Recent Fire Damage Posts

Understanding Different Types of Fires and Effective Extinguishing Techniques

4/17/2024 (Permalink)

SERVPRO working on fire remediation In this blog, we will explore the common types of fires and the best methods to extinguish them.

Fires can occur in various forms, each requiring a specific approach to extinguish and remediate. Understanding the different types of fires and the appropriate extinguishing techniques is vital for effective fire damage control and smoke damage restoration. In this blog, we will explore the common types of fires and the best methods to extinguish them, helping you take the necessary steps to protect your property and ensure a quick recovery if a fire incident occurs.

Class A Fires: Combustible Solids

Class A fires involve common combustible materials, such as wood, paper, fabric, or plastic. To extinguish Class A fires, use water or water-based fire extinguishers. Thoroughly soak the burning material to cool it down and eliminate the source of ignition. Fire remediation for Class A fires may involve water extraction and proper drying to prevent further damage.

Class B Fires: Flammable Liquids

Class B fires involve flammable liquids like gasoline, oil, grease, or paint. Water should never be used to extinguish a Class B fire, as it can spread the flames or cause the liquid to splash and ignite surrounding areas. Instead, use a foam or carbon dioxide (CO2) fire extinguisher to smother the fire and disrupt the oxygen supply. Fire remediation for Class B fires may require specialized cleaning methods to remove the flammable liquid residue.

Class C Fires: Electrical Equipment

Class C fires involve electrical equipment, such as appliances, wiring, or circuit breakers. In case of a Class C fire, the power source should be immediately shut off if it can be done safely. Using water or foam extinguishers is dangerous, as it can conduct electricity. CO2 or dry chemical fire extinguishers are recommended for Class C fires. After extinguishing the fire and ensuring the area is safe, professional fire remediation may be needed to address any smoke damage to electrical equipment or wiring.

Class D Fires: Combustible Metals

Class D fires involve combustible metals like magnesium, titanium, or sodium. These fires require specialized extinguishing agents, such as dry powder extinguishers specifically designed for Class D fires. This type of fire requires extensive fire damage control and smoke damage restoration to address both the immediate fire impact and any potential chemical reactions.

Class K Fires: Kitchen Fires

Class K fires are specific to kitchen environments and involve cooking oils, grease, or fats. Extinguishing a Class K fire requires the use of wet chemical extinguishers that create a barrier between the hot oil and oxygen, effectively smothering the flames. In addition to fire remediation, specialized cleaning methods may be necessary to remove residue and prevent re-ignition.

Grease Fires: Additional Caution

Grease fires in kitchens deserve special attention due to their high intensity and potential to spread rapidly. Never attempt to extinguish a grease fire with water, as it can cause the hot oil to splatter, spreading the fire further. Instead, use a lid to cover the pan and cut off the oxygen supply, or use a fire extinguisher designed for Class K fires. Prompt fire damage control and smoke damage restoration are crucial to prevent long-term damage to the kitchen area.

Understanding the different types of fires and appropriate extinguishing techniques is essential for effective fire damage control and smoke damage restoration. Remember, every second counts during a fire incident, so always prioritize the safety of yourself and others. If a fire occurs, follow the appropriate extinguishing methods mentioned above. After ensuring everyone's safety, contact fire remediation experts like SERVPRO® to assess the damage, provide professional restoration services, and restore your property to its pre-damage condition, ensuring a smooth recovery from the fire incident.

Different Types of Fires and How to Extinguish Them

12/13/2023 (Permalink)

Kitchen with fire damage. Did you know that fires come in various forms?

Did you know that fires come in various forms? Knowing how to properly extinguish them is essential for your safety and that of your property. Understanding the different classes of fires and the suitable extinguishing methods can make a significant difference during an emergency. In this blog, we'll explore the various types of fires and the best ways to extinguish them, so you can be prepared to take swift and effective action when needed.

