Recent Fire Damage Posts

Electrical fire

4/15/2021 (Permalink)

One of our restaurant customers had a fire in the circuit panel. An early morning motorist noticed smoke coming out the side door and called 911.  Emergency services arrived in time to put the fire out before the building was a total loss.  

This Italian cafe that had been providing great food since 1956 wondered if they could reopen.  SERVPRO was called in to demo structural materials, clean remaining ceilings and walls and spray a sealer on structure that remained.

The total remodel took 3 months and the entire customer base was relieved to know it would reopen.  The customer was very pleased with the cleanup and restoration.  No odor and everything was new.  The rebuild was a success.

SERVPRO is expert at cleanup and restoration after fire and smoke damage.

Apartment fire

4/2/2021 (Permalink)

Buchanan, fire, smoke, damage Fire truck in front of apartments

A Southwest Michigan 3 story apartment complex with 30 units burned this winter.  The cause is under investigation as the scope of the damage is determined.  While this is happening close to 100 people are displaced to find housing with family and friends.

SERVPRO has the  capability to mitigate fire and water damage on a massive scale.  We can also manage the rebuild.  SERVPRO works closely with  large loss insurance adjusters to cleanup and rebuild in a timely manner.  

Whether it's an apartment complex, a home or a commercial property, SERVPRO is "Here to Help". We have been servicing Southwest Michigan since 1995.  

We are available 24/7/365 to respond to any damage you have from Fire, Water, Mold, Smoke, COVID-19.  Call us at 269-925-6841

Smoke Damage

4/1/2021 (Permalink)

Stevensville, smoke, furnace Air scrubber in basement

SERVPRO of Berrien County is always "Here to Help" when Fire, Water, Mold or even COVID affect the operations of your business.

A Southwest Michigan medical clinic had some old furnaces in the basement that overheated.  The 30 year old bearings ground to a halt creating enough smoke to alert the fire department.  They showed up in great form and stopped any further damage.

Luckily, the clinic didn't have to shut down but there was enough smoke odor that all the windows and doors were open.  Fortunately it was a warm Michigan spring day.  

SERVPRO of Berrien County was called to mitigate the smoke damage/odor.  We set one large air scrubber next to the source for the weekend.  Odor was not detectable on Monday. 

The customer was grateful for our immediately response and solution for the problem.

Fire damage

4/1/2021 (Permalink)

Coloma, fire, boardup, smoke Blue house with chimney fire

SERVPRO of Berrien County is "Here to Help" when your home has any kind of fire or smoke damage.  

Chimney fires are a common source of damage when people don't operate them correctly.  Always make sure the flue is open and drafting before starting the fire.  It is also a good idea to have a chimney vendor clean any residue or creosote from the inside for safe fires.

This home's chimney got too hot and burned the wood structure around the chase.  The fire department was a mile away and was able to extinguish the flames and minimize smoke damage.

SERVPRO was called in to secure the openings with boards to keep the weather out.  Minimal smoke damage was cleaned and the exterior rebuilt.  

A very lucky and satisfied customer.

House Fire

3/11/2021 (Permalink)

Benton Harbor total loss Burnt Rubble from fire damage

SERVPRO of Berrien County helps victims of fire in the Benton Harbor area and the rest of the county.  

Fire prevention is an important part of fire safety.  Smoke alarms are a first alert that something is wrong.  They can be the difference between life and death, small fires and total losses.  

SERVPRO has been donating smoke alarms to county fire departments since 2004.  With over 15,000 alarms donated over the years this fire safety program has helped residents of Berrien County be safer.  Residents (not landlords) can request alarms from their local fire department for installation.

Be safer by installing smoke alarms throughout your home and change the batteries 2x per year.  

If you are a victim of fire/smoke damage you can call SERVPRO of Berrien County for help with cleanup and restoration. 269-925-6841

Residential smoke alarm program

12/14/2020 (Permalink)

Kitchen fire Untended cooking is a leading cause of fires.

