Recent Fire Damage Posts

SERVPRO of North Rensselaer/ South Washington Counties Explains What Fires Are Made Of

8/12/2020 (Permalink)

Fire in rafters in a basement A recent electrical fire in a home.

Chemical structure of Fire

Fire is the outcome of a chemical reaction called combustion. At a definite time in the ignition reaction, called the ignition point, flames are formed. Flames consist primarily of carbon dioxide, water vapor, oxygen, and nitrogen.

State of Substance of Fire

In a candle flame or small fire, most the matter in a flame consists of hot gases. An extremely hot fire discharges enough energy to ionize the gaseous atoms, forming the state of matter called plasma. Examples, of flames that contain plasma include those produced by plasma torches and the thermite reaction.

Why Fire is hot.

Fire radiates heat and light because the chemical reaction that produces flames is exothermic. In other words, combustion releases more energy than is needed to ignite or sustain it. For combustion to occur and flames to form, three things must be present: fuel, oxygen, and energy (usually in the form of heat). Once energy starts the reaction, it continues so long as fuel and oxygen are present.

If you would like to hear more about Fire restoration and the science behind it, Give SERVPRO of North Rensselaer/South Washington Counties a call. We would be glad to help. 518-677-3444

What is media blasting?

6/3/2020 (Permalink)

home with media blasting being done GIVE US A CALL IF YOU NEED TO MEDIA BLAST! 518-677-3444

Media blasting is a process that uses pressurized air to force pieces of abrasive material out of a nozzle to strip away stains, paints, rust, soot, and odors. Media Blasting is a non-destructive way of safely cleaning and/or removing unwanted coatings left from water damage, mold, and fire damage.  Media Blasting can be used in many different instances where a home has been affected. SERVPRO of North Rensselaer/South Washington Counties will look to media blasting as a safe and effective way to clean the damage up. Media Blasting is the general term. However, there are different kinds of Media that can be used to blast and clean an area, like dry ice, corn, and baking soda. Dry ice blasting is our preferred media and method because it can be used in different situations, like water, mold, and fire. Dry ice blasting is one of the most effective methods for removing soot stains and charring. Dry ice leaves no secondary waste to add to the task of clean up. Recently, SERVPRO of North Rensselaer/South Washington Counties had worked for a client that required Media Blasting in their home. Our client had an extremely bad fire at their home that resulted in a complete demolition of materials right down to the studs. The soot, smoke, charring, and odor was so significant that general cleaning was not an option. So, we recommended dry ice blasting soot, smoke residue and odor off the building materials after the bulk of the demolition and cleaning was performed. As a result, we completed the job with an excellent outcome. Our client was extremely surprised and happy with our results. Please refer to the picture of our before and after media blasting job. If you have a need of Media Blasting and want the job done right, Give Us a CALL! 518-677-3444

The Facts of Fire Restoration

5/5/2020 (Permalink)

Women looking at fire Give Us a Call when you have a fire damage your home. 518-677-3444

After a fire, a homeowner wants nothing more than to be able to restore their home back to its original condition. SERVPRO of North Rensselaer/ South Washington Counties will rush to accommodate and get the job done for you. We do our very best in getting the restoration job done in a reasonable time. There are many contributing factors we must take into consideration when starting the restoration process. For example, before any fire restoration begins, a plan of action is the first step. This step is to examine the structure and make sure that the structure is safe and if the home is restorable. In some cases, the fire could be so bad that restoring it would not be an option. That is what we call, “A Total Loss”. We also consider odors and other underlining factors that could come during the remediation or reconstruction process. Next is to determine how many contents there are affected and what damaged items will need to be cleaned.

Challenging Odors

After a fire has happened in a home, one of the main nuisances that remains is the odor. SERVPRO of North Rensselaer/ South Washington Counties utilizes professional resources and equipment to eliminate the heavy smoke odor. Air purifiers are great resources that we use to start eliminating these kinds of odors. One of the pieces of equipment we use often is an Ozone Machine.  An Ozone Machine helps to remove and reduce the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) in the home. SERVPRO will do this Ozone treatment process towards the end of the cleaning process. Ozone is a powerful oxidation that requires our trained technicians to wear Proper Protective Equipment (PPE) and not allow any other personal around the affected area until this process has been completed.

