Recent Fire Damage Posts

Fire Do’s and Dont’s

11/19/2022 (Permalink)


  • Limit movement of people in the structure to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
  • Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
  • Place dry, colorfast towels on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator completely, and prop doors open to help prevent odors.
  • Wipe soot from chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim and appliances. Then protect with a light coating of lubricant.
  • Pour RV antifreeze into sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks and tubs if heat is off during freezing season.
  • Gently wash both sides of leaves on indoor plants.
  • Change HVAC filter, but leave system off until checked by trained professional.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.


  • Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting your SERVPRO® Franchise Professional.
  • Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting your local SERVPRO® Franchise Professional.
  • 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 person.
  • Consume any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water. (They may be contaminated.)
  • Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock.
  • Send garments to the dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.

Cooking: The #1 Cause of Home Fires

11/19/2022 (Permalink)

Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. It’s important to be alert to prevent cooking fires.

What you should know

  • Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling or broiling food.
  • If you are simmering, baking or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.

If you have a cooking fire

  • Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
  • Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
  • If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
  • Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
  • For an oven fire turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

Safety considerations for cooking with oil

Oil is a key ingredient found in the majority of today’s kitchens. Whether a recipe calls for frying or sautéing, we include oil in almost all of our daily cooking. When using any of the many oils to prepare your meals like olive, canola, corn or soybean, consider the following safety tips when cooking:

  • Always stay in the kitchen when frying on the stovetop.
  • Keep an eye on what you fry. If you see wisps of smoke or the oil smells, immediately turn off the burner and/or carefully remove the pan from the burner. Smoke is a danger sign that the oil is too hot.
  • Heat the oil slowly to the temperature you need for frying or sautéing.
  • Add food gently to the pot or pan so the oil does not splatter.
  • Always cook with a lid beside your pan. If you have a fire, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Do not remove the cover because the fire could start again. Let the pan cool for a long time. Never throw water or use a fire extinguisher on the fire.
  • If the fire does not go out or you don’t feel comfortable sliding a lid over the pan, get everyone out of your home. Call the fire department from outside. 

Holiday cooking  

In 2013, Thanksgiving was the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. 

Date Fires Percent above average number of fires per day  

November 28 (Thanksgiving) 1,550  (230%) 

December 25 (Christmas) 740  (58%)  

December 24 (Christmas Eve)  720  (54%)

Source: Statistics from Liberty Mutual Get safety tips from Liberty Mutual.

Forty-Two percent of surveyed consumers say they have left the kitchen to talk or text on the phone, and 35 percent to use the computer to check email while food is cooking. If you tend to do a lot of cooking, invest in a second or third timer. They're an inexpensive way to stay safe while ensuring that your holiday dishes do not overcook.

Nearly half (45 percent) of consumers say they have left the room to watch television or listen to music. Multi-tasking during the busy holiday season is tempting. If you succumb, it's important not to leave the stove or oven unattended

Nearly one third (29 percent) of consumers reported that they have intentionally disabled smoke alarms while cooking.

More than half (56 percent) of surveyed consumers said they plan to cook for family or friends during the holidays this year - with 42 percent of those cooking for groups of 11 or more.

Survey Source: Liberty Mutual Insurance, 2013. Ketchum Global Research & Analytics designed and analyzed this nationwide phone survey (with 35 percent cell sample) of 1,005 adults ages 18-65+. ORC International fielded the survey from October 10-13, 2013, and the survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.

Source: “Safety Messages About Cooking”, National Fire Protection Association

Cerritos Smoke and Soot Cleanup

10/25/2020 (Permalink)

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 Cerritos/Hawaiian Gardens 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 – 562-916-7646

Orange County Apartment Left Charred After Fire Erupts

3/30/2020 (Permalink)

Restoring North Orange County Apartment Complex

When an AC Unit went up in flames in this Costa Mesa, CA apartment complex, there was little left to be saved. When the SERVPRO of Cerritos/Hawaiian Gardens team arrived at the site of damage, we recognized much work would need to be completed in order to effectively restore this property. As we speak, we are working to bring this customer 100% customer satisfaction and following SERVPRO standard procedure. 

We first started the restoration process in this space by identifying contents which could not be saved. Once these were taken care of, our team worked to eliminate further damages to the building by demo-ing areas that were no longer effective to the structural integrity of the job site. 

We are now working to complete this job according to the customers needs and get the tenant back into their home as soon as possible. 

Prevent Garage Fires in your Cerritos Home

3/26/2020 (Permalink)

Avoiding a Garage Fire in your Cerritos Home

Due to a recent residence fire, our staff wanted to keep our community and potential customers informed of some helpful information in home safety. More specifically, here are some reminders to keep in mind to avoid potential fire hazards in your garage. 

