Recent Fire Damage Posts

Smoke Detectors Save Lives

9/20/2022 (Permalink)

Proper installation and maintenance of smoke alarms are vital to saving lives.  Working smoke detectors reduce the risk of injury by 50%. Having a fire plan is an essential fire safety strategy. Knowing what to do and where to go during a fire emergency can save lives and reduce property damage.

Here are a few tips you need to know!

  • Install smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom and sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed 10 feet away from cooking appliance to prevent false alarms.
  • Replace all smoke alarms every 10 years
  • Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once year

SERVPRO of Dover/Middletown is here to help with all your mitigation and restoration needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Contact our office at 302-735-9940 for assistance.

Don't Play with Fire

1/12/2022 (Permalink)

House Fire in Dover DE house fire

As Winter settles in and temperatures begin to plummet, homeowners look for alternative ways to warm their homes.  In an effort to control heating costs, many residents utilize fireplaces, wood burning stoves, and portable heaters.  Used properly and under supervision, each will be a cost efficient tool to heat the home.  However, improper use of portable heating is the leading cause of house fires during the winter months.  

Below are a few home heating safety tips:

  • Inspect and Clean your chimney and pipes annually
  • Do not plug electric heaters into extensions cords or power strips
  • Always unplug electric heaters when not in use
  • Never run heater cords under rugs or carpeting

SERVPRO of Dover/Middletown is always here to help.  You can count on us for all your mitigation, restoration and reconstruction needs. 

What's that Smell

9/14/2021 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Fire Damage in Middletown DE

Fire can leave behind soot and smoke damage that you can't see. Ceilings, walls, carpets, flooring and woodwork retain the smells that fire leaves behind.  Professional cleaning is usually a necessity after a fire to destroy lingering smells. Even a small fire can cause odors long after if not properly cleaned and deodorized.  Fire leaves odorous residues and deposits on surfaces and in hard to reach places. These residues and deposits can cause permanent damage as well as residual odors.

SERVPRO of Dover/Middletown will seek out and remove the source of the odor. SERVPRO uses it's own proprietary line of cleaning products to treat and prevent the odor from returning. SERVPRO  offers a variety of deodorization methods to fit all your needs.

Types of Smoke

9/14/2021 (Permalink)

smoke webs House fire in Felton

Fire brings devastation to homes and businesses.  Smoke damage tends to exacerbate the devastation. Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of the structure. Smoke flows around plumbing systems and seeps through holes uses by pipes to go from floor to floor.  

What's important to know is that there are two different types of smoke: wet and dry.

  • Wet Smoke - created from burning plastic and rubber: low heat, smoldering, sticky, smearing and pungent odor, causes smoke webs.
  • Dry Smoke - created from burning paper and wood: fast-burning, high temperatures.

The type of smoke created will directly impact the restoration process.

SERVPRO of Dover/Middletown is trained in fire cleanup and restoration. SERVPRO knows the difference in the types of smoke and how the smoke tends to behave. Prior to the restoration process beginning, soot will be tested to determine the proper cleaning method and deodorization process. 

Time is of the Essence

8/27/2021 (Permalink)

House Fire Fire in the Basement of Home in Dover

Did you know that you have as less than two minutes to a escape a burning home before it may be too late to get out? It only takes a few minutes for a small flame to become a major fire. Time is of the essence in these situations, so you need to be prepared. According to the American Red Cross only 26% of families and businesses have created and practiced a fire escape plan. In addition to creating and practicing the escape plan, fire detectors are key to survival. 

Below are some suggestions when creating your emergency escape plan:

  • Draw a Map - included all levels of the building. Label all windows and doors. Plan at least 2 ways out of each room.
  • Consider escape ladders - purchase collapsible ladders to store by windows in bedrooms on the second and thirds floors
  • Teach your Children - teach your children how to escape on their own.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice - practice the plan during different times, day and night.

When every second counts, its important to plan ahead. 

