Dealing with Fire Damage in Dallas: What to Expect from Firefighting Efforts, Restoration, and Insurance
A fire can happen in the blink of an eye and can be devastating, leaving extensive damage and destruction behind. It can be overwhelming to figure out where to start after such a tragic event.
What do Firefighters Do?
The first thing to understand is what is likely to happen if your fire damage is significant enough to warrant emergency responder dispatch.
A firefighter's priority is to rescue any individuals on the property. After completing life-saving work, they will focus on stopping a fire from causing more damage. Typically, firefighting methods include:
- Utilizing fire hoses to extinguish flames
- Spraying foam and water on different areas of the building
- Cutting holes in walls or roofs to allow smoke and heat to escape
- Searching for pockets of fire using thermal imaging cameras
- Ventilating toxic smoke from the building
During a firefighting effort, firefighters will use a large amount of water to extinguish flames and prevent the fire from spreading. Generally, a fire hose delivers around 100 gallons of water per minute. This amount can vary depending on the size and intensity of the blaze and the type of building and firefighting technique used. For example, the water pressure must be increased in high-rise buildings to ensure the water reaches the upper floors.
In addition to water, firefighters also use foam to smother fires. Foam can be more effective than water in certain situations, such as when a fire involves flammable liquids or gases. A foam proportioning system can be attached to the fire hose to mix water and foam concentrate in the correct ratio.
The amount of water and foam used during a firefighting effort can cause significant damage to the property, even when the fire is extinguished. Water can seep into floors, walls, and ceilings, causing structural damage and promoting the growth of mold and mildew. Foam can leave a residue that must be cleaned to avoid damaging surfaces.
Therefore, properties will likely experience extensive damage restoration needs, including water and fire restoration after a significant fire. The property will probably need mold remediation if the damage is left alone long enough.
The risks and needs of fire damage restoration require professional assistance from an experienced fire restoration company. The goal of the damage restoration company is first to secure the property to stop any further damage and then clean, restore, and reconstruct the property to its pre-fire condition. During intensive restoration work, you will also need to fire a property insurance claim, which a professional restoration company should have experience with and can process on your behalf.
By calling a professional fire restoration company in Dallas, homeowners can ensure their property is restored safely and efficiently.
The Fire Restoration Process
After emergency responders have cleared your property, it's time to seek proper fire damage restoration services and rebuild your property and your life.
A professional fire damage restoration company in Dallas will follow these steps:
- Help you file an insurance claim. Insurance claims can be complex, time-consuming, and confusing, especially for homeowners who have just experienced a devastating fire. A reliable fire damage restoration company can help homeowners navigate the claim process by offering guidance and support.
The first step in filing a claim is to document the damages. A professional fire damage restoration company will meticulously document every aspect of the damage, including any structural damage, personal belongings, and other items affected by the fire. This documentation is essential for the insurance adjuster to assess the damages and determine the compensation amount.
In addition, the restoration company will also provide an estimate for the repairs needed to restore the property to its pre-fire condition. This estimate is submitted to the insurance company to determine the compensation amount for the policyholder.
The fire damage restoration company will also communicate with the insurance company throughout the claim process. Communications will include:
- Submitting documentation and estimates.
- Negotiating on your behalf
- Providing your insurance adjuster with additional information that may be required.
The restoration company will also update the homeowner on the claim's progress.
A reputable fire damage restoration company will have experience working with various insurance companies and adjusters. This experience allows them to navigate the claims process more efficiently and effectively, ensuring the homeowner receives fair and timely compensation.
- Assess the extent of fire damage. The restoration company will send certified technicians to inspect the property and evaluate the damage caused by fire, smoke, and water. The assessment will begin with a visual inspection of the property to determine the harm caused by direct flames, including damage to structural elements such as walls, floors, and ceilings. The technicians will also pay close attention to any signs of smoke damage, which can be even more extensive than the actual flames. Smoke and soot particles can penetrate deep into surfaces, causing long-term damage and odors.
Next, the technicians will use specialized equipment, such as thermal imaging cameras, to locate hidden damage caused by the fire. This equipment can detect evidence of water damage, moisture, and mold growth, which are common after a fire due to the high moisture levels and lack of ventilation.
After the assessment, the restoration company will create a comprehensive plan for fire damage restoration in Dallas. The program will outline the steps needed to restore the property to its pre-fire condition and mitigate further damage.