Cleaning Solutions

After SERVPRO of North Rensselaer/South Washington Counties determines salvageable items to be cleaned and non-salvageable items to be tossed, they then choose the proper cleaning solutions for the items needing cleaning. The product and cleaning process is then determined by examining the salvageable items and organizing them by porous, semi-porous or non-porous. Porous items are items such as, drapes, carpets, and fabrics. An example of a semi-porous item is like walls in the home. Non-porous items consist of glass, plastics, metals, and varnished wood. One of our most common cleaners we use on almost every job is Wall and All Surface Cleaner. Wall and All is a detergent cleaner that is formulated for the use of general cleaning to smoke damage restoration on a painted and washable surface.

As with all products and technologies, it is essential to understand the purpose and use of remediation products, as well as their applicability in different situations. If you have had, a fire or a puff back from a furnace and have soot, smoke, or heavy fire damage in your home, Give Us A Call Today. We are Here to Help! 518-677-3444

Get Your Ducts Cleaned!!

4/8/2020 (Permalink)

Duct cleaning yearly is relatively small investment that could save you money in the long run. Plus, you could get the added benefits like breathing clean air, increase the safety and comfort of your home, and help the environment while boosting your overall peace of mind?

Preventive Maintenance Benefits.

Saving Money

Regular Duct Cleaning maintenance is said to reduce the risk of costly breakdowns by as much as 95%. Just like having a vehicle, if you drive over the recommended miles of an oil change, you could be asking for trouble. That is why the standards are set for regular maintenance of vehicles. Well, the same applies to duct maintenance. Cutting energy bills, extending system life, and adhering to warranty benefits are all benefits of routine duct cleaning.

Air Quality

The EPA reports that level of airborne pollutants in a home may be five times higher than outdoor levels. For anyone that suffers from respiratory issues, you are allowing yourself to be at higher risk if ducts are not cleaned properly. Unfortunately, we all share our homes with various substances that we would rather not breathe. The common indoor allergens include dust, pollen, mold, a cigarette smoke. If any of these allergens are part of daily life, you should really think about getting your duct cleaned. Therefore, preventive maintenance helps ensure that the warm or cold air pumping through your vents is as clean and well-filtered as possible.


Typically, we depend on our air systems to keep us comfortable all year round. Hot Air in the winter and Cold in the summer. Therefore, if we think about it, generally our air systems are working every day, all day long, and all year round. Routine maintenance helps your system produce and distribute the air more evenly and steadily.

Safer home environment

We have all heard the awful stories of how someone went away on vacation and returns to a frozen, and damaged house with broken pipes, and water damage everywhere. The cost of this tragedy weighs heavily of an owner. Routine maintenance will help safeguard you against the possibility of carbon monoxide. The most common cause of carbon monoxide leaks is a cracked heat exchanger. Routine Maintenance typically includes a carbon monoxide test.

Peace of Mind

In the end, the benefits of routine duct cleaning give you the comfort of knowing that if something goes wrong, you’ve already taken the preventative measure to make any situation as painless as possible.

If you are an owner that is interested in getting a duct cleaning, Give Us a Call at 518-677-3444 or email us at and we would be happy to help you.

Smoke and Soot Cleanup

3/4/2020 (Permalink)

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

Smoke and soot facts:

  • How smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

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

Wet Smoke-Plastic and Rubber

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

Dry Smoke-Paper and Wood

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

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

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

Out Fire Damage Restoration Services

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

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage? Call Us Today 518-677-3444

Where to keep a fire extinguisher in a home.