Untended cooking is a leading cause of kitchen fires in the US.  Countless homes are destroyed by people walking away from the food they are cooking.  Don't let this happen to you.  Cook with a lid nearby so you can smother the flames.  Make sure you have working smoke alarms in the home.

SERVPRO of Berrien County has been cleaning and restoring fire/smoke damage since 1995.  We guarantee to properly clean and deodorize all affected contents and materials that can be saved.  

If you experience any size fire that produces heat and smoke damage, please call us to discuss the loss.  We are highly trained to help you restore your home and deal with your insurance carrier.

SERVPRO of Berrien County does fire cleanup and restoration from St. Joseph to Niles, New Buffalo to Benton Harbor.  269-925-6841  24/7

Residential smoke alarm program

4/2/2020 (Permalink)

Burnt structure pile Total fire disaster

SERVPRO of Berrien County has been donating smoke alarms to all county fire departments every year since 2005.  With over 10,000 smoke alarms donated for county residents, the program has reduced the number of total-loss fire disasters.  The alarms have also given fire and smoke victims a better chance to successfully leave a burning building.  

It is so sad to see a home end up as a burnt pile of debris waiting for the dumpster.  Every home should have a smoke alarm in each bedroom and every level.  Early detection helps people to leave the home and allows for shorter response times by fire fighters.  

Any Berrien County resident in need can contact their local fire department and request smoke alarms at no cost.  From Niles to St. Joseph, Benton Harbor to New Buffalo, Watervliet to Galien smoke alarms are available. Please help save lives by using smoke alarms in your homes.

Fire damage

4/2/2020 (Permalink)

candles burning Candles are a major cause of house fires.

SERVPRO of Berrien County, MI has been helping fire victims cleanup and restore their homes after fire damage since 1995.  Lit candles are a major cause of house fires.  

-Never leave lit candles in rooms unattended.

-Keep lit candles at lease 2 feet away from any flammable material.

-Electronic candles are a safe alternative.

If you experience a house fire and need help with cleanup and restoration SERVPRO can help.  From Niles to St. Joseph, Benton Harbor to New Buffalo we will help with:

-Board up windows, doors and tarp a roof.

-Extract water

-Pack out claim items and inventory contents.

-Launder smoke damaged clothing and soft goods.

-Clean structure and remove smoke odor.

-Remodel damaged areas in the home.

-Pack in all cleaned contents.

SERVPRO of Berrien County is ready to help 24/7/365.  We will make it seem "Like it never even happened."

Call us anytime day or night 269-925-6841

Residential fire

3/4/2020 (Permalink)

Fire board up Fire house boarded up for security

House fires happen for many different reasons.  After the fire is out the site must be secured.  Many times this requires professional board up service to tarp the roof and secure coverings to broken windows and doors.

SERVPRO of Berrien County, MI is available 24/7/365 to respond to fires.

Many times the fire department won't leave a site unattended because it is unsafe to do so.  People are naturally curious and want to see the damage.  A burned house is very dangerous and most times toxic to breath.

The homeowner of Fireman in charge can coordinate the board up.  Damage to the roof, windows and doors is assessed and materials are deployed to the site for installation.  

Once complete, SERVPRO coordinates with the homeowner and their insurance carrier the next steps in the restoration process.

SERVPRO covers all of Berrien County and surrounding areas for many insurance companies.

"Like it never even happened."

House fire

3/4/2020 (Permalink)

Space heaters can cause a fire. Never leave space heaters running when you aren't around. Keep at least 3 feet from anything flammable.

Putting out a fire can be worse that the fire itself. 

Smoke, water, extinguisher chemical dust, broken windows and doors, holes cut into the roof.  It can be the biggest mess you have ever seen.  Let's hope you never do.

Your first line of defense is smoke alarms.  If you are in need, contact your Berrien County Fire Department for alarms and installation.

