In 2015, there were 1,345,500 fires reported in the United States. These fires caused 3,280 civilian deaths, 15,700 civilian injuries, and $14.3 billion in property damage.

  • 501,500 were structure fires, causing 2,685 civilian deaths, 13,000 civilian injuries, and $10.3 billion in property damage.
  • 204,500 were vehicle fires, causing 500 civilian fire deaths, 1,875 civilian fire injuries, and $1.8 billion in property damage.
  • 639,500 were outside and other fires, causing 95 civilian fire deaths, 825 civilian fire injuries, and $252 million in property damage.

The 2015 U.S. fire loss clock a fire department responded to a fire every 23 seconds. One structure fire was reported every 63 seconds.

  • One home structure fire was reported every 86 seconds.
  • One civilian fire injury was reported every 34 minutes.
  • One civilian fire death occurred every 2 hours and 40 minutes.
  • One outside and other fire was reported every 52 seconds.
  • One highway vehicle fire was reported every 3 minutes 1 seconds.

Full details can be found by clicking the link to NFPA

Fire Damaged Artwork

6/5/2017 (Permalink)

What to do when your artwork has been damaged by soot.

With the investments made in high valuable artwork along with the sentimental value of some family pieces, it is important to come up with a plan to manage the process of protecting the art from additional damages while moving quickly to prevent secondary soot damage. Communication with the owner of the art is of utmost importance due to the nature of inks, paints and substrates.

The makeup of each art piece varies which determines the best methods of cleaning.

SERVPRO of Salem West is well versed in walking home owners through the process of artwork recovery, cleaning. You can call us anytime, day or night at  (503) 393-9999 with any questions you may have.

Fire Damaged Hutch

5/16/2017 (Permalink)

FIre Damaged Hutch from Turner, Oregon house fire

When it's not worth cleaning is the topic for this post. How do you know when an item should be cleaned, restored or replaced?


That depends on a number of factors, one of which is the actual value of the item. Another consideration is if the item holds sentimental value for the owner. There are some items that may not have a lot of cash value but the sentiments are irreplaceable.


Items handed down from generations like tools, clothing items, photographs and the like are all examples of items that may not have a high cash value but mean the world to it's owners.


What items do you own that may not have a high monetary value but mean the world to you?


Do you have plan for these items just in case you experience a fire or water damage? 


If you need help with planning feel free to contact SERVPRO of Salem West at (503) 393-9999.

Dryer Vent Fires in Salem, Oregon.

3/20/2017 (Permalink)

Home fires involving clothes dryers and washing machines are one of the most preventable fires that, according to the National Fire Protection Association.  From 2010-2014, these fires were responsible for 13 deaths, 440 injuries and $238 million in direct property damages.  The leading cause of these type of fires was failure to clean the appliance. 

For more information:

"Home Fires Involving Clothes Dryers and Washing Machines" report (PDF, 1.4 MB)


"Home Fires Involving Clothes Dryers and Washing Machines" fact sheet (PDF, 452 KB)


"Selected Published Incidents Involving Clothes Dryers" (PDF, 482 KB) 

If you need tips on how to clean your dryer vents visit https://www.consumerreports.org/clothes-dryers/how-to-clean-your-dryer-vent/

An excerpt from the National Fire Protection Associations 2017 report "Home Fires Involving Clothes Dryers and Washing Machines" states

"In 2010-2014, U.S. municipal fire departments responded to an estimated 15,970 home fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines each year. These fires resulted in annual losses estimated at 13 civilian deaths, 440 civilian injuries, and $238 million in direct property damage. As a percentage of all home fires and associated losses, fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines accounted for 4% of fires, 1% of civilian deaths, 3% of civilian injuries, and 4% of direct property damage. The estimates presented in this report are based on data from the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Incident Reporting System and the National Fire Protection Association’s annual fire department experience survey."

SERVPRO of Salem West has compassionate, knowledgeable and trained employees when you fire, smoke and soot damage.  Call us anytime at (503) 393-9999 to assess the damage and create an action plan.

Commercial Fire Damage - Salem, Oregon

12/2/2016 (Permalink)

Our team working hard to clean up the smoke damage

When a commercial fire hits your building, having a game plan to stay in business during the cleanup process is very important as long as it's safe to do so. This furniture store located in Salem, Oregon experienced a fire that started on the outside of the building. The smoke migrated to the inside, which is a wide open space with tall ceilings. The smoke transfer and soot settled onto walls, flooring and furniture located inside the storage area. Luckily the smoke was mainly contained to the back storage area which meant by properly setting equipment, air filtration and containment barriers, the business would still be operational. 

If you experience a fire in your home or business, call us 24/7/365 and we'll be there to help to make it "Like it never even happened."

SERVPRO of Salem West is locally owned and operated. We can be reached at (503) 393-9999 or by email at office@SERVPRO8603.com

Dryer Vent Fires Cause $35,000,000

12/1/2016 (Permalink)

Please clean your dryer vents and ducting regularly for safety. You're clothes will also take less time to dry.

In 2010 an estimated 16,800 home fires, involving clothes dryer occurred.

¦ An estimated 2,900 clothes dryer fires in residential buildings are reported to U.S. fire departments each year and cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss.

¦ Clothes dryer fire incidence in residential buildings was higher in the fall and winter months, peaking in January at 11 percent.

¦ Failure to clean (34 percent) was the leading factor contributing to the ignition of clothes dryer fires in residential buildings.

¦ Dust, fiber, and lint (28 percent) and clothing not on a person (27 percent) were, by far, the leading items first ignited in clothes dryer fires in residential buildings.

¦ Fifty-four percent of clothes dryer fires in residential buildings were confined to the object of origin.

For more information click HERE