Recent Fire Damage Posts

What Type of Fireplace is Best?

1/7/2019 (Permalink)

Did you know that 1 in every 3 homeowner uses a fireplace to provide heat in their home? It is also one of the top 10 sources of a fire in a home. There are several different types of fireplaces out there to use, some safer than others. This blog will help you distinguish which one may be best for you.

Some key factors to think of when choosing the right fireplace for you are the following:

  • Efficiency
  • Cost
  • Maintenance
  • Safety

1. Traditional fireplaces -wood-burning

A traditional fireplace is nostalgic for many people and can often been seen by some as the one and only fireplace out there.

It involves an open combustion system which can produce some heat but the heat generated actually just gets sucked back up the chimney like a vacuum. Older fireplaces are around 10-15% efficient in producing heat into a home. 

It requires a chimney which in itself has its own maintenance needed. If they aren’t inspected and cleaned regularly, they can create a build-up of soot and other substances that can be flammable. 

It also requires more effort to burn the logs correctly as well as the post fire clean up. However, many will say it is worth it because of the authenticity of having a real fire shooting sparks and crackling as it burns. It is easy on the eyes, creating a warm comfort feeling. 

2. Gas

This method is most popular for a number of reasons. It takes minimal installation effort and can be installed almost anywhere since venting gets set up through a PVC pipe in the wall instead of a chimney. Everything is enclosed behind a piece of glass so it very safe to use with little to no monitoring. It can easily be turned on with a switch and heats up a home very well. 

It also comes in a vent-less option however these emit the exhaust they produce into your home.

They produce an actual flame that is visible without the need of wood or pellets. It is very efficient in producing heat into a home.

3. Electric

This is probably the most mobile type of fireplace as it can be moved from room to room wherever it can reach an outlet. Downside is because there are no live burning flames it doesn’t produce much heat.

It does prove to be ideal for commercial settings like hotels because of the beautiful appearance of a fireplace without the liability of burning someone who tries to touch it. Cost to buy one is more affordable but in the long-term electric bills will spike.

4. Bio-ethanol

This is the most expensive and referred to as the high-end option. They don’t run on gas, wood or electric but bio-ethanol which is a burning fuel made from an alcohol produced by the fermentation of carbohydrates. They have no cleaning required and are very good looking on the eyes. Downfall is they do not provide as much heat as gas fireplaces and minimal protection from heat.

When deciding on which option is best for you we hope this helped point you in the right direction. 

How to Prepare For and Prevent a Fire.

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

Did you know that the actual heat from a fire is more dangerous than the flames?

Room temperature during a fire can reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit at floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level.

You can scorch your lungs just trying to take a breath. The high temperature will even melt your clothes onto your skin.


  • Install the right number of smoke alarms for your home and test them at least once a month. Batteries should be changed once a year.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended
  • Turn off portable heater when unattended.
  • Never smoke in bed, when drowsy, or medicated. Douse cigarette buds in water before disposal.
  • Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used. Oxygen can be explosive and will make a fire burn hotter and faster.
  • Never use a portable generator indoors. It should also only be refueled outdoors or in well ventilated areas.
  • Keep items 3 feet in distance from any fire source.


  • Teach children what to do when they hear the sound of the smoke alarm.
  • In the dark close your eyes and practice feeling your way out of your house.
  • Establish two ways to exit each room.
  • Create a meeting point for all the members in your family outside of your home.
  • Make sure everyone knows how to call 911.
  • Make sure windows are easily accessible and screens can be removed quickly.
  • Make digital copies of all important documents and records such as a birth certificate.

In the event of a fire; before opening a door, feel the doorknob and door. If it is hot and/or has smoke coming out of the cracks do not open it. Use your second mode of escape from that room. If clothes catch fire teach everyone to stop, drop and roll. If someone cant drop down you can also take a blanket to smother the flames.

Better Act Quick!

5/1/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Better Act Quick! Soot cob webs found in the kitchen of this home.