1/2/2020 (Permalink)

How terrifying is it to have a fire in your home and not be properly prepared for the worst? A fire does happen in homes a lot more frequently than one would think. When it comes to a home fire, the best thing is to have a ready plan in place with the right equipment throughout the house. SERVPRO of North Rensselaer and South Washington Counties will explain the proper places for which a fire extinguisher in your home should be kept.


Did you know that 68% of home fires happen in the kitchen? So, we can only assume that the #1 place for a fire extinguisher is in the kitchen. Grease fires are the most common factor as it is highly flammable therefore, you don’t want to keep the fire extinguisher next to a stove. It should actually be located about 30 ft from the stove. For small kitchen we recommend mounting the extinguisher to an adjacent location with easy access. .

Every Level

For some of you who have several levels, please be aware that according to many law and jurisdictions with your state recommend a fire extinguisher be put on every level. If you think about it, it makes sense because no one would want to travel to another level and grab a extinguisher, that would absolutely take too long and you would run the risk of getting injured and having the fire grow into something more damaging.

Garage and Workshop

Garages and workshop’s are also a great place to have a fire extinguisher. In most cases the garage and workshop is a place where certain flammable items are stored. For example, gasoline, electric power tools, oil and paints are all stored in garages and workshops. So, to prevent that disaster of a fire to happen, mount a fire extinguisher and have the peace of mind that you have a ready plan in place as a precaution.

Laundry/ Heat sourced Areas

Laundry rooms and utility rooms are also areas in your home that could catch on fire. Dryers have a collection of lint that can build up in the hoses and vents. Dryers can get up to 120* f or hotter, and if the lint caught any sort of sparkle, a fire would happen instantly. Utility rooms are commonly used for the main heat source in a home. A furnace for example can be a potential fire hazard because of all the components, motors, electrically wiring, and the oil to allow it to run. You can never be too careful when putting a ready plan together and sticking a fire extinguisher in a utility room.

By having an extinguisher in all the basic rooms in the home you will have the ease that you are prepared in the event of a fire at your home. Did you know if you get to a fire within 6 seconds of it happening there is 75% chance that the fire can be put out. That is a quick action that could save a life or further destroy your home.

A word from the wise as well, please check expiration dates on all fire extinguisher in your home. They do expire and will not work when you need them too if expired. SERVPRO of North Rensselaer and South Washington Counties recommends you to not wait. By waiting you are creating a disaster to happen and you can never be too prepared. So, take an evaluation today and see if your home could use a few more extinguishers ready for a quick response.

What's a Soot Web?

8/15/2019 (Permalink)

Soot webs in a customers basement after a recent fire.

After a fire in your home you’ll probably spend a lot of time focusing on the aftermath of this disaster. One thing that you may notice along the edges and corners of your ceiling are what many customers think are “dirty cobwebs”. However, these are called soot webs! These are not indicative of your cleaning skills at all they are actually due to the fire!

Soot webs form when ionized soot particles stick together and form long chains. These webs like to move to cooler areas in your home which is why you will likely see them along the edges of your walls and ceilings.

Do not attempt to clean these soot webs all by yourself! In order to properly clean them the correct chemicals and experience are required. Otherwise, further damage can be done if the proper action is not taken! We here at the SERVPRO of North Rensselaer/South Washington Counties have crews that are trained and have the precise tools and experience to clean up these soot webs the right way!

If you have a fire damage please call us at (518) 677-3444.

What is dry ice blasting?

6/7/2019 (Permalink)

Dry ice blasting is a carbon dioxide cleaning method using solid CO2 pellets (dry ice) to create a pressurized air steam that is directed at a surface to clean it. This cleaning method is similar to others, such as sand blasting, bead blasting, or soda blasting as it cleans the surfaces using a pressurized air steam. Dry ice blasting is an environmentally safe cleaning method and is nonabrasive, non-conductive, nonflammable, and non toxic.

Dry ice blasting is often used to remove smoke, soot, and char damage after a fire at a home or business. It also provides a fast and effective alternative to traditional methods of cleaning industrial production equipment. This process is the preferred method of cleaning because it leaves no chemical residue, in comparison to other blasting methods, as dry ice sublimates, or coverts back to a gaseous state, when it hits the surface that is being cleaned.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?