Class A Fire: Combustible Materials

Class A fires involve common combustible materials like wood, paper, cloth, and plastics. These are some of the most frequent fires encountered in homes and businesses. To extinguish them:

Use Water, Powder, or Foam: Water, powder, and foam extinguishers are highly effective extinguishing agents for Class A fires. A steady stream directed onto the base of the flames can quickly smother and cool the fire, bringing it under control.

Class B Fire: Flammable Liquids and Gases

Class B fires encompass flammable liquids and gases such as gasoline, oil, propane, and solvents. These fires are more challenging to extinguish than Class A fires due to the combustible nature of the materials involved. To extinguish them:

Use a Fire Extinguisher: For Class B fires, it's crucial to use specialized fire extinguishers designed to smother the flames. CO2 extinguishers, foam extinguishers, or dry chemical extinguishers are suitable options. These agents work by removing the oxygen and interrupting the fire's chemical reaction.

Class C Fire: Electrical Fires

Class C fires involve electrical equipment or wiring. Using water or traditional extinguishers is not safe for these fires, as it can lead to electric shock and further hazards. To extinguish them:

  1. De-energize Electrical Sources: The primary step in tackling a Class C fire is to shut off the power source. Cutting off the electricity supply eliminates the fire's fuel source.
  2. Use a Class C-rated Fire Extinguisher: Once the power source is off, you can use a Class C-rated fire extinguisher. These extinguishers contain non-conductive agents that can safely extinguish electrical fires.

Class D Fire: Combustible Metals

Class D fires involve combustible metals like magnesium, lithium, and titanium, commonly found in industrial settings. These fires can be particularly challenging to extinguish. To extinguish them:

Use a Specialty Extinguisher: Class D fires require a special dry powder extinguisher designed for metal fires. These extinguishers are essential in environments where metal machining and production take place.

Class K Fire: Kitchen Fires

Class K fires are specific to cooking oils and fats, which are commonly found in kitchens. These fires can be intense and challenging to extinguish with traditional methods. To extinguish them:

Use a Wet Chemical Extinguisher: A Class K fire extinguisher that uses a specialized wet chemical is the most effective choice for kitchen fires. This extinguishing agent not only cools the flames but also reacts with the cooking oil to create a soap-like substance that seals the surface, preventing re-ignition.

General Fire Safety Tips

  • Always ensure you have a working fire extinguisher in your home or business. Check the pressure gauge regularly to confirm its readiness.
  • Familiarize yourself with the type of extinguisher and the class of fires it is designed to handle. The class is typically labeled on the extinguisher.
  • In case of a fire, call 911 immediately, even if you believe you can control it. Fires can escalate rapidly, and it's safer to have professional help on the way.
  • Use the P.A.S.S. technique when operating a fire extinguisher: Pull the pin, Aim the nozzle, Squeeze the handle, and Sweep from side to side across the base of the fire.

Understanding the different classes of fires and the appropriate methods to extinguish them is vital for your safety and the safety of your property. Being prepared and knowing how to respond in the event of a fire can make all the difference. Keep fire safety equipment accessible, know how to use it, and always have a fire escape plan in place to protect yourself and your loved ones. Fire safety is a responsibility we all share, and it's crucial for the well-being of our homes and businesses.

How to Choose the Right Fire Extinguisher

8/19/2023 (Permalink)

When it comes to fire safety, having the right fire extinguisher on hand is crucial. Fire extinguishers are designed to extinguish different types of fires, and using the wrong type can be ineffective or even dangerous. In this blog post, we will provide a guide to help you choose the right fire extinguisher for various fire hazards and understand the purpose of each type.

Class A Fire Extinguishers: For Ordinary Combustibles

Class A fire extinguishers are designed for fires involving ordinary combustibles such as paper, wood, cloth, and certain plastics.


  • Contains water or a foam-based agent
  • Coats the fuel source, reducing oxygen and suppressing the fire
  • Safe to use on Class A fires

Recommended for Homes, offices, and schools.