The first 48 hours after a fire damage can make the difference between restoring versus replacing your property and personal belongings.  SERVPRO professionals can help prevent fire damage from creating long-term problems.  SERVPRO provides timely response with mitigation services ranging from fire, smoke and soot removal to contents claims inventory and document restoration.  These services help ensure your property, belongings and memories are restored to preloss condition when possible. 

SERVPRO also works with you and your insurance carrier during the entire process.  And finally making it seem "Like it never even happened."

Kitchen fire.

3/4/2020 (Permalink)

Fire damage from stove Somebody walked away from hot oil cooking chicken on the stove. Caught the cabinets on fire first.

Devastating fire damage to this home's kitchen and surrounding rooms in Benton Harbor.  The owner's young son was cooking chicken on the stove top and left the room long enough for the cabinets to catch on fire.  These type of fires are very hot and spread rapidly.  The occupants only had time to get everybody out of the house before the fire department arrived.  It took an hour to get the fire out.  

Every surface in all rooms was affected by fire, heat, smoke, soot and water.  There were very few items SERVPRO could remove and restore for these homeowners.  Insurance basically gave them replacement value for the home.  

SERVPRO of Berrien County, MI is ready 24/7/365 to respond to fire damage.  From board up to cleanup and restoration.  We make it "Like it never even happened."

Restaurant Fire Damage

9/11/2019 (Permalink)

Fire damage caused by faulty electrical connection. Smoke and heat damage to the inside of a restaurant bar and it's contents.

SERVPRO of Berrien County has been helping residential and commercial customers cleanup and restore fire damage since 1996.  Servicing Niles to St. Joseph and New Buffalo to Watervliet.

Fire damage can totally ruin a business and lots of people lose jobs.  That's why we train to respond immediately to help businesses get back to what they do best.  In this case, they have been serving food to the area since the 1950's.  An electrical connection started the fire early one morning and a passing motorist called it in.  Another 10 minutes...

SERVPRO was called in to remove damaged contents and structure, clean what remained and paint it to seal in odor.  Other contractors did the rest to get this business back in operation.

SERVPRO of Berrien County is ready to respond 24/7/365.   269-925-6841

Winter fires

9/11/2018 (Permalink)

House fire Space heater left running.

SERVPRO of Berrien County, MI are the experts at cleaning and restoring homes damaged by fire and smoke.

After smoke or fire damage, ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting and floors will often need removal or a restoration cleaning.  Your SERVPRO professional will pretest to determine the extent of damage, and then use the specific equipment and cleaning products required to clean and protect the different surfaces found in your home.

Seasonal heating hazards are important to consider to prevent home fires.

Space heaters should always be at least 3 feet away from combustible items.

Lighted Candles should never be left untended.

Fire places and chimneys should always be cleaned seasonaly.  Check to make sure the flue is open before lighting the fire.

If you experience a home fire of any size, call your insurance company and then call---

SERVPRO of Berrien County at 269-925-6841 to inspect damage.

October is Fire Prevention Month

9/10/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Alarm Program 1000 Smoke alarms distributed to Fire Departments for Berrien County residents in need.

A National Fire Protection Association report shows an average of 7 people lose their lives as a result of house fires every single day.  SERVPRO of Berrien County is helping prevent future tragedies. In recognition of National Fire Prevention Month, SERVPRO  donated 1000 new smoke detectors to 26 Berrien County Fire Departments. Intended for free distribution to residents in need.  

Don’t add to sobering statistics.  Be sure your home has a working smoke detector courtesy of SERVPRO, and brought to you in part by Mid-West Family Broadcasting.

Smoke Detectors available at fire stations and police agencies listed below:

Baroda
Benton Harbor
Benton Township
Berrien Springs/Oronoko Township
Bertrand Township
Bridgman
Buchanan City
Buchanan Township 2
Coloma
Eau Claire

Galien Township
Lake Township
New Buffalo City
New Buffalo Township
Niles City
Niles Township
North Berrien Fire
Royalton Township
St. Joseph Charter Township
St. Joseph City
Sodus Township
Sister Lakes
Three Oaks
Watervliet
Weesaw Township

For more information, call SERVPRO at 269-925-6841.