Keep Fall Fire Free

11/2/2020 (Permalink)

Fall decorations on table Hope you have a safe and happy fall!

The fall season brings cooler temperatures, beautiful colors, and an abundance of outdoor activities.  Plan ahead this season to help ensure it is safe and fire-free.

* Fall decorations, like dried flowers and cornstalks, are highly flammable.  Keep these and other decorations away from open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.

* Keep emergency exits clear of decorations so nothing blocks escape routes.

* Teach children to stay away from open flames.  Be sure they know how to stop, drop, and roll if their clothing catches fire.

* Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling, or roiling food.

* Hire a chimney sweep to clean out your chimney every fall.

* Time changes mean battery changes.

* Establish and practice a fire escape plan with your family that includes a designated meeting area outside the home.

There is nothing more important than the safety of your family so at SERVPRO of Dover/Middletown wish you a safe and happy fall season!

Kitchen Fire Cautions

11/2/2020 (Permalink)

Fire on stove Prevent kitchen fires

Each year, around the holidays, families gather together to celebrate by preparing a delicious feast.  However, not everyone practices safe cooking habits.

According to the National Fire Protection Agency, cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and injuries.  The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.  It's important to be alert to prevent holiday cooking fires.

* Be on alert!  If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, do not use the stove top or oven.

*Stay in the kitchen while you are cooking food.

If you have a cooking fire, consider the following safety protocols to help keep you and your family safe.

* Just get out!  When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the flames.

* Call 9-1-1

* For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the oven door closed.

* If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear path out.

* Keep a lid nearby when you're cooking to smother small grease fires.  Smother the fire by sliding the kid over the pan and turn off the stove top.  Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.

Fire Damage Emergency Tips

9/28/2020 (Permalink)

Bedroom Damaged by Fire Bedroom Damaged by Fire

Have A Fire or Smoke Damage Emergency? Call SERVPRO of Dover/Middletown (302) 697-9776

What you can do until help arrives:

After any fire damage situation, your primary focus should be safety:

  • Is it safe to stay in the house?
  • Electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.
  • Only do activities that are safe for you to perform.
  • Wet materials can be VERY heavy. Be careful!

Have A Fire or Smoke Damage Emergency?

What To Do After A Fire:

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
  • Keep hands clean so as not to further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.
  • Clean and protect chrome with light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
  • Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves.
  • Change HVAC filter.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.

What NOT To Do After A Fire:

  • Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting SERVPRO of Dover/Middletown (302) 697-9776
  • Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
  • Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water.
  • Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
  • Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.

Safe Cooking Tips

9/3/2020 (Permalink)

Burnt stove Damage from a grease fire.

The #1 cause of fire/smoke damages that our franchise is called out on are kitchen fires.  Accidents happen, but here are a few tips to keep you from calling SERVPRO.

*Never leave cooking food unattended—stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling, or broiling food. If someone must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, they should turn off the stove.

*Check food regularly while cooking and remain in the home while kitchen equipment is in use. Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.

*Keep small children away from the cooking area. Enforce a “kid-free zone” and make them stay at least three feet away from the stove and oven.

*Keep anything flammable like pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels away from the stove, oven, or other appliances in the kitchen that generates heat.

*Do not wear loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking. n Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease build-up.

*Purchase a fire extinguisher to keep in the kitchen year round. Contact the local fire department for training on the proper use of fire extinguishers if you are unsure.

*Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all kitchen appliances like stoves, ovens, and toasters are turned off.

*Install a smoke alarm near the kitchen, on each level of the home, near sleeping areas and inside and outside of bedrooms. Use the test button to check it is working properly every month. Replace the batteries at least once a year.

Safe cooking everyone!

Is Your Dryer Vent Safe?

4/12/2020 (Permalink)

According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly 17,000 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year.  Unsurprisingly, the leading cause of these fires, at 34%, is the failure to clean dryer vents. Who would of thought that something that is used on a near daily basis in some households could be so dangerous. 