Class B Fire Extinguishers: For Flammable Liquids and Gases

Class B fire extinguishers are suitable for fires involving flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil, paint, and certain gases.


  • Contains a foam-based agent, dry chemical powder, or carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Forms a thick blanket that smothers the flame or displaces oxygen
  • Safe to use on Class B fires

Recommended for garages, laboratories, workshops, and kitchens (if there is a potential for oil/grease fires).

Class C Fire Extinguishers: For Electrical Equipment

Class C fire extinguishers are designed for fires involving electrical equipment such as appliances, wiring, and circuit breakers.


  • Contains a dry chemical powder or carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Limits damage to electrical components by non-conductivity
  • Safe to use on Class C fires

Recommended for offices, server rooms, and workplaces with electrical equipment.

Class D Fire Extinguishers: For Combustible Metals

Class D fire extinguishers are specifically made for fires involving combustible metals such as magnesium, titanium, and potassium.


  • Contains dry powder agents specifically formulated for metal fires
  • Forms a crust over the metal, cutting off oxygen supply and heat
  • Safe to use on Class D fires

Recommended for laboratories and industrial facilities working with combustible metals.

Class K Fire Extinguishers: For Kitchen Fires

Class K fire extinguishers are designed for fires involving cooking oils and fats, commonly found in kitchen settings.


  • Contains a special wet chemical agent
  • Cools the fire and creates a barrier to inhibit re-ignition
  • Safe to use on Class K fires

Recommended for residential and commercial kitchens.

Additional Tips

Consider a multi-purpose fire extinguisher (ABC) that can handle Classes A, B, and C fires. This is suitable for most common fire hazards in homes and businesses.

Ensure that your chosen fire extinguisher is properly labeled and certified by a recognized authority. Regularly inspect and maintain your fire extinguisher according to manufacturer guidelines. Train yourself and others on how to use fire extinguishers correctly.

Install fire extinguishers in easily accessible locations, with clear signage indicating their presence.

Selecting the right fire extinguisher is an essential part of fire safety planning. By understanding the types of fires and the appropriate fire extinguisher for each, you can effectively combat fires and protect lives and property. Remember to consider the specific hazards in your environment and choose fire extinguishers accordingly. Regular maintenance and proper training will ensure that your fire extinguishers are always ready for use during an emergency, providing you with peace of mind and enhanced fire safety.

Safely Reap the Benefits of Using Candles in Your Home

4/27/2023 (Permalink)

Candles can add warmth, ambiance, and a pleasant scent to any room in your home. However, if not used properly, they can also pose a significant fire risk. In this blog, we will discuss how to safely reap the benefits of using candles in your home.

Types of Candles

Before we delve into safety tips, let's review the different types of candles. The most common types are paraffin, beeswax, and soy wax. Paraffin candles are made from petroleum and can be molded into any shape. Beeswax candles have a natural, pleasant scent and color but are also the most expensive. Soy wax candles are made from natural ingredients, making them an eco-friendly option.

Safety Precautions

Candles should always be used with caution to avoid starting a fire. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

Keep candles away from flammable objects. Make sure to keep candles at least 12 inches away from curtains, bedding, and other flammable objects.

Never leave a burning candle unattended. Always make sure to blow out candles before leaving the room or going to bed.

Keep out of reach of children, pets, and animals. Candles should be placed out of reach of curious children and pets who may accidentally knock them over.

Extinguishing Candles

Extinguishing candles properly is just as important as using them safely. Here are two methods to safely extinguish candles:

Snuff out the flame. Use a snuffer or a lid to snuff out the flame. This method is especially useful for candles that have been burning for a long time.

Blow out the candle. If you don't have a snuffer or lid, blowing out the candle is a simple and effective method. Be sure to blow gently to avoid hot wax splattering.

Cleaning Up Spilled Wax

Spilled candle wax is a common occurrence. Here are some tips on how to clean it up:

Remove any large pieces of wax. Use a scraper or the edge of a credit card to remove large pieces of wax.

