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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Fire Damage Blog Posts

How to Prevent and Put Out a Grease Fire At Home

5/13/2021 (Permalink)

Spring and summer in Wisconsin are notoriously outdoor grilling season, but there are still plenty of meals made inside your kitchen. And unfortunately, most home accidents happen in the kitchen. Of all those kitchen mishaps, grease fires are among the most damaging. Here’s what you can do to prevent a grease fire in your kitchen, and how you can put one out safely:

To Prevent a Grease Fire at Home

  1. Equip your kitchen with a Class B of K fire extinguisher. In fact, you should have three  of these fire extinguishers in your home—one each in the kitchen, garage, and main living area. 
  2. Keep anything that could start on fire away from the stove or cooking area—cookbooks, towels, paper towels, etc. These type of items can instantly fuel a grease fire. 
  3. Keep your eye on a hot pan that’s cooking; leaving it unattended can be a recipe for disaster (pun intended).  
  4. Heat oil gradually and add food slowly to minimize grease splatter. Since oil and water don’t mix, remove as much moisture as possible from food before submerging it in grease.
  5. Smoking grease is dangerously hot grease, as the flash point of a grease fire is 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Before it ignites, grease will smoke wildly—if grease starts smoking, turn the heat down immediately.

How To Put Out a Grease Fire

  1. If your pan does catch fire, smother it with an oven mitt and place the lid on top of the pan. Never throw water on the fire, or run it to the sink or outside.
  2. Turn off the heat source. 
  3. If the fire is small and manageable, smother it with baking soda or salt.
  4. If necessary, spray the fire with a Class B or K fire extinguisher that’s suited for oil fires.
  5. Do not try to extinguish the fire with any cooking powders (flours, baking powder, etc.) or water.
  6. Do not try to move the burning pot or pan outside. 

If you incur damage after a grease fire in your kitchen, rely on our SERVPRO team of cleaning and fire restoration pros. Call us 24/7 at (414) 421-3500.

Grilling and Bonfire Safety Tips for Homeowners

5/13/2021 (Permalink)

Warmer weather in Wisconsin brings us all outdoors to enjoy backyard grilling and time around a bonfire. But with that fire-time fun comes an added level of fire risk.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments from 2014–2018 went to an annual average of 8,900 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues per year, including 3,900 structure fires and 4,900 outside or unclassified fires.

To help you grill safer, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has created a valuable grilling safety sheet filled with tips for all types of grills.

The NFPA also provides smart ways you can keep your fire pit safe throughout the bonfire season.

After a Fire, We’re On it

If your home or property has incurred fire damage, you can count on responsive repair and restoration here in your neighborhood through SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County. Contact us online or call anytime at (414) 421-3500.

It's Cold Outside....Why are House Fires starting?

1/19/2021 (Permalink)

It's January in Wisconsin....A question we are asked about a lot is "Isn't it too cold for fires to begin?". Well, there are other things besides heat that attribute to future disasters. Listed Below are the most common causes:

Heating is the second leading cause of US home fires and home fire injuries and third leading cause of home fire deaths. December, January and February are the peak months for heating fires. Space heaters are the type of equipment most often involved in home heating equipment fires, accounting for more than two of every five fires (44%), as well as the vast majority of deaths and injuries in home fires caused by heating equipment.

Carbon Monoxide

Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels such as gasoline, wood, coal, propane, etc. do not burn completely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of CO. Carbon monoxide incidents are more common during the winter months, and in residential properties. 

 Winter storms

Most of the U.S. is at risk for winter storms, which can cause dangerous and sometimes life-threatening conditions. Blinding wind-driven snow, extreme cold, icy road conditions, downed trees and power lines can all wreak havoc on our daily schedules. Home fires occur more in the winter than in any other season, and heating equipment is involved in one of every six reported home fires, and one in every five home fire deaths.


Portable generators are useful during power outages, however, many homeowners are unaware that the improper use of portable generators can be risky. The most common dangers associated with portable generators are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, electrical shock or electrocution, and fire hazards. According to a 2013 Consumer Product Safety Commission report, half of the generator-related deaths happened in the four coldest months of the year, November through February, and portable generators were involved in the majority of carbon monoxide deaths involving engine-driven tools. 


December is the peak time of year for home candle fires; the top two days for home candle fires are Christmas and Christmas Eve. Each year between 2013-2017, an average of 7,900 home candle fires were reported each year.


Electrical home fires are a leading cause of home fires in the U.S. Roughly half of all home electrical fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment, while nearly another half involved other known types of equipment like washer or dryer fans, and portable or stationary space heaters. More statistics on electrical fires.

