Recent Fire Damage Posts

Puff Back Attack

1/28/2019 (Permalink)

Puff Back Attack

  As the winter days grow colder, many Sussex County homeowners will find themselves eager to turn up the heat in their residences.  Precautions should be taken when firing up your heater for the first time.  If your heating system has not been inspected or cleaned for over a year, this could result in a puffback.

  Puff backs are messy expulsions of soot and smoke caused by improper furnace ignition.  When an oil burner doesn’t ignite immediately, excess oil builds up within the combustion chamber.  This fuel can ignite explosively, similar to the backfiring of a car.  Depending on how much fuel has built up in the chamber, the result can range from a small explosion to a cloud of oily smoke.

  The resulting mess of soot and debris will be mixed with oil. It can quickly spread throughout your home, covering cabinets, walls, furniture, and everything else you would never want covered in something black and sticky.  In addition to the mess, puffbacks contaminate the air and surfaces with unhealthy material. The consequences can be unpleasant, but SERVPRO of Sussex County can work with you in the cleaning and restoration of your home and belongings.

  Should a puff back occur, here are some helpful tips to follow.

  • Assess the damage
  • Wash all affected clothing and throw out exposed food
  • Contact a technician to repair the malfunctioning furnace
  • Contact SERVPRO of Sussex County to restore your home

  SERVPRO of Sussex County is a trusted leader in the restoration industry. We have the specific damage restoration training, personnel, and equipment to quickly restore your home to its original state.  If you need someone to help with any type of smoke, soot, or fire damage, our highly trained technicians will be there to start the restoration process.  Call the professionals at – SERVPRO of Sussex County 302-856-9768.

Burnt Out

1/7/2019 (Permalink)

Burnt Out

Did you ever stop to consider the after effects of what happens to a commercial business when they have a major disaster?  Let’s just think about your favorite restaurant that you and your friends have a standing every other Saturday night get-together.  Suddenly your favorite restaurant has a fire.  Of course, the local fire department was called in to put out the fire and then the fire marshal came in to determine the cause.  The report in the local newspaper said it was due to an electrical short from the overhead lighting.  The photos were devastating and “your booth” is now covered in black soot along with everything else in the restaurant!  What happens next?

Your favorite restaurant will probably be out of business for many, many months if not a year or longer to clean and repair the damages – as well as a loss of income to them.  If they don’t own the building and only rent, they must continue to pay rent without any income to offset it.  For some businesses in this situation, it may put them out of business without having the insurance to cover that loss.  What about you and your friends?  Will you wait that long for them to recover and be back in business?  You will probably have found a “new” favorite restaurant.

 By calling SERVPRO of Sussex County to help with the clean-up, your favorite restaurant could be back up and running in ‘short order’.  Our crews are ready to help 24-7 for all disasters, residential or commercial, big or small.  SERVPRO of Sussex County prides itself in helping to make the loss "Like it never even happened!"  When disaster strikes call us the experts, SERVPRO of Sussex County at 302-856-9768.

Oh!!!! Christmas Tree!!!!

12/17/2018 (Permalink)

                OH!!! Christmas Tree!!!

  According to U.S. Fire Departments; there are more than 200 fires per year that are caused by Christmas Trees. These fires cause an average of 6 deaths, 16 injuries and $14.8 million in property damage annually.  A myth is that the tree lights alone are the problem but in reality the cause is also overloaded extension cords and electrical sockets which were faulty and short circuited.

  The following are measures which can be taken to diminish this risk:

  • Keep your tree at least three feet away from any heat source.
  • Purchase a freshly cut tree.
  • Water the tree every day.
  • Remove the tree soon after Christmas or once it dries out.
  • Check extension cords for damage before use.
  • Do not overload extension cords. Use only UL approved lights and cords.
  • Check for any shorts, or damaged bulbs in the strings of lights and discard the string if they are found.
  • Check extension cords for any exposed wire and make sure they art grounded.
  • Make sure your lights are turned off before you turn in at night.
  • Make sure all outdoor light connectors are away from rain gutters and off the ground.