Use a paper bag to remove the remaining wax. Place a paper bag over the remaining wax and use a warm iron to melt the wax. The wax will transfer to the paper bag.

Use hot, soapy water to clean up the residue. Use hot water and dish soap to clean any remaining residue. Be sure to dry the area thoroughly to avoid mold or mildew growth.

Types of Candle Holders

Candle holders not only add to the aesthetic of your candles but can also provide a layer of safety. Here are some common types of candle holders:

Tealight holders. These small holders are designed for small votive candles.

Pillar holders. These holders are designed for long, slender candles and have a flat bottom to keep them upright.

Candle Accessories

Candle accessories can help make using candles safer and more convenient. Here are some common accessories:

  • Candle snuffers. These are used to extinguish candles and come in various shapes and sizes.
  • Candle lighters. These devices look like small blowtorches and can safely extinguish any type of candle.
  • Wick trimmers. These tools can be used to trim wicks before lighting, making the candle burn more evenly.

Candles can be a beautiful addition to any home, but they must be used with caution. By following these safety tips and using the appropriate accessories, you can safely reap the benefits of using candles in your home.

What are the Different Ways To Extinguish a Fire?

1/10/2023 (Permalink)

Extinguishing a Fire

Fire is one of the most destructive forces on earth. It can cause extensive damage to both property and human life, so it's important that you have a basic understanding of fire extinguishing methods. This article will highlight some common ways to put out fires and give you an idea of what form of fire-suppression equipment is best for different types of fires.


Water is the most common method of putting out a fire, and this is due to its effectiveness in extinguishing all kinds of flames. Water can be used to cool hot surfaces or even douse an open flame that has begun spreading to nearby combustible materials.

However, water should not be used against electrical fires; in fact, you should stay as far away from them as possible. Also do not use water on fires where hydrocarbons are burning (like gasoline). You’ll want to keep some distance between yourself and these as well—they tend to explode when they come into contact with water!


If you're unsure of what type of fire you're dealing with, the first step is to use foam. Foam is a chemical agent that can be used on class A and B fires. Class A fires are defined as combustible solids and include things like paper, wood and cloth; class B fires are flammable liquids or gasses such as gasoline, oil and natural gas. If your fire is electrical in nature—no matter what kind of wire it's connected to—you'll want to use foam as well.

Foam should always be applied with a hose because it can travel quickly over long distances. It can also coat large surfaces while remaining effective against most flames at all times during application (unlike water).

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a non-toxic and non-corrosive gas. It is heavier than air, so it will sink to the bottom of a room. This makes CO2 ideal for use in enclosed spaces such as offices and laboratories where it can be pumped in through vents or pipes.

Due to its effectiveness at extinguishing fires in enclosed spaces, CO2 is also one of the most commonly used fire suppression agents worldwide. However, because CO2 does not displace oxygen from open spaces (and therefore doesn't put out fires), it isn't as effective at putting out flames outdoors or in other large areas where there are plenty of available oxygen molecules for combustion.

Halogenated Agents

Halogenated agents are chemicals that contain bromine, chlorine, or fluorine. These chemicals are used to extinguish fires in flammable liquids. They are toxic and corrosive, so they must be handled carefully by trained firefighters. Halogenated agents should not be used on electrical fires because they can cause sparks that will spread the fire further.

Dry Powder

Dry powder extinguishers are used on fires that involve flammable liquids, such as gas and oil. They are not effective against electrical fires or fires that involve combustible metals.

Wet Chemical

The other type of extinguisher you may encounter is a wet chemical, also known as a "ABC" extinguisher. These are used on flammable liquids and are designed to put out fires made from oil, gasoline, paint, etc. It is important to note that not all fire extinguishers can be used on every type of fire; in fact, using the wrong type of extinguisher could make your situation worse! If you're unsure about what kind of damage your particular fire can cause, it's best to consult with someone who has experience in dealing with such instances before attempting to fight it yourself.