Look out for the following signs of a dirty dryer vent:

  • A musty odor is discovered in the clothing following the drying cycle
  • Clothes seem unusually hot to the touch
  • Excessive heat is noticed in the room in which the washer and dryer are operated
  • The dryer vent hood flap does not open properly when you use the dryer (this is the vent opening to the exterior of your home)
  • Debris is noticed within the outside dryer vent opening
  • Large amounts of lint build-up in the lint trap during each cycle
  • Odor noticed from dryer sheets used during the drying cycle

At SERVPRO of Dover/ Middletown, we have the proper tools to clean out your dryer vents to make them more safe. Having them cleaned out by our team of professionals will not only make your dryer more safe to use, it will also increase the efficiency because the air can flow through the vent properly after it is cleaned. 

Wall Ghosting

4/10/2020 (Permalink)

Wall ghosting This home had a fire damage in an adjacent room. But the heat built up to a point where you can see ghosting.

One thing we here at SERVPRO of Dover/ Middletown know is that fire causes different types of damages to a home or business. I can say that I understand this from being a volunteer firefighter in the past, to now working for a company that comes in after the damage has been done.  There is one thing that I was always curious about after a fire had occurred. "Why are there a bunch of black dots all over the wall where the drywall screws are?"  

Those black dots are actually called ghosting. No they aren't actually ghosts so don't be afraid! The dark spots are the result of convection. The surface of the drywall cools faster than the nail heads because they are driven into the stud and continue to wick out that heat still within the studs for hours and even days. Therefore they are leaving a small heat signature behind the wall since they are still warm and are slowly smoldering away.  

Sometimes if candles are often burned inside of a home with a lot of moisture, the same effect can happen and people will start to notice that they can see lines where the studs in the wall are. That is also called ghosting.

Puffbacks and the Damage they create.

9/3/2019 (Permalink)

A puffback is caused most of the time in homes that use oil for heat. If a heating system isn’t regularly maintained at least once a year, when the heating unit turns on it can create a explosion inside of the unit and send soot, and smoke all throughout your home or business. This “Puffback” will have all the walls and belongings in your home covered in a dense soot that would have to be removed by hand scrubbing using specialty equipment. These puffbacks can be avoided by having a HVAC technician come out once a year and make adjustments to your system. There are a lot of reasons that puffbacks can occur and only a HVAC tech can help with your home before a puffback occurs. We are here to help after a puffback takes place, with making your home, or business beautiful again; and "Like it never even happened." Call SERVPRO of Dover/Middletown today! 

Smoke, Fire, and the type of Damage they produce.

8/30/2019 (Permalink)

Anytime a fire starts indoors; the aftermath is devastating. If your home is ever the victim of a severe blaze, many different types of damage possibly occur. A fire's flames, heat, and smoke all cause different kinds of damage to the contents and building materials inside your home.

Sometimes fires behave strangely and all of the damage caused is not obvious. It is smart to call in SERVPRO's fire damage specialists of Dover Middletown to make sure every area damaged gets the necessary attention. Smoke often travels to areas of the building away from the source that causes soot residues and unpleasant odors.

Whenever dealing with a fire situation, our SERVPRO technicians study how flames and smoke behave. The damage created during the burn is different in every situation. There are many factors affecting how severe a home gets damaged in a blaze.

After a burn, the amount of damage created depends on things likes what materials got burned and the amount of heat, oxygen, and moisture present. Airflow inside the building and the types of smoke residues present also play a role in determining how severe a structure gets damaged. Another factor that affects the cleanability of the damage present is the type of surfaces smoke and heat effect.

The type of surface smoke comes in contact with changes how the surface gets damaged. Porous surfaces allow soot residues and odors to penetrate deeply into the material and are harder to clean than non-porous surfaces. Synthetic fibers tend to collect more soot but are easier to clean than natural fibers.

Another factor that changes how easily an object is to clean is the age of the surface. As a general rule the older the surface is, the harder it is to clean. This rule holds true whether the surface is paint, carpet, or fabric.