 Your Christmas tree is not the only item to exercise caution with.  It is reported that two out of every five decoration fires is started by candles.  Speaking from experience; this can happen in the blink on an eye and can cause considerable damage.  We had a small fire in our kitchen during Thanksgiving dinner one year after a dish towel got too close to a lit candle and we had to replace the island that it sat on.  A temporary lapse in attention is all it takes.

SERVPRO of Sussex County wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday season!  If you should have some bad luck during the holidays or at any time – call us at 302-856-9768 and we will help to restore the joy of the holidays.

A Recipe For Disaster

11/12/2018 (Permalink)

A Recipe for Disaster

  Thanksgiving is a popular time for family and friends to come together for food and company. Unfortunately, it is the leading day for home cooking fires in the United States. According to the National Fire Protection Association; between 2011 and 2015, it is estimated cooking fires contributed to $1.2 billion in property damage annually. There is an average of 455 daily cooking fires in the US. Their evidence has stated that in 2015, on Thanksgiving Day, there were four times as many cooking fires as any other day of the year.

  Unattended cooking equipment continues to be the primary cause of holiday fires. Some equipment presents a greater risk than people have prepared for. Turkey fryers have become a popular and easy way to prepare your holiday feast. Despite the ease and delicious results, these fryers come with their own unique set of safety precautions. According to the NFPA, deep-frying turkey has led to an exponential increase in holiday fires.

  Nobody wants a disaster to ruin a perfect Thanksgiving with the people we love. Below are some essential tips to keep yourself and family safe while cooking this year.

In your home:

  • Do not leave food unsupervised, especially when cooking with oil
  • Keep flammable material like wooden utensils, oven mitts, towels, and food packaging away from stovetops
  • Use a timer to keep track of cooking times, and monitor meals that take a long time to cook.

If you are using a fryer:

  • Fully thaw and dry your turkey. Excess water will cause the oil to boil over, potentially burning anyone nearby. If cooking oil spills onto the burner, it can easily start a fire.
  • Set your fryer up outdoors, on flat ground, and away from your home
  • Keep track of the oil temperature, and use protection when touching the lid and handle.
  • Be prepared for a fire. Have a multi-purpose dry powder fire extinguisher ready at all times.

 We encourage everyone to practice safety this holiday season. Please call SERVPRO of Sussex County at 302-856-9768 for any questions or issues relating to fire damage and remember it is always best to use an expert in such cases to lessen cost and severity of damage. You may also visit our website at:

The Origins of National Fire Prevention Month

10/1/2018 (Permalink)

The Origins of National Fire Prevention Month

  October is Fire Prevention Month and is sponsored by the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA).  Fire Prevention Month actually started as National Fire Prevention Day as declared by President Woodrow Wilson in 1922 and has evolved into a week or month long observance of the issues associated with Fire Safety.

  The event which inspired the longest running public safety and health campaign on record was The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 which started on October 8, 1871. The fire lasted for three days and killed more than 300 people and left more than 100,000 people homeless.  It burned more than 2,000 acres and destroyed about 17,400 structures and was reportedly started in a barn.  It caused an estimated $200 million in damages and legends of its cause range from a cow kicking over a lantern in a barn to human error and even a meteor. The worst destruction occurred on October 9 and this is why the national campaign always begins around this time.  An area a mile wide and four miles long were left in ruin in its aftermath.  Historically, it is still one of the worst American disasters on record.

  In 2000, the NFPA extended the Fire Prevention Week to include the entire month of October and most Fire Departments, schools, libraries and utility companies participate in spreading the word about Fire Safety and Prevention.