Residential fire damage.

4/13/2018 (Permalink)

Fire damage caused by faulty electrical connection. SERV{PRO cleans fire damage in St. Joseph, Stevensville, Bridgman, Harbor Country, New Buffalo, Buchanan, Niles, Eau Claire, Coloma, Watervliet.

St. Joseph, Benton Harbor, Niles, New Buffalo, Stevensville, Bridgman, Buchanan, Eau Claire, Watervliet, Coloma

More home fires start in the kitchen than anywhere else. In 2011, cooking was involved in an estimated 156,300 home fires that caused:

  • 470 deaths
  • 5,390 injuries
  • $1 billion in property damage

These Numbers could be greatly reduced if people paid more attention when they cooked and practiced simple fire safety behaviors.

Unattended Cooking

is the leading cause of kitchen fires

  • Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling of broiling food
  • Check food regularly – use a timer to remind you the stove/oven is On
  • If you must leave – turn the oven Off

Stay Alert

to avoid stirring up trouble

  • Don’t use the oven or stovetop if you are sleepy, have consumed alcohol or are using drugs.

Hot Tips

  • Keep pot handles turned in
  • When you microwave food, open the container slowly to let steam escape and let food cool before eating
  • Cool a burn under water for 3 to 5 minutes and cover it with a clean dry cloth
  • If the burn is bigger than your fist, seek immediate medical assistance

Flammable Objects

Keep away from the stove

  • Keep anything that can burn a safe distance away from the stove
  • Clean up food and grease from burners and the stove top
  • Wear short, tight-fighting, or lightly-rolled sleeves. If clothes catch fire, stop, drop and roll over and over or back and forth to put the fire out. Get medical help.

Be Ready

to react fast to a cooking fire

  • When in doubt – just get out!
  • If you try to fight fire with a fire extinguisher, be sure:
    1. Other people are leaving the home
    2. Someone is calling the fire department
    3. You have a clear exit path
  • If a small fire starts:
    1. Slide a lid over the pan
    2. Turn Off the burner
    3. Leave a the pan covered until it is completely cool
  • For an oven or microwave fire, turn off the unit and keep the door closed.  

If you do have a problem in the kitchen or any other room in the house give SERVPRO of Berrien County a call.  We will clean up all Fire, Smoke and water damage. 

Community Service with Fire Dept

4/9/2018 (Permalink)

St. Joseph Fire Dept has free smoke alarms.

SERVPRO gives back to the community.

For the past 10 years SERVPRO of Berrien County has provided free smoke alarms to fire departments for distribution to residents.  The fire dept will even install them for residents.  

Why do we do this?  Because we believe in fire prevention.  We clean up after fires but also help before the fire.  Smoke alarms are probably the most important safety item a home can have.  They save lives by helping residents escape before its too late.  

Each October SERVPRO distributes 1,000 smoke alarms to Berrien County Fire Departments.  This quantity usually lasts all year.  This is a community service SERVPRO provides.  Check with your local Berrien County, MI fire dept for smoke alarms.  They are always willing to help keep you safe.

Eliminating Heating Hazards This Winter

8/30/2017 (Permalink)

St. Joseph, Michigan home fire safely extinguished by local fire fighters. #supportfirefighters

SERVPRO of Berrien County 

269-925-6841

Fire Safety

The winter season is in full swing! The days are shorter and temperatures are lower. No matter where you live, winter brings a change in weather. In an effort to keep our homes and workplaces cozy, many people use alternative heat sources like fireplaces, portable space heaters, and wood burning stoves. According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is responsible for an estimated $893 million in property damage annually. Heating is the second leading cause of residential fire deaths, making it important to review ways to help reduce the risk of a heating-related fire. 