It's wise to have several different types of fire extinguishers throughout their house—especially for those who live alone. This will give everyone more options when faced with an emergency and allow them some peace of mind knowing that help is close by should harm come their way due to a blaze getting out-of-control too quickly. 

If you have fire damage, call SERVPRO of Monroe, Randolph & Washington Counties. We are available 24/7 and can be at your location quickly. Our team is certified and trained to handle all aspects of fire damage restoration. Additionally, we can help with your insurance claim so that you don't have to worry about anything other than getting back to living your life.

Fire damage can be devastating. If you’re in need of fire repair services in your Columbia, IL home or business, look no further than SERVPRO. We have the training and equipment to handle your smoke and water damage quickly and efficiently. Call us today!

Pretty Bird vs. Nasty Soot

4/25/2022 (Permalink)

What Are Puff Backs?

Have you ever seen a cute little bird, the black-backed puff back, often found in wooded habitats? These birds are innocent and wonderful. They fly gracefully into the open air causing no trouble to anyone. On the other hand, have you ever seen an escape of nasty, soot-filled air into your home? This type of puff back is not innocent and wonderful. In fact, it causes massive black stains and bad odors in your home. This kind of puff back mostly occurs from oil-fueled furnaces if they are not properly maintained. 

Why Do They Happen?

Puff backs are small explosions in a furnace that cause soot to be pushed back into the home instead of through the ventilation system. They are usually caused by build-ups of dirt and soot in the ventilation, failing fans, and clogged filters.

How to Prevent Puff Backs

The only ways to prevent puff backs are to replace filters often and have a professional look at your furnace. As previously stated the largest cause of puff backs is the lack of maintenance on furnaces. It is good practice to have all of your heavily-used appliances routinely checked.

In this Waterloo, IL basement, a puff back left a significant amount of damage on the floor joist system. Our SERVPRO technicians arrived quickly and started the cleaning and deodorization process to return them back to normal. The incident provided an awakening for the residents, and they decided to have their furnace checked often. 

The Dangers of Dryer Vents

4/8/2022 (Permalink)

Trust the PROS at SERVPRO of Monroe, Randolph and Washington Counties (618)464-0300

Do you want statistics? We have statistics! 

According to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), failure to clean dryers causes 34% of home fires. Home dryer fires cause $35 million in property loss and can even cause injury or death. To reduce the risk of fires happening in your home, SERVPRO of Monroe, Randolph & Washington Counties can help clean dryer vents and ducts that may have lint buildup.


  1. Keep your dryer ventilation unblocked, both inside and outside of the home
  2. Clear out lint inside flex ducting attached to your dryer
  3. Remove lint from the filter after every load
  4. Make sure the outdoor flap is open

With our HEPA duct cleaner vacuums, no amount of dust, dirt, or lint can stop us from protecting your home from fire damage. If your home needs dryer vent or HVAC cleaning, come to the professionals at SERVPRO of Monroe, Randolph & Washington Counties. Contact us today at (618) 464-0300.

Up In Smoke -- Commercial and Residential Fire Restoration

3/23/2022 (Permalink)

Did you know that there are different types of smoke that can affect your home or business after a fire? How the fire damage restoration cleanup is executed depends on the types of smoke we find. Here is a list of a few kinds:

  1. Fuel oil soot - Refers to smoke that backflows into a home from a furnace or fireplace.
  2. Wet smoke - Refers to smoke that results from plastics and rubbers that burn at low heat, causing a sticky, smeary substance to form. Can have a pungent odor. 
  3. Dry smoke - Your average smoke. Comes from paper and wood burning at high temperature, sending the heat towards the ceiling along with black, billowing clouds.
  4. Protein smoke - Produced by evaporation of material rather than from fire itself. Protein smoke is virtually invisible, yet it discolors paints and varnishes and has an extreme pungent odor. 
  5. Others - Smoke from tear gas, fingerprint powder, and fire extinguisher residue. 