- Secure the property to prevent further damage. After a fire, it's crucial to secure the property to avoid further damage. A fire damage restoration company will take the appropriate measures to ensure your property is safe and secure before restoration work begins.
Your damage restoration company will assess the structural integrity of the property. Assessment includes checking for walls, roofs, windows, and doors damage. If any of these elements have been compromised, the restoration company will board up and seal the affected areas to prevent rain or debris from entering the building.
The next step is to check the electrical and gas systems. If the fire has damaged these systems, the restoration company will shut off the power and gas supply to prevent further accidents. In addition, the company will also install temporary lighting and heating systems to provide a safe environment for the technicians to work in.
Water damage is also a common problem after a fire due to the water used by the firefighters to put out the flames. The restoration company will use high-powered pumps to extract standing water from the property. They will also set up dehumidifiers and air movers to dry your property and prevent mold growth.
Another essential measure is removing hazardous materials, such as asbestos or lead, from the property. The restoration company will have the necessary equipment and expertise to remove these materials before any restoration work begins safely.
Finally, the company will install security measures to prevent unauthorized property access. Security measures include installing temporary fencing or security cameras to deter trespassers and vandals.
- Move items inside the property to their content restoration facility, where your items will be cleaned and restored. Technicians will carefully pack and transport the items to a secure offsite location where your belongings can be restored to their pre-fire condition.
Your restoration company will sort through the damaged items and determine which are salvageable and which are beyond repair. Salvageable items will be packed and labeled for transportation to the content restoration facility, while irreparable items will be disposed of properly.
The restoration company will use specialized packing materials to protect the salvageable items during transportation. Packaging materials may include bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and protective covers for furniture and other oversized items. Your items will be carefully loaded onto moving trucks and transported to the content restoration facility.
The items will be unpacked and inspected at the content restoration facility for any remaining damage. The restoration company will use advanced techniques and equipment to remove all the items' traces of smoke, soot, and water damage. This may include deep-cleaning, deodorizing, and specialized drying techniques. They will likely use specialized equipment like ultrasonic machines and an Esporta Wash System.
Once the items have been restored to their pre-fire condition, they will be carefully repacked and labeled for transport back to the property. The restoration company will ensure that each item is returned to its proper location in the property and will work with the homeowner to ensure their complete satisfaction with the restoration process.
- Remove debris, smoke, and soot. When removing debris, smoke, and soot after a fire, a professional restoration company will use specialized equipment and techniques to ensure the property is immaculate and safe for occupancy.
The first step in the debris removal process is to assess the damage and determine which materials can be salvaged and which need to be disposed of. The restoration company will use heavy-duty equipment such as bulldozers and excavators to remove large debris and rubble from the property. They will also use hand tools and vacuums to clean up smaller debris.
Smoke and soot can be tough to remove, as they can penetrate deep into porous materials such as carpeting, upholstery, and drywall. The restoration company will use a combination of techniques to remove smoke and soot from the property, including:
- Dry cleaning involves using dry sponges or chemical cleaning agents to remove loose soot and smoke residue from surfaces.
- Wet cleaning involves using water or a cleaning solution to remove more stubborn soot and smoke residue from surfaces.
- Soda blasting involves baking soda to blast away smoke and soot from surfaces. This technique removes smoke and soot from brick, stone, and other hard surfaces.
- Thermal fogging: This involves using a specialized machine to create a fog of deodorizing solution that penetrates deep into porous materials to neutralize smoke odor.
Once the debris, smoke, and soot have been removed, the restoration company will conduct a final inspection to ensure the property is spotless and safe for occupancy. They will also work with the homeowner to develop a plan for any necessary repairs or renovations to the property.
- Sanitize affected areas to remove foul odors. The restoration company will first identify the source of the smell, which can come from various sources such as burnt plastic, chemicals, or furnishings. Once the source of the odor has been identified, the restoration company will develop a plan for removing the smell.
One common technique used by restoration companies to remove odors is thermal fogging. This involves using a specialized machine to create a fog of deodorizing solution that penetrates deep into porous materials to neutralize smoke odor. The deodorizing solution comprises a combination of chemicals that bind to the odor molecules and neutralize them. The fog can circulate throughout the affected area, penetrating every crevice and surface.
Another technique used by restoration companies to remove odors is ozone treatment. This involves using an ozone generator to create ozone, a gas that can neutralize odors. The ozone generator is placed in the affected area, and the ozone can circulate for some time. The ozone reacts with the odor molecules, neutralizing them and breaking them into non-harmful compounds.