-Keep anything flammable at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove or portable space heater. Have a three foot "Kid-free zone" around open fires and space heaters. 

-Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed. 

-Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters. 

-Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home. 

-Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional. 

-Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer's instructions. 

Smoke Alarms Save Lives

8/30/2017 (Permalink)

Smoke alarms play a vital role in saving lives, and when properly installed, can reduce the risk of fire injury in half. 

The National Fire Protection Association recommends smoke alarms be install in every bedroom, outside all sleeping quarters and on every level of the house. Business owners should consult the local Fire Marshall to ensure specific building fire codes and smoke detectors requirements are met. 

Smoke alarms work best when paired with a fire escape plan. A plan allows your family, employees or client to escape quickly and safely in an emergency situation. 

Review the following tips regarding smoke detector installation and maintenance. 

-Install smoke alarms on every level of the home including the basement. 

- Smoke alarms should be installed away from the kitchen to prevent false alarms. Generally, they should be at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance. 

-Test smoke alarms at least once a month using a test button. 

-Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm "chirps" the battery is low and should be replaced right away. 

-Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.

Pets and Fire Damage

8/10/2016 (Permalink)

Pets

Data Says Pets Start Nearly 1,000 Fires Each Year!

SERVPRO Of Berrien County wants all of you pet owners to know these important facts.  An estimated 500,000 pets are affected annually by home fires, however, nearly 1,000 house fires each year are accidentally started by the homeowners’ pets, according to a new data analysis by the National Fire Protection Association.

The American Kennel Club® (AKC®) and ADT Security Services have joined forces once again for the third annual National Pet Fire Safety Day (July 15) to spread awareness about how pets can start home fires but more importantly how to prevent them.

"Not many pet owners realize that their pet can actually be the cause of a devastating fire," said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson.  "Simple preventative measures, such as flameless candles and stove knob covers, can mean the difference between life and death for your four-legged friends."

Chris and Kay Wardlow of Oklahoma know that all too well.  Their curious dog Lucy was home alone and spied a cake on the stove top. As Lucy tried to get a taste, her paw accidentally hit the stove knob and turned on the gas burner that was under the cake pan. Within minutes, the house was filled with smoke, triggering the Wardlow’s ADT monitored smoke detector. Firefighters were called to the scene, the house was saved and Lucy was rescued.

"Planning for unexpected emergencies like home fires and taking these precautions are an integral part of responsible pet ownership," Peterson said.


AKC® and ADT offer the following tips to educate pet owners on how to prevent your beloved pet from starting a fire, as well as how to keep your pets safe.

PREVENT YOUR PET FROM STARTING FIRES

  • Extinguish open flames - Pets are generally curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. Ensure your pet is not left unattended around an open flame and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flame before leaving your home.
  • Remove stove knobs - Be sure to remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before leaving the house. According to the National Fire Protection Association, a stove or cook top is the number one piece of equipment involved in your pet starting a fire.
  • Invest in flameless candles – These candles contain a light bulb rather than an open flame, and take the danger out of your pet knocking over a candle. Cats are notorious for starting fires when their tails turn over lit candles.
  • Beware of water bowls on wooden decks – Do not leave a glass water bowl for your pet outside on a wooden deck.  The sun’s rays when filtered through the glass and water can actually heat up and ignite the wooden deck beneath it. Choose stainless steel or ceramic bowls instead.     

Keep your pets safe

  • Keep Pets Near Entrances When Away From Home – Keep collars on pets and leashes at the ready in case firefighters need to rescue your pet.  When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near entrances where firefighters can easily find them. 
  • Secure Young Pets - Especially with young puppies, keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home such as in crates or behind baby gates in secure areas.
  • Since Pets Left Alone Can’t Escape a Burning Home – Consider using monitored smoke detectors which are connected to a monitoring center so emergency responders can be contacted when you’re not home. These systems provide an added layer of protection beyond battery-operated smoke alarms.
  • Affix a Pet Alert Window Cling – Write down the number of pets inside your house and attach the static cling to a front window. Thiscritical information saves rescuers time when locating your pets.  Make sure to update the number of pets listed.