Call Us Today – (518)677-3444

No Job Is Too Large

5/2/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Large Loss Team Arriving to Jobsite

After a recent fire at a local college in Vermont, SERVPRO of North Rensselaer/South Washington Counties called out SERVPRO’s Commercial Large Loss Division Team for assistance.  SERVPRO’s Commercial Large Loss Division team is the best of the best in the restoration industry. Every large loss is supervised by a commercial operations manager to ensure seamless communication and timely mitigation.

One thing that we are proud of at SERVPRO of North Rensselaer/South Washington Counties is that we are always quick to respond. We were able to be on site, that same day, and with the help from the Commercial Large Loss Division Team, we were able to setup a large amount of industrial drying equipment to dry out from the water damage from the firefighting efforts. We also have a significant amount of crew members working to restore the structure as quickly as possible, to get the college back up and running.

Fire damage can be very devastating for a business or commercial property. We understand that every hour spent restoring your business back to pre-fire condition is an hour lost of revenue and productivity.

Is your business suffering from fire damage? Call SERVPRO of North Rensselaer/South Washington Counties at (518)677-3444.

How To Remove Strong Odor From Cigarette Smoke

4/29/2019 (Permalink)

Many homeowners smoke cigarettes inside their home without realizing that the smoke and odor it creates will have negative effects on their home and is not easy to get rid of.

First our technicians will try to remove nicotine buildup from the walls and ceiling of the home. We use strong degreasers as cleaning agents. Most homeowners might think that a coat of fresh paint will eliminate the odor, but if you just paint over nicotine coated walls, the smoke smell will still remain strong as nicotine is an oil base and will just bleeds through paint overtime.

If all else fails when trying to remove a smoke odor from a home, our trained technicians can perform an ozone treatment which is a deodorizing technique that eliminates odor by oxidizing the air. The oxidized air is circulated through the air just as smoke is and is able to get into all of places cigarette smoke does, effectively getting rid of the smelly residue. 

For professional assistance with deodorization, call SERVPRO of North Rensselaer/South Washington Counties at (518)677-3444.

Fire Extinguisher Safety

3/6/2019 (Permalink)

Every residential and commercial property should have at least one fire extinguisher present on the premises. Many people do not know the different types of fire extinguishers; let alone how to use them. It is best to learn this before, so that you will be prepared in an event of an emergency.

According to OSHA, the 3 most common types of fire extinguishers are air pressurized water (used for ordinary combustibles, such as paper, cloth, wood, rubber, and plastics), CO2 (used for flammable liquids, such as oils, gasoline, paint, lacquers, grease, solvent, and other flammable liquids) ,and dry chemical (used for electrical equipment, such as wiring, fuse boxes, energized electrical equipment, computers) .

Use the “P.A.S.S.” technique when operating a fire extinguisher:

Using a fire extinguisher properly is a great way to contain or put out a small fire, but creates quite a mess. Our trained technicians on fire, smoke, and soot clean up at SERVPRO of North Rensselaer/South Washington Counties can help clean that mess and make it look "Like it never even happened.”

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage? Call us Today- (518)677-3444

Fireplace and Space Heater Safety

1/11/2019 (Permalink)

With the temperatures dropping as we winter progresses, it is nice to sit back and relax and take off the chill by warming up next to your fireplace or space heater. It also can be very dangerous if you do not take the appropriate precautions. Here are some helpful tips to enjoy your cozy fire or warm space heater but still keeping safe.

Space Heaters:

  • NEVER leave a space heater running without supervision. The plug can overheat and start a fire if it cannot handle the amount of energy it takes to run the heater. Better yet, you can even unplug your space heater when you do not have it running or are not home.

  • Make sure your space heater is approved for indoor use. Most of the heaters that run on electric are safe to use indoors, but some heaters run on fuel and can produce carbon monoxide and should not be used indoors.