At SERVPRO of Monroe, Randolph & Washington Counties, we pride ourselves in learning about any kind of damage that can be done to your home or business. The better we understand the disaster, the better we can help make it “Like it never even happened.” If your home or business needs fire, smoke, or soot damage recovery, call us 24/7 at (618) 464-0300.

Leading Causes of Residential Fires

2/7/2022 (Permalink)

We at SERVPRO of Monroe, Randolph & Washington Counties know that the more informed our neighbors are, the safer they are from disasters like home fires. There are many causes of home fires, but some are more prevalent than others. We listed out the top five causes of home fires below:

#1 Cooking

The leading cause of home fires in the United States is cooking. Most often, these fires are caused by unattended stoves or ovens. Grease fires also heavily contribute to this statistic because of their unpredictable nature and unconventional methods to deal with them. If you ever have a grease fire in your home, DO NOT use water. Rather, use a metal lid, ample baking soda, or a fire extinguisher to suffocate it.

#2 Heating Appliances

Devices such as space heaters and furnaces are also susceptible to catching objects around them on fire. Much like with cooking, heating appliances left unattended can cause heavy fire damage. Check on your heating appliances for signs of damage or misuse often to avoid fire in your home.

#3 Electrical Gear

For electrical gear, often it is too many appliances plugged into one outlet, or an overheating/overused appliance that will start the fire damage in a home or business. Make sure your home or business stays safe by checking outlets for black marks or signs of sparking.

#4 Intentional

Unfortunately, arson is the number-four cause of fires in the United States.

#5 Smoking-Related Accidents

Always practice safe smoking habits if you or someone you know smokes in your home or building.

SERVPRO of Monroe, Randolph & Washington Counties is there for you in any fire damage situation, 24/7. If your home or business suffered fire damage of any kind, call your local experts at (618) 464-0300.

Benefits of Ozone after Fire Damage to Your Home

1/18/2022 (Permalink)

The Smoke smell can be a nasty reminder after a fire in your home. Call SERVPRO to take care of that for you with our Ozone system at 618-464-0300

Fresh Ozone

Do you remember your fifth-grade science class? Ozone is three oxygen molecules bonded together which makes up the layer that protects the Earth from harmful UV rays. Ozone can also be created when lightning strikes, which helps purify the air. We can harness that purifying power through devices called ozone generators.

What is an Ozone Generator?

Ozone generators produce small lightning reactions that produce ozone (O3) molecules. This actually changes the molecular makeup of the air, purifying it of any smoke molecules that may be present after a fire disaster. 

How Does it Work?

When the ozone machine produces O3, those extra oxygen atoms attach themselves to smoke molecules, resulting in a molecule with a non-offensive odor. The addition of an oxygen atom to a molecule is a process called oxidation. With these generators, we are able to clean anywhere that air can flow, which is why it is so effective in the restoration of smoke-damaged homes or businesses. 

Is it Safe to Use?

Too much ozone can actually damage certain materials such as textiles, leather, rubber, and certain plastics. However, in the hands of a professional, the ozone can be used competently to remove smoke odors without harming these items. When too much is inhaled, ozone can damage your lungs. When in use, the structure is closed and there should be no entry. Our technicians at SERVPRO of Monroe, Randolph & Washington Counties are experts in odor removal and are trained in these matters. 

If your home or business has a smoke odor that you just cannot get rid of, come to your local SERVPRO of Monroe, Randolph & Washington Counties. We have your back and can make any disaster “Like it never even happened.”

You can contact SERVPRO of Monroe, Randolph, and Washington Counties 24/7 at 618-464-0300

Once the fire is cleared, how do you mange the Smoke and Soot damage?

1/11/2022 (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 Monroe, Randolph, and Washington Counties 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 SERVPRO of Monroe, Randolph, and Washington Counties  –618-464-0300