A fire is a devastating thing to have happen to anyone. No homeowner wants to experience a fire and its damages left behind.

Why is it important to start clean up and restoration after a fire?

Health Risks

First and foremost, left over smoke & soot particles is a bio-hazard. Smoke inhalation can cause respiratory problems or worsen conditions like asthma and heart disease. If possible always try to limit exposure by staying with a relative or in a hotel during restoration. Many times when filing a claim your insurance company may offer you a stay in a hotel until it is no longer a hazard. 

Was Water Used?

There may be occurrences where water was used to cease the fire. If that is the case you may be experiencing not only fire and smoke damage to your home but also water damage. It is imperative to start proper drying of water in your home to prevent mold growth from occurring. 

Permanent Damage

Acidic soot can cause damage to porous materials leading to permanent discoloration that even a professional at that point wouldn't be able to remove.  However, if action is taken quickly permanent damage can be prevented.

It is expected that wherever the fire occurred there can also be electrical damage to outlets, wires, appliances. Make sure these are deemed safe before return to use. 

Soot can also cause damage to finishes on appliances or kitchen surfaces. These can become discolored turning a yellow hue. Over time smoke and soot can cause etching to glass and tarnishing of metal. 

Hopefully this situation will not occur in your home but if you find yourself needing to act quickly contact SERVPRO of Paramus.

What Is Soot?

4/12/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage What Is Soot? Soot shown on a chemical sponge.

Did you know that the highest cause of house fires is from cooking? Usually when a homeowner leaves a pot or pan unattended and then only remembers it when smoke invades their home. It may not develop into fire damage to your property but rather smoke and soot damage that usually is worse than you would think. Although your kitchen cabinetry isn’t on fire and ruined there is still some specialized clean-up needing to be done from the smoke & soot. 

Soot is a powdery, flaky substance composed of mostly carbon that is a result of incomplete combustion of materials like coal, oil and wood. Not only is it harmful but it can also be a pain to remove due to its stickiness which can cause staining if not treated properly. 

A chemical sponge is used to clean soot from walls. Commonly a chemical sponge may also reveal soot you did not notice was there. 

When treating textiles, a heavy duty vacuum must be used  before trying to clean them. Do not try to wash these in regular dry-cleaning or wash. Professional cleaners will need to use counteractants to break up smoke molecules and eliminate odors. 

It is highly recommended to hire a professional to properly handle clean-up and restoration to eliminate chances of staining and odor. 

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – (201) 445-5588

Smoke, Soot and Odor Removal

4/1/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Smoke, Soot and Odor Removal Dry Sponges or Chem Sponges used to remove soot from hard surfaces

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

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot 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 Paramus 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. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one 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 – 201-445-5588

You Need a Professional to Fix Your Smoke Damage

2/22/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage You Need a Professional to Fix Your Smoke Damage Severe Smoke Damage in a home

Why You Need a Professional to Fix Your Smoke Damage

There is no question damage from flames and smoke can destroy a home. If your home has sustained fire damage, you might have one question when it comes to smoke damage:  Why should you use a professional for cleanup?  For three simple reasons, you should leave your fire and smoke damage to the pros.

Time Matters

When it comes to mitigating the damage of smoke, time is important. The longer smoke residue stays in your home, the more likely it is to cause permanent damage. If you hire a professional restoration service, it will be able to enter your home quickly, saving items before smoke has a chance to completely destroy them. Further, if you work with a professional restoration company, you can ready your home for other contractors to make repairs.

Equipment Counts

With industrial-grade filtration equipment and chemicals, professional fire restoration companies have the tools to deal with both fire damage and smoke damage. You probably do not. You might have one question about smoke damage:  Why should you use a professional for cleanup?  When it comes to the best equipment for the job, you want to rely on a professional service who has the tools to do the job right.