To make sure all smoke and soot get adequately cleaned after a fire, it is wise to seek professional help. Remember, you can call SERVPRO of Dover Middletown for assistance.

What To Do Until Help Arrives

8/9/2019 (Permalink)

Aftermath of a kitchen fire in a residence

A fire can leave behind soot, smoke damage and a host of other problems. Ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting and floors will often need a thorough professional cleaning. If you home or business suffers a fire, it is important to take the appropriate steps. The following tips may help reduce damage and increase chances of a successful restoration. 


  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet.
  • Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
  • Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic area.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer/refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor.
  • Wipe soot from chrome kitchen/bathroom faucets, trim and appliances, then protect these surfaces with a light costing of lubricant. 
  •  If heat id off during winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks toilet bowls, holding tanks and tubs top avoid freezing pipes and fixtures.
  • Change HVAC filters; leave system off until a trained professional can check the system.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.


  • Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting your SERVPRO Franchise Professional.
  • Don't attempt to shampoo carpets or upholstered furniture without first consulting your SERVPRO Franchise Professional.
  • Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances (TV sets, radios, etc.) that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service. 
  • Do not consume any food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water, as they may be contaminated.
  • If ceiling is wet, do not turn on ceilings fans. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock, and air movement may create secondary damage.
  • Don't send garments to the dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set in smoke odor. 

Choosing the Appropriate Fire Extinguisher

8/9/2019 (Permalink)

Knowledge is power!  There are different types of fire extinguishers for handling different types of fires.  SERVPRO of Dover/Middletown wants you to be prepared for all situations if you have a fire in your home.

Class A:  This is the most common extinguisher and can be used to put out fires in ordinary combustibles such as cloth, wood, rubber, paper, and many plastics.

Class B:  Used on fires involving flammable liquids, such as grease, gasoline and oil. 

Class C:  Designed for fires involving appliances, tools, or other equipment electrically energized or plugged in.

Class D:  For use on flammable metals; often specific for the type of metal in questions.  These are typically found only in factories working with these metals.

Class K:  Intended for use on fires that involve vegetable oils, animal oils, or fats in cooking appliances.  These extinguishers are generally found in commercial kitchens, but are becoming more popular in the residential market for use in kitchens.

Where to turn after a fire

1/22/2019 (Permalink)

A house or commercial fire can be one of the most devastating times in home owner or small business owners life, from the loss of priceless family photos and heirlooms, to the loss of a hard earned small business that timeless hours have been put into getting off the ground. When these abosolutelty unfortunate events happen, most people are unsure of where to even turn after the fire has subsided and the firetrucks and firemen/women have left the scene. This is where SERVPRO Of Dover Middletown can step in and help. We can work along side you and your insurance company in order to make sure that you are receiving the best services possible for your home or business. With over 40 years in the business and a highly trained staff, we are here to help you get back to your normal life, and have your home or business "Like it never even happened."

Fire Damage and Restoration

1/22/2019 (Permalink)

Families and Business' alike can both be negatively affected by a fire, after 911 has been called and the fire settles and the trucks leave, your property more than likely will now not only be affected by smoke, fire, and soot damage, but also flooding and water damage from the fire men and women who were making sure that the fire was completely put out at your home. SERVPRO Of Dover Middletown has a highly trained team who have received specialized fire and water damage restoration training and have the years of experience to quickly restore your home or business back to its previous state,and pre fire condition. We can also help with the smoke odor, the deep cleaning of soot and smoke from carpets and upholstery, as well as deep cleaning of your HVAC system which may have sucked up smoke and soot into the system. Give us a call at SERVPRO of Dover Middletown today, and we can have a team out to you in no time! 

House Fires, and Cleaning.

7/23/2018 (Permalink)

Just hearing the words ‘house fire’ causes Dover and Middletown owners and residents to fear the worst for their homes. Few homes are completely or even massively destroyed by heat and flames.