To take preventative measures and keep your home safe, ensure the following:

  1. Store liquid chemicals, oils, and gasoline, in a shed away from your home. This will prevent feeding a fire should it occur.
  2. Keep items consisting of flammable material such as paper goods away from appliances. This will again prevent a fueling agent to increase the size of the fire.
  3. Operate only one appliance at a time inside your garage. 

By following these preventative measures, you can ensure the safety of those in your household. Should an unexpected emergency occur, our staff is available 24/7 to assist you.

Commercial Fire Safety Checklist

1/31/2020 (Permalink)

Is Your Southern California Business Fire Safe?

With the hustle and bustle of the greater Southern California area, remembering proper fire safety in places of business can often go unattended. To keep your place of business safe, we've consulted with LAFD and chosen three categories which are important no matter the size or type of workplace.

  • Electrical Equipment

This category can be a leading cause of commercials fires if electrical appliances in the workplace are not properly maintained. Regularly check that appliance wires are in working order and no wires are exposed or frayed. In addition, ensure all lighting appliances are appropriate for the work environment. Excessive heat from an inappropriate lighting source can ignite a flame.  

  • Access to Fire Equipment

It is important to make all staff in your workplace aware of the designated place for fire safety equipment such as fire extinguishers. In addition, regularly check manufacture labels and replace these instruments when necessary.

  • Exiting

Finally, when evacuating the facility is necessary it is highly advisable to ensure exit routes are established and kept clear of obstruction. 

These three points will help you and your team to keep the place of business safe and in working order. For more information please visit your local county fire safety website. 

At SERVPRO of Cerritos/Hawaiian Gardens, we aim to keep our community informed and up to date on all the latest safety practices! Should you experience an unexpected disaster, do not hesitate to call our team, available 24/7.

Cerritos Home Safety: Appliance Maintenance

1/31/2020 (Permalink)

How To Keep Your Cerritos/Hawaiian Gardens Home Fire Free

Your Cerritos home should remain a haven for you and your family. Due to this fact, our team would like to present several tips and reminders in maintaining the appliances within your home. 

  • Laundry Dryers

Thanks to modern technology, the cleaning process has become extremely efficient. If not properly maintained though, a clothing dryer could be the cause of a disaster within your home. The biggest key to preventing an unexpected disaster is to regularly maintain the lint trap in the appliance. The following process ensures your dryer does not become a hazard to you and your loved ones.

  1. Remove the lint trap
  2. Collect and dispose of all lint on the trap by hand.
  3. Vacuum the tray holder inside the dryer as well as the trap itself.
  4. Replace the lint trap when clear signs of damage are noticed. 
  • Ovens and Stoves

Ovens and stoves share a common danger in grease and oil remains not being removed. Deep cleaning these appliances when possible is strongly recommended. In sanitizing your stove top, removing the grates and soaking in a soap cleanser is also very advantageous. 

Home appliance maintenance can at times be tedious but these few steps will aid in appliance safety.

Common Mistakes Preventing Cerritos Garage Fire Safety

7/25/2019 (Permalink)

Our team recently published a fire-related blog. However, the SERVPRO of Cerritos/Hawaiian Gardens branch also wanted to inform customers on specific tips for garage fire safety. 

  • Storing Products

It is commonly seen in home garages that oil, paints and propane products are being stored. This very dangerous and very common mistake is one of the highest causes to garage fires. Products with high combustion rates like these are recommended to be kept in a separate shed away from the home. In addition to this, keeping burnable items away from appliances is highly recommended.

  • Appliance Use

When using appliances, it is also recommended not to use more than one at a time. While it may be longer to run one at a time; saving on costs from damages as well the safety of those in the home over a few minutes on a chore is hardly debatable. 

For more information on practical garage safety tips, visit the U.S Fire Administration.

And if you are hit with an unexpected event like this, you know who to call!

Anaheim Home Electrical Fire - Keep Your Home Safe!

7/22/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Safety within Your Home

The SERVPRO of Cerritos/Hawaiian Gardens branch has recently encountered several fire losses caused by abnormal factors. One of these includes home electrical systems.

  • Facts About Home Electrical Fires

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) highlights an average of 51,000 home electrical fires occur each year. Sadly, more than 1,400 injuries occur because of these. Many of these occurrences could be prevented with a basic understanding of electrical principles. We'll focus briefly on two of these principles.

  • Home Outlets and Extension Cord Safety

There are two mistakes that often get made when handling extension cords within a home. First, extension cords are not designed to be used in multiples. If multiple extension cords are plugged in together, the cord can become overheated and cause a fire hazard. In addition to extension cords, outlets are equally as important. There are different outlet specifications used for different functions. These include types like Tamper Resistant and Surge Suppression receptacles. 

Please visit the ESFI website to find information on these electrical devices and more tips on home safety!