Smoke Is Hazardous

If you plan to try to fix your burn damage by yourself, you should think again. Smoke generated from household fires is a known carcinogen. Without the training, experience, and safety equipment to protect yourself from the health hazards of smoke, you could get quite sick. By working with a professional restoration company, you can protect your health while restoring your home.

There is a simple answer when it comes to the following question about smoke damage:  Why should use a professional for cleanup?  Since you probably don’t have the time, equipment, or skill to properly restore your home, you should leave fixing your smoke and fire damage to the professionals.

Fire Restoration Can Make Your Home Livable Again

2/9/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Fire Restoration Can Make Your Home Livable Again Room After a Fire

How Fire Restoration Can Fix Your Home

There is no question fire damage can be catastrophic for any home. Even if the flames are never too bad in your house, smoke damage can make it unlivable. Either way, by working with a qualified fire restoration specialist, you can return your home to a good condition again. Here are two ways fire restoration can make your home livable again.

Flame Solutions

If a fire breaks out, your home can sustain fire damage ranging from cosmetic to structural. A good fire restoration company can complete a full structural analysis of your house. If any part of your home is unsafe, the company will rope it off and discuss structural risks with you. Then, the company will remove any damaged materials to ready your home for repairs. Because they have knowledge and skill related directly to flame mitigation your restoration company will be in a better position to advise you on home repairs following your fire than a general contractor. If you are wondering if fire restoration can make your home livable again, this should give you peace of mind.


Smoke Remediation

Whether flames in your home were severe or relatively minor, smoke damage can be catastrophic. Even if the fire did not directly damage parts of your home, it’s smoke probably permeated every inch of your house. Because of this, you need to work with a skilled fire restoration specialist. You will receive a full analysis of what furniture, belongings, and building materials you need to remove from your house. The company will then use chemicals and filtration to purify the air in your home. Eventually, you might not even notice the effects of smoke damage.


If your house has sustained fire damage, fire restoration can make your home livable again. By working with an exceptional fire restoration specialist, you can return comfort, usefulness, and beauty to your house.

Found Treasure

6/17/2016 (Permalink)

The homeowner was in Arizona when she got the call that there was a fire in her townhouse in River Vale, New Jersey. SERVPRO of PARAMUS/NORTHEAST BERGEN COUNTY was called in to do the emergency board-up and later to clean some of the structure, any salvageable contents and to perform the demolition in other areas. We had been in the townhouse numerous days but could not get into the utility room due to the structure of the kitchen floor above being compromised. Eventually after the area was secured we began cleaning the utility room. During cleaning one of our technicians (Gus Calliste) found 5 cardboard boxes, small but heavy. He opened the first one and discovered a solid silver bar, it weighed 100 Ounces and was marked 99.999 pure silver. Gus opened the remaining four boxes and found the same solid silver bars in each one.

Gus took a picture and sent it to our owner, Tony Palumbo. The picture only showed four silver bars. Tony called the homeowner and told her we found four solid silver bars. She wasn’t even aware they were there but she was very grateful. She also misunderstood Tony and thought they were one ounce silver bars. Gus came back to the office and turned in the 5 silver bars. We cleaned the soot from the silver bars and made arrangements to return it to the insured/homeowner.

The day we arrived at the scheduled appointment she wasn’t home. Our technician Mike Johnson called her cell phone and she said she was stuck at the Verizon store in Hillsdale. Mike told her not to worry and he drove the big green truck out to meet her. She was absolutely shocked to discover they were 100 ounces each and that there was 5 not 4. Mike handed over the 5 bars, 100 ounces each to a delighted homeowner. 500 ounces at about $17.43 an ounce was a nice ($8715) and very unexpected surprise. She couldn’t stop thanking Gus and the crews that had been working in her house for their honesty. This was definitely one of our more interesting finds at a jobsite. Lastly for the record, she was grateful for the job we did in her home to get her on the road back to getting her home and life restored. SERVPRO of Paramus/Northeast Bergen County was happy to assist.