In addition to thermal fogging and ozone treatment, restoration companies may use specialized cleaning agents and equipment to remove odors. This may include using air scrubbers and HEPA filters to remove any lingering odor particles from the air. The restoration company may also use specially formulated cleaning agents to clean and sanitize affected surfaces.
- Repair structural components (e.g., walls, floors, ceilings). Several steps are involved when a fire damage restoration company repairs structural elements such as walls, floors, and roofs. If the structural components are partially damaged, the restoration company will repair and reinforce them using various techniques. For example, they may use structural steel beams to support and strengthen damaged walls and floors. The restoration company may also use epoxy or other specialized adhesives to anchor new structural components to the existing ones.
If the structural components are fully damaged, the restoration company will remove them and replace them with new materials. This generally involves cutting out damaged sections of walls or floors and installing new drywall or flooring materials. The restoration company will replace any damaged electrical or plumbing fixtures and install insulation and soundproofing materials as necessary.
One crucial consideration when repairing structural components after a fire is ensuring the repairs are consistent with local building codes and regulations. The restoration company will obtain any necessary permits and inspections to ensure that the repairs meet all applicable requirements.
In addition to repairing structural components, the restoration company may install fire-resistant materials to help prevent future fires. For example, they may install fire-resistant drywall, insulation, and electrical wiring to reduce the risk of fire spread.
- Store and then return your restored contents to you. After a fire disaster, a professional fire damage restoration company will remove your belongings from your home and transport them to a secure, offsite facility for cleaning and restoration. This process is necessary to prevent further damage and will ensure that your belongings are restored to their pre-fire condition as much as possible.
The restoration company will inventory all the items removed from your home, documenting each item's condition and tracking each throughout the cleaning and restoration process. They will then pack and transport the items to their secure storage facility, which will be cataloged and stored until the restoration process is complete.
Once your home is cleaned and restored, the restoration company will return your restored belongings to your home. They will carefully unpack and place each item back in its original location, ensuring that it is in the same condition as when it was removed. The restoration company will also provide any necessary repairs or restoration to furniture, electronics, and other damaged items in the fire.
During the storage and return process, the restoration company will take steps to ensure that your belongings are safe and secure. The storage facility will have advanced security features such as surveillance cameras, alarms, and access controls to prevent theft or damage.
The restoration company will also take precautions to prevent further damage to your belongings during transport and storage. They will use specialized equipment and techniques to carefully pack and secure your items, protecting them from moisture, dust, and other contaminants.
- Report damaged items to your insurance adjuster (e.g., appliances, furniture). A fire damage restoration company can report damaged items to an insurance adjuster in a few different ways. First, they will thoroughly inventory all damaged items, noting the type and extent of damage incurred. This inventory will typically include appliances, furniture, electronics, and other personal belongings affected by the fire.
Once the inventory is complete, the restoration company will provide the insurance adjuster with a detailed list of all damaged items, estimated value, and replacement cost. This information will determine the extent of coverage under the policy and facilitate the claims process.
To ensure the claims process goes smoothly, the restoration company will work closely with the insurance adjuster to provide any additional documentation or information needed. This may include photographs of the damaged items, receipts or invoices for repair or replacement costs, and other related paperwork.
Sometimes, the insurance company may send an adjuster to inspect the damaged items in person. In these cases, the restoration company will work closely with the adjuster to provide access to the damaged items and answer any questions about the restoration process.
Overall, the goal of the fire damage restoration company is to ensure that the claims process is as efficient and hassle-free as possible. By providing detailed information about damaged items, working closely with the insurance adjuster, and providing any necessary documentation or information, they can help to expedite the claims process and get the homeowner back on track as quickly as possible.
How Long does Fire Restoration Take?
The restoration process can take anywhere from a few weeks to months, depending on the size and severity of your fire. If your community was widely affected by fires, typical during a wildfire outbreak, expect delays as fire restoration companies and insurance adjusters help many families and businesses.
How to Hire the Best Fire Damage Company
The right fire damage restoration company will make a big difference in the outcome of your restoration process. It's essential to choose a company with the experience and necessary skill set to handle the unique challenges of fire damage restoration.
Look for the following traits when deciding which Dallas fire restoration company to hire.