Most physical house fire damage is localized. If a fire starts in a kitchen, then scorching and melted metal or plastics is only in that room. Smoke, soot, and odor damage can spread to other rooms, with smoke usually finding its way throughout the home. SERVPRO Restoration uses five services to secure each home to prevent additional damage, clean structural and personal property, and then restore it to its pre-fire condition. 

Our personnel begins with Mitigation Services. The goal here is to prevent further deterioration and new damage from factors like vandalism and weather intrusion. They board up windows and doors and then seal off openings into the home caused by the fire using plywood panels and thick plastic sheeting. If there is standing water from firefighting efforts, our teams start removing it. As part of the team finishes mitigation, other members begin cleaning. 

Contents Cleaning involves personal property. Usually, this is appliances, furniture, and clothing. Our primary task for technicians is to remove smoke and soot residues. For larger items, they can clean most of them on site after moving them outside or to another location if needed. 

Structural Cleaning applies to walls, ceilings, and floors, to include carpets. Here, the technicians’ primary concerns are typically cleaning smoke residues off surfaces and eliminating odors. In both Structural and Contents Cleaning, SERVPRO team leaders work with the residents and insurance companies to make the best choices of cleaning versus replacement regarding cost and efficiency. 

Specialty Cleaning is for items that are fragile or need special care like artwork and electronics. If residues and odors affected the surface of a portrait or got inside an electronic device, team leaders recommend bringing in a specialist for those pieces. 

For minor repairs and replacement, our teams work to reconstruct damaged homes. Our personnel can provide any and all replacement, plumbing, contracting etc.

If you have any questions about this or other aspects of fire damage to your home, contact SERVPRO of Dover Middletown. We are here to help.

Smoke Alarms can save your life.

7/23/2018 (Permalink)

Smoke alarms must be installed and maintained properly because they play a vital role in saving lives. Having the smoke alarm can reduce the risk of fire injury in half. Along with having a smoke alarm, it is best you have a fire escape plan so everyone can escape quickly and safely.  

Here are a few tips you need to know!

  • Install smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom and sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed 10 feet away from cooking appliance to prevent false alarms.
  • Replace all smoke alarms every 10 years
  • Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once year

 (Daylight Savings Time works well for maintenance.)

  • Test smoke alarms once a month
  • Clean Dust from sensor openings.

Remember one simple smoke alarm could be the one and only saving grace that your family has in the time of an emergency, especially if you and your family are fast asleep when a fire breaks out. 

Kitchen Fires, What you should know.

7/23/2018 (Permalink)

Kitchen fires can cause damage that you do not see throughout the whole home.

  • Wet Smoke
  • Usually from plastic and rubber
  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, stocky, smeary
  • Smoke webs are more difficult to clean
  • Dry Smoke
  • Usually seen with paper and wood
  • Fast burning, high temperatures
  • Protein Fire Residue
  • Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
  • From a furnace puff back
  • While “puff backs” can create havoc for homeowners, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can, in most cases, restore the contents and structure quickly
  • Other

Always have special cases that require special attention

When these types of damages affect your home, we are always here to help recover your home. We aim to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Make sure to give us a call here at SERVPRO of Dover Middletown, in order to send our team of highly skilled and trained employees to your location.

Faster to Any Size Disaster!

2/8/2017 (Permalink)

Residential House Fire

The first 48 hours after a fire damage can make the difference between restoring versus replacing damaged property and personal belongings.  Rapid response and timely mitigation can help prevent fire damage from creating long-term problems.  SERVPRO of Dover/Middletown Professionals understand returning to normal is your primary concern.  Our Response Teams are trained in caring for both you and your property.  By responding quickly with a full line of fire cleanup and restoration services, SERVPRO of Dover/Middletown Professionals can help you get your home or business back up and running quickly and help protect your property and belongings.  If your home or business suffers a fire damage, contact SERVPRO of Dover/Middletown to help make it "Like it never even happened."