Fire and Smoke Damage Cleaning for the El Paso, TX, Area
Smoke Damage Cleaning
Cleaning and Decontaminating Your Home After a Fire
Your insurance company classifies fire damage into two categories. The first is the structure, which consists of your home or other buildings. Everything that is attached to the structure is also considered part of this group, such as doors, light fixtures, installed cabinets, etc. When looking at a fire and smoke damage restoration claim, your insurance adjuster will often help you with additional expenses while living in another place while your structure is being repaired and cleaned. Contents is the second classification of items of damaged during a fire. They include nearly everything "that is not nailed down"--clothing, furniture, bedding, artwork, dishes--you name it. Burned items are often un-salvagable, though smoke damaged contents can usually be restored to their pre-loss condition. Smoke leaves an oily or dry residue depending on the source of the fire and the materials that were burned. These residues are unhealthy. They contain many toxic chemicals including nitric acid, hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid (when combined with moisture in the air). Mitigating water damage caused by firemen putting out the fire often accompanies fire restoration procedures.
Usually Althouse Restore's fire restoration crew will remove your contents from your home and take them to the cleaning facility. Generally the following steps are taken...
Documentation. Your items are photographed and documented as a line item on a computer inventory page. In addition to the photo, descriptions of brand, size, areas of wear, etc. are noted. The article is wrapped with padding and placed in a bar coded box. The computer will keep track of your items to such an extent that if you needed to find an item, call Althouse and it will be available for pick up the next day, even if you had 300 boxes. Each large items, a sofa or table for example, gets an individual tag with a bar code label.
Cleaning. Your items are cleaned using treated water and approved cleaning solutions. Upholstery, area rugs and mattresses are "steam cleaned". Wood surfaces are cleaned with special sponges that leave no residue. Clothing, accessories, and shoes are sent to clothing specialists. Your cleaned small items are put into new boxes (marked with the same bar codes)
Odor Removal. There are five different ways to remove odor and Althouse Restore uses each of the systems. Ozone deodorization is the most common for smoke odor. Ozone is made up of three oxygen atoms. When ozone comes in contact with any pollutant, one of the oxygen atoms bonds with it and changes molecular structure. The oxygen atom lasts for about 15 minutes and during that time it burns off the smoke odor. Ozone occurs naturally in the environment from thunderstorms. After a thunderstorm passes, the air smells fresh and this is caused by the ozone. Your items are treated in the ozone room for 24 hours. Even large items like tables, sofas, and box springs are bathed in ozone.
Repacking and Storage. After your items are re-boxed and ozoned, the boxes are filled with packing peanuts or individual items are wrapped. Then the boxes are sealed and set on shelves in our warehouse until you are ready for them.
Pack In. After your structure is completely repaired and you are ready to move back, Althouse Restore will return your items in marked boxes. A list of boxes which shows their contents will be given you. The boxes are also clearly marked with the name of the room from which the items were taken.