Assessing Damage and the Decision Making Afterwards

1/19/2021 (Permalink)

Typically, when dealing with fire damage, it’s the smoke that leads to the most contamination. Smoke contains methane, carbon monoxide, benzene, sulfur dioxide, formaldehyde, formic acid, acetic acid, and traces of heavy metals. This is quite a toxic combination of chemicals, which can lead to severe health complications.

Unfortunately, smoke and soot residue can travel through almost any opening, then settle on every surface in the house. You might even find smoke contamination in a room unaffected by the fire.

Some other ways which smoke can damage your Hawaii home include:

  • Discoloration – After the fire, the smoke damage will immediately become visible on the walls, ceilings, and hard surfaces. You’ll notice stains and discoloration, including a yellowing effect that is tough to remove.
  • Odor – Many surfaces within your home, especially fabric or furniture, will contain a smoky odor after a fire. Smoke produces carbon in the air, which turns into soot. These particles then settle into the fabrics of your carpet, clothing, and furniture.
  • Electrical – A little-known aspect of smoke damage is damage to the electrical system. The smoke damage can compromise wiring, cords, switches, fuses, and breaker boxes.

Removing both smoke and soot requires advanced restoration equipment and expertise. You are likely not equipped or trained to handle the situation.

Hence, here at SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County... We are one call away from making things "Like it never even happened."

So a fire happens.....what next?

1/13/2021 (Permalink)

When a fire starts inside your home, it is never a pleasant experience. Fires not only threaten the safety of you and your family, but can also be costly to repair. The heat, flames, and smoke produced by a fire can cause extensive damage to your home. 
Whether the fire is small or large, the best choice would be to have the professionals come in and assess the situation. SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County is IICRC certified and have experience with different types of fire scenarios. 
Both the heat and smoke created by a blaze causes several types of damage to your home. Flames can burn content and building materials inside the home. Smoke spreads throughout the structure leaving behind soot and foul odors. Our professional technicians at SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County are taught how to mitigate fire damage by putting each case into a category based on the severity of the damage. 
In fire damage situations, there are three main types of severity. Putting each damage scenario into a certain level of severity helps our specialists know what types of methods to use when mitigating the problem. The three levels are minor, medium and major fire damage. 

With our fair assessments and knowledge/background, calling SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County is always the right thing to do. 

Why You Should Have A Fire Escape Plan For Your Family

11/23/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Logo over image of virus SERVPRO we are here to help

Fail to plan , plan to fail. That saying can annoy some of us, especially if we prefer to live life in the moment. But when it comes to emergencies like fire, planning is non-negotiable—you need to know what to do ahead of time to keep everyone safe. That starts with having a fire escape plan.

Fire can spread rapidly throughout your home—within as little as two minutes after a smoke alarm detects it. A fire escape plan gives you and your family a life-saving strategy to follow in a fire emergency. These specific steps will help you get started:

Make a map of your home.

Create a “blueprint” of your home, then label all the doors, windows, and every room in your house. Plan at least two escape routes from every room—remember to account for family members’ disabilities and create alternative escape routes as necessary.

Determine where you’ll meet if there’s a fire in your home.

Designate a family meeting spot when a fire occurs. Since you could be separated from other family members during a fire, it’s important to regroup and get a headcount after escaping from your burning home.

Make sure everyone can call 9-1-1. 

No matter if you have young children, teach them as soon as they’ll understand to dial 9-1-1 when a fire happens. This is so critical, especially if no adults are home during a fire. 

Do an at-home fire drill.

Practice your fire escape plan by walking with your family from room to room. Talk through your escape instructions. If it’s easy and safe, practice escaping. Do your own fire drill at home by sounding off your fire alarm to get your family in the right mindset for leaving the house.

Don’t forget about STOP-DROP-ROLL.

Once you have your fire escape plan in place, make sure everyone in your family knows how to “stop, drop, and roll” if they catch fire. Also, train your family members to check the doors for heat to see if they should open them or not once the fire alarm sounds. It’s important, too, to test your smoke detectors monthly, and change the batteries one to two times per year. 

After a Fire, Rely on Us for Restoration

Should a fire happen at your home or business, dial 9-1-1 immediately. After the fire has been safely extinguished, SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County is your source for fire damage repair and restoration. In addition to repairing and restoring anything damaged by heat and flames, our trained team can remove all the soot, ash, and smoke from the fire as well as deodorizes your property. Call 414-421-3500—we’re available any time, any day you need us.

Your Safety is Most Important!

10/30/2017 (Permalink)

Have two ways out!