- Response Time. When it comes to fire damage restoration, time is of the essence. The longer you wait to initiate the restoration process, the greater the risk of secondary damage. Professional restoration companies understand the urgency of restoring your property quickly and efficiently. They will arrive on the scene promptly, secure the area, and start the restoration process immediately.
- Insurance Claim Processing: Look for a restoration company that can assist with filing insurance claims and provides an experienced Project Coordinator who will help you navigate the complex process of filing an insurance claim, ensuring that all necessary steps are taken to maximize coverage. The best restoration companies will have pre-existing contracts with top insurance companies to help your claim process smoothly. They will also communicate with your insurance adjuster to give you the best chance of a positive outcome. In addition, they will work with you and your insurance company to determine the most cost-effective way to restore your property.
- Extent of Damage Assessment: Ensure the fire damage company has extensive knowledge in assessing the extent of damage from smoke, soot, water, and other elements. A professional fire restoration company will have the right equipment and expertise to accurately evaluate the damage's extent. With their advanced technology and skill set, they can provide an accurate estimate of the cost and duration of the restoration project.
- Cleaning & Restoration Experience: Ensure they have experience cleaning and restoring your property and affected content. They should know how to identify hidden damage that could cause problems, such as water damage that could lead to mold growth. Verify the technicians and managers assigned to help have previous experience and certifications, preferably from the IICRC.
- Safety with Professional Tools and Equipment. Another crucial aspect to consider is safety. Fire damage often leaves behind hazardous materials, such as asbestos and lead-based paint. Professional fire restoration companies have the necessary training and equipment to handle hazardous materials safely, ensuring that your property is safe after restoration.
- Structural Component Repairs: Verify if they offer structural repairs like walls, floors, ceilings, etc. Construction will almost always be a significant part of fire damage restoration, and the restoration company you hire should have a construction department or division. These professionals should also have a Project Coordinator to help process your insurance claim.
- Content Storing & Return Services: Confirm whether or not they will store contents offsite (in their facilities) while doing repair work. Ask to understand how their cleaning process works. The top-of-the-line fire damage restoration companies will have advanced technology to clean your contents, such as an ultrasonic machine and an Esporta Wash System. Also, ensure they return all restored items to you when work is complete.
- Report Damaged Items to Insurer: Check if the fire restoration company can report damaged items such as appliances and furniture to your insurer. The answer should be an easy "yes." Your insurance adjuster will need the damage restoration company to provide them with proof of items that need to be replaced.
- Property Securing & Debris Removal Services: Ask about services related to securing your property against further damages and removal of debris caused by the firefighting effort. A professional company will be able to offer roof tarping and board-up.
Hiring the best fire damage restoration company is vital to restore your property safely and efficiently. A professional and experienced company will help you navigate the complex restoration process, provide a quick response, ensure safety, and restore your property to its preloss condition as soon as possible.
SERVPRO of Dallas Love's Expert Fire Damage Restoration Process
SERVPRO of Dallas Love is a premier fire damage restoration company in Dallas. Our franchise is owned and operated by one of Texas' longest-existing SERVPRO franchisees, with nearly 40 years of experience in the damage restoration industry.
We've developed a comprehensive approach to fire restoration, ensuring that all aspects of the restoration process are handled efficiently and effectively. Our extensive knowledge in assessing the extent of damage caused by fire, smoke, soot, and water ensures accurate estimates of the duration and cost of the restoration project.
We use the industry's most advanced equipment, and our technicians are trained extensively and receive certifications from the IICRC and SERVPRO University. SERVPRO of Dallas Love technicians are well-equipped with the right tools and equipment to handle hazardous materials that could cause harm to your property.
In addition to fire damage cleaning and restoration, SERVPRO of Dallas Love will also handle structural repairs for walls, floors, and ceilings, among others. Our construction division will start your restoration process immediately after your property has been cleaned and deodorized. Your assigned Project Coordinator will work with the insurance adjuster and communicate your needs.
Our content storing and return services are top-of-the-line, guaranteeing that all items are thoroughly restored to their pre-damage condition. We have advanced technology to clean contents, like ultrasonic machines. We're also one of the few companies in North Texas certified in the Esporta Wash System to sanitize textiles.
SERVPRO of Dallas Love reports damaged items, such as appliances and furniture, to your insurer, enabling a quick and seamless reimbursement process. Additionally, we will help secure your property against further damage and remove debris caused by firefighting efforts.
Contact us today for a complimentary fire damage restoration consultation.
We're Here to Help.