  • NEVER use a space heater as a dryer. It can be tempting to warm socks or a blanket over the warm blowing air, but this is extremely dangerous as the materials can easily start a fire.


  • Test Smoke detectors at least once a month.

  • NEVER leave a fire unattended. Even though it seems to be a controlled fire, you can’t control a spark from flying out of the fire and onto a surface or a blanket in your home.

  • Clean your chimney at least once a year and have it inspected by a trained professional.

Contact our fire cleanup trained professionals at SERVPRO of North Rensselaer/South Washington Counties (518)677-3444 with our 24 hour emergency services, we are always here to help!

Fire Restoration in an 1800's Home

9/25/2018 (Permalink)

A fire occurred at our customer’s home in their kitchen due to a cardboard box catching fire near an electric stove. Our customer stated that there was 5 to 6 feet of backsplash affected by the fire and white ash from the cardboard and paper towels throughout the home. Our technicians spent several days properly cleaning the homes structure, contents, and upholstery.  Due to the ornate woodwork and moldings within the home, along with the historic wallpaper that dated back to the 1800’s, we took extra time to insure these areas were properly restored. In the photo you will see the wallpaper that covered the ceiling of the dining area and the ornate base of the dining room's chandelier. When our work was completed the customers were very satisfied with our quality of work and timely restoration. 

Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there!

8/16/2018 (Permalink)

When inspecting a fire at a commercial building site, it is very crucial to look at every level of the building even if the fire did not occur on that floor. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there! Ceiling tiles and or any other type of ceiling may block your view of soot throughout the building. A great hint that there is extra space above the ceiling is the HVAC ventilation system. This building had a complete automobile repair shop above it prior to it being closed off for the building space below. In total there was a 14’ ceiling space above this commercial business that needed soot cleaning along with HVAC ducting, steel structure, electrical & plumbing systems and main carrying beams that would never have been seen if the inspector never looked above the ceiling tiles to see how much damage there was.

Soot Webs or Soot Tags

1/12/2017 (Permalink)


Our customers frequently mistake these soot webs, also known as soot tags, for smoke that has attached itself to spider webs that were present prior to a fire. In fact, soot from synthetic/petroleum based sources that have burned, cling to each other like magnets creating chains of soot. These webs are usually found in corners like spider webs and here’s why. Smoke/soot circulates towards cold, as the air is seeking equilibrium within its environment. These areas tend to be on the perimeter of the ceiling on an outside wall since those walls are cooler. Not only are those areas cooler, but the area near the ceiling is also a low area of concentration. So if you happen to find these after a fire, they are in no way indicative of your housekeeping.

Warning signs and preventative measures to prevent a house fire

12/22/2016 (Permalink)

This past year we have done a few fire restoration jobs relating to everyday items, that most people know can be a fire hazard, but are overlooked. Some items were an electric blanket, electrical outlet, kitchen stove, dryer, portable electric heater, and an extension cord. As a homeowner there are warning signs and preventative measures you can take to help prevent a fire like this in your home. For example, a couple ways to prevent your dryer from causing a fire is to clean out the lint in the lint filter to help prevents the dryer from overheating, also make sure to check your exhaust for any obstructions. For extension cords make sure to check them thoroughly for cuts or kinks in the cord, these can make sparks if the positive and the negative cords touch. Another area to check on cords is the end of the cord that plugs into the outlet. If the cord is extremely warm to the touch, then you should replace that end immediately or replace the cord all together. Any item that has an outlet cord is an easy place to check regularly. If this cord ever gets hot to the touch it should be replaced. Another tip is anything that has a fan, whether it is exhaust or intake, make sure the fan can breathe. Clean any dust or debris that may be covering the area. Some items that may have these fans would be a stove, portable boxed heaters, dehumidifiers, computers and computer towers. These are just a few tips to help you prevent a disaster from happening in your home. As a side note make sure to do your yearly maintenance cleaning on your boiler and chimney in order to prevent chimney fires and puff backs in your home. We hope these tips are a help for all of you in the future for preventing fires in your home.