Did you know that if a fire starts in your home you may have as little as two minutes to escape?  During a fire, early warning from a working smoke alarm plus a fire escape plan that has been practiced regularly can save lives.  

Top Tips for Fire Safety

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
  • Test smoke alarms every month.  If they're not working, change the batteries.
  • Talk with family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.
  • If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL FOR HELP.  Never go back inside for anything or anyone.

4 Steps to take immediately after a home fire:

  1. Calk 9-1-1.  Give first aid where needed.
  2. Let friends and family know you're safe
  3. People and animals that are seriously injured or burned should be transported to professional medical or veterniary help immediately.
  4. Stay out of fire-damage homes until local fire authorities say it is safe to re-enter.

One the fire department has released the site, call SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County to come in an make it "Like it never even happened."

Be Safe this Halloween!

10/27/2017 (Permalink)

Happy Halloween

Halloween is a fun and spooky, time of year for kids of all ages.  Make trick or treating safe for the little ones with a few easy safety tips:

  • If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so he or she can see out.
  • When choosing a costume, stay away from long trailing fabric that could result in your child tripping.
  • Keep dried flowers and cornstalks away from open flames and other heat sources like light bulbs and heaters.
  • Use a battery operated candle or glow stick in jack-o-lanterns.
  • If you choose to use candles inside your jack-o-lanterns, keep them well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of the way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways etc.
  • Make sure all smoke alarms in the home are working.

According to NFPA, decorations are the first thing to ignite in 900 reported home fires each year.  Two of every five of these fires were started by a candle.

Be Safe and Have Fun this Halloween!

"Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!"

9/15/2017 (Permalink)

Thank you to NFPA for this Fire Prevention Week Material

In a fire, seconds count.  Seconds can mean the difference between residents of our community escaping safely from a fire or having their lives end in tragedy.

That's why this year's Fire Prevention Week theme:  "Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!" is so important.  It reinforces why everyone needs to have an escape plan.  Here's this year's key campaign messages:

  • Draw a map of your home by using the grid available of the NFPA website with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
  • Practice your home fire drill twice a year.  Conduct one at night one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
  • Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can't help them.
  • Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to fine.
  • Close doors behind you as you leave-this may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire.
  • Once you get outside, stay outside.  Never go back inside a burning building.

What YOU can do until help arrives

9/11/2017 (Permalink)

The first 48 hours after a fire damage can make the difference between restoring versus replacing your property and personal belongings.  SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County can help prevent fire damage from creating long term problems.  

It's hard to wait for help, but what you do and don't do while waiting for help to arrive can make a big difference:

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from spreading and additional damage from occurring.
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs and high traffic areas and upholstery.
  • Coat chrome faucets, trim and appliances with petroleum jelly or oil.
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpet.
  • Do not wash any walls or painted surfaced.
  • Do not shampoo carpet or upholstery
  • Do not clean any electrical equipment.
  • Do not send clothing to a dry cleaner since improper cleaning may set smoke odor.

When we arrive, we will help ensure your property, belongings and memories are restored to preloss condition whenever possible.

Fire Prevention Week: October 8-14, 2017

9/11/2017 (Permalink)

Develop and Practice an escape plan

Consider this scenario:  It's 2 o'clock in the morning.  You and your family are fast asleep when you are awaken to the smoke alarm sounding and the smell of smoke.  What do you do?  If you and your family don't have a plan in place, it could jeopardize your safety, or even prove deadly.

In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds.   That's why home escape planning is so critical in a fire situation.  It ensures that everyone in the household knows how to use that small window of time wisely.

Developing and practicing a home escape plan is like building muscle memory.  That preplanning is what everyone will draw upon to snap into action and escape as quickly as possible in the event of a fire. 

Remember, your one and only goal during a fire is to get yourself and other family members out of the home safely.   

For Homeowners, putting out a fire can be worse than the fire itself

8/28/2017 (Permalink)

Picture courtesy of google

A backdraft of emotions often sweeps over the homeowners after a fire ravages a home.  fear, uncertainty, stress and doubt about the future of the property can overwhelm the homeowner long after the flames have been extinguished and the smoke has cleared.

So after the first wave of heroes have rescued the property, let SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County help you restore it.  With the industry-approved training to employ rapid response, the utmost professionalism, cutting-edge technology and open communication, we strive to restore not only the home, but the customer's peach of mind, as well.

The first 48 hours after a fire damage can make the difference between restoring versus replacing your property and personal belongings.  SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County professionals can help prevent fire damage from creating long-term problems.  Our professionals provide timely response with mitigation services ranging from fire, smoke and soot removal to contents claims inventory and document restoration.  these service help ensure your property, belongings and memories are restored to preloss condition when possible,