Tips to prevent a kitchen fire in your Michigan home.

8/10/2016 (Permalink)

Kitchen Fire

St. Joseph, Benton Harbor, Niles, New Buffalo, Stevensville, Bridgman, Buchanan, Eau Claire, Watervliet, Coloma

More home fires start in the kitchen than anywhere else. In 2011, cooking was involved in an estimated 156,300 home fires that caused:

  • 470 deaths
  • 5,390 injuries
  • $1 billion in property damage

These Numbers could be greatly reduced if people paid more attention when they cooked and practiced simple fire safety behaviors.

Unattended Cooking

is the leading cause of kitchen fires

  • Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling of broiling food
  • Check food regularly – use a timer to remind you the stove/oven is On
  • If you must leave – turn the oven Off

Stay Alert

to avoid stirring up trouble

  • Don’t use the oven or stovetop if you are sleepy, have consumed alcohol or are using drugs.

Hot Tips

  • Keep pot handles turned in
  • When you microwave food, open the container slowly to let steam escape and let food cool before eating
  • Cool a burn under water for 3 to 5 minutes and cover it with a clean dry cloth
  • If the burn is bigger than your fist, seek immediate medical assistance

Flammable Objects

Keep away from the stove

  • Keep anything that can burn a safe distance away from the stove
  • Clean up food and grease from burners and the stovetop
  • Wear short, tight-fighting, or lightly-rolled sleeves. If clothes catch fire, stop, drop and roll over and over or back and forth to put the fire out. Get medical help.

Be Ready

to react fast to a cooking fire

  • When in doubt – just get out!
  • If you try to fight fire with a fire extinguisher, be sure:
    1. Other people are leaving the home
    2. Someone is calling the fire department
    3. You have a clear exit path
  • If a small fire starts:
    1. Slide a lid over the pan
    2. Turn Off the burner
    3. Leave a the pan covered until it is completely cool
  • For an oven or microwave fire, turn off the unit and keep the door closed.  

If you do have a problem in the kitchen or any other room in the house give SERVPRO of Berrien County a call.  We will clean up all Fire, Smoke and water damage. 

Eliminate Heating Hazards This Winter!

2/11/2016 (Permalink)

The winter season is in full swing! The days are shorter and temperatures are lower. No matter where you live, winter brings a change in weather. In an effort to keep our homes and workplaces cozy, many people use alternative heat sources like fireplaces, portable space heaters, and wood burning stoves. According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is responsible for an estimated $893 million in property damage annually. Heating is the second leading cause of residential fire deaths, making it important to review ways to help reduce the risk of a heating-related fire. 

-Keep anything flammable at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove or portable space heater. Have a three foot "Kid-free zone" around open fires and space heaters. 

-Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed. 

-Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters. 

-Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home. 

-Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional. 

-Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer's instructions. 

Smoke Alarms Save Lives

2/11/2016 (Permalink)

Smoke alarms play a vital role in saving lives, and when properly installed, can reduce the risk of fire injury in half. 

The National Fire Protection Association recommends smoke alarms be install in every bedroom, outside all sleeping quarters and on every level of the house. Business owners should consult the local Fire Marshall to ensure specific building fire codes and smoke detectors requirements are met. 

Smoke alarms work best when paired with a fire escape plan. A plan allows your family, employees or client to escape quickly and safely in an emergency situation. 

Review the following tips regarding smoke detector installation and maintenance. 

-Install smoke alarms on every level of the home including the basement. 

- Smoke alarms should be installed away from the kitchen to prevent false alarms. Generally, they should be at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance. 

-Test smoke alarms at least once a month using a test button. 

-Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm "chirps" the battery is low and should be replaced right away. 

-Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.