Even a small fire can make a big mess in your home. A small fire can cause damage to several rooms and all the items without you ever having to call the fire department! PuroClean Disaster Response was recently called to a home in Longmont after a small kitchen fire left a real mess for the homeowners.
One of our insurance company partners asked us to clean up a home that sustained damage to 4 rooms in the house due to small fire. We went out to the home in Longmont, Colorado and discovered that the fire had started with some cooking oil in the kitchen. Our client had started to warm up some oil to cook with, and left the stove for a few minutes to check on some laundry. We all try to squeeze so much into our days that multi-tasking becomes the norm, and running to quickly move some laundry while cooking is something a lot of busy folks do. Unfortunately in this case, somehow the oil caught fire and the homeowner returned to a flaming stove. The fire was small and quickly smothered with no need to call the fire department. In spite of their quick response in getting the fire out, the damage had already been done. The soot and smoke damage spread throughout 4 rooms in the home. Different types of fires leave different types of residue and smoke. Oil fires and fires that burn plastic are the worst. Smoke, soot and residue from oil fires is sticky, stinky and stubborn. We would need our best fire clean up process to remove all the residue from the walls and ceilings here.
Sometimes after a fire, it is hard to even see just how far the damage spread.
Depending on the residue and the color of the wall it can be hard to distinguish between contaminated and uncontaminated areas. We used a dry chemical sponge to wipe down all the walls and ceilings. This dry step removes most of the loose surface contaminants without further damage to the paint or underlying surface. Think of these dry sponges as big, tough erasers., once you drag sponge across the walls you can see a distinct difference where the sponge has removed residue. We proceed systematically and sponge all the walls and ceilings. We then use a HEPA vacuum to remove remaining loose dust and debris. The sponge does a good job of removing the loose surface soot, but because of the oily residue left behind we needed additional steps to finish the cleaning process. We spray the walls and ceilings with a concentrated green cleaning solution and wipe them down one last time. That completes the cleaning process, now it’s time for the restoration to begin. Soot from an oil/grease fire is acidic and it penetrates and degrades the paint layer. Sealing and and repainting is the preferred final step. A good coat of primer followed by paint will seal the remaining residue in the walls and bring the surfaces back to their normal, undamaged appearance.
Fortunately for these folks not a lot of personal property was damaged and the home owners were able to save some expense by moving a lot of their personal items to the garage for storage and cleaning instead of sending it away to have it professionally cleaned and stored.
Even a small fire can cause a lot of damage and disruption. So please don’t leave things cooking in your kitchen unattended. Even a small kitchen fire can cause a lot of damage to a house. Sometimes it is hard to even see the damage until you start to clean it up and realize it was so much more impactful than you first thought.