  SERVPRO of Sussex County is happy to offer its ongoing support to all of the local Fire Departments and we will be participating in the Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Company 2018 Fire Safety and Awareness Program on Sunday October 7 at the bandstand just off the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk.  This four hour event from noon until 4 pm will feature this year's Fire Safety Campaign "LOOK, LISTEN, LEARN - Be Aware, Fire can Happen Anywhere."

   Children of all ages are welcome. Come see the firetrucks, firefighters, police officers, EMTs, and many more of the public servants that work hard every day to help keep you and your families safe. 

Strong Smell of Smoke in your Sussex County Home or Business?

9/20/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Sussex County Can Eliminate Strong Smoke Odors.  If you have had a fire in your home; you may notice the smell of pungent, lingering smoke odors which at times can become overwhelming.  Post fire soot, ash and debris may also be present and in such cases it is in your best interest to call in professionals who can restore and prevent further damage to the property and belongings.

   SERVPRO offers the most professional fire damage restoration process. Our crew will apply proven methods to remove fire and smoke residues from furniture, walls, floors and ceilings and other surfaces in your home. If valuables are in need of removal and cleaning; we offer these services as well and sanitize salvageable items off site. We also discard any items deemed unsalvageable by the homeowner.

  The use of air movers, air scrubbers and foggers can also be utilized to push odors from the atmosphere to reduce smoke odors and improve overall air quality.

  Surfaces are also cleaned to remove soot and smoke residue.  Walls, floors and ceilings are all cleaned and checked for odor penetration.  In some cases the entire structure may need cleaning.

  Whether a small kitchen fire or a serious house fire; the odors associated with such a loss can be lasting and overwhelming. Call SERVPRO of Sussex County at 302-856-9768 as soon as the fire is out and we can begin the process of restoring your home to its pre-fire condition.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 
(302) 856-9768 or visit:

SERVPRO of Sussex County and the Fire Restoration Process

8/17/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Sussex County and the Fire Restoration Process

   A house fire can cause extensive damage from fire and smoke and also water damage from the firefighting efforts.  The professionals at SERVPRO of Sussex County have the expertise and training to restore your home to pre-fire condition.

  Although every fire event is different and the damage may vary; a unique solution is required but the general process is the same.  We have listed the steps below to illustrate our process for a fire emergency.

  1. Call SERVPRO – The SERVPRO National Call Center is available and staffed 24 hours a day – 7 days a week. Our professional representative will ask a series of specific questions regarding the fire and will dispatch the nearest SERVPRO Franchise Professional and they will arrive quickly to the scene with the appropriate equipment and resources.
  2. Inspection and Assessment – the SERVPRO of Sussex County professionals will carefully inspect your property and test adjoining rooms for fire, smoke and soot damage. The information gathered at this point is crucial to develop a plan of action.
  3. Roof Tarp and Board-Up Service – this is sometimes an immediate need after a fire since the event can compromise windows, walls and roofs. Our SERVPRO professionals will offer the service to properly board up missing windows and place tarps over damaged roofs.  This will add security and hopefully prevent further damage.
  4. Water Removal and Drying – If water damage is present the water removal process begins almost immediately and the majority of the water is removed. Dehumidifiers and air movers are used to complete then drying process.
  5. Smoke and Soot Removal – All surfaces which have been exposed to smoke and soot are cleaned with specialized equipment and techniques. This includes ceilings and walls and other surfaces.
  6. Cleaning and Sanitizing – The SERVPRO professionals will clean all restorable items and structures damaged in the fire to pre-fire condition. Odors are removed by air scrubbers and fogging equipment.
  7. Restoration – The final step is restoration – which means getting your home back to its pre-fire condition. This may involve minor repairs such as replacing drywall, painting and new flooring installation or if the damage is extensive; full reconstruction measures may be required.

Please refer to our Fire Damage Tips - Until Help Arrives Guide and follow these tips to protect yourself and your property. 

Please call SERVPRO of Sussex County at 302-856-9768 or go to: for more information and services.