This week we are going to discuss what can be a major problem, regardless if the actual occurrence is large or small. FIRE. We are going to look at two examples that we have recently encountered. Our first example is a small residence with a moderate amount of furnishings. The homeowner left a pan of grease heating up on the range unattended for only a moment and that’s all it took. The range hood was damaged, adjacent cabinets were damaged beyond repair and required replacement, the refrigerator was burned on its side and had to be replaced and the entire home was impacted by smoke residue. Everything that could be seen by the eye had to be cleaned in each room of the house. This included the ceiling, light fixtures, walls, window blinds as well as the windows and doors along with all the contents. These consisted of draperies, rugs, clothing and pillows which required specialty dry cleaning. The upholstered furniture and hard goods needed cleaning as well as the carpet. Some rooms required painting even after cleaning since the smoke residue left some staining on the walls and ceiling. All in all, for just a little grease pan fire, this job took about 4 weeks to complete from our initial estimate to reaching an agreed price with the insurance company to the execution of the job to a satisfied customer. And cost somewhere just under $15,000. Granted, even though this customer chose to see an opportunity in this tragedy (and thankfully no one was injured) she still would not have chosen to go through all of the effort without some serious thought.
Our second example illustrates just how bad fire can be. Picture this – a 22,500 square foot facility with 7,500 square feet used to warehouse paper products. The remaining 15,000 square feet was used as office space with an entire room devoted to the life blood of this national company, on line servers. The cause of the fire was a truck with faulty wiring parked in the warehouse. The warehouse will be completely gutted and all the steel structure cleaned, primed and painted with all new insulation and interior finishes and that phase of the job (repairs) always takes a bit longer. Even though a fire wall separated the warehouse from the office areas, the impact from smoke was substantial. These folks were facing some serious business interruption (loss of income and customers) or we could call in a small army of people and equipment which we did. With a team of 8 technicians responding on a Friday, power was returned to the facility just after lunchtime and the servers were turned back on by close of business. On Saturday, a 26 man team worked through the weekend to process 15,000 square feet so that work could resume on Monday at its normal pace. Every desk, every computer station, every chair, every personal item had to be cleaned. The equipment deployed reduced the odor from smoke to an almost non-existent level and the area farthest from the fire damage was deemed better than before the fire. This fire had the potential to affect many people but we were able to minimize that impact and help these folks continue with their work all in the space of a few days. Although this project was well into six figures, the cost of returning the facility to working order was priceless.
So even from something seemingly small to something of major magnitude it is critical to have competent and qualified people getting you back to “normal”. Getting rid of the smoke odor is the primary goal and a thorough cleaning is the actual benefit. We often tell customers that their home or place of business will never be as clean again. But that’s only part of the solution. It’s important to understand what repairs are necessary and to perform the repairs correctly. A licensed general contractor well versed in this kind of work, like 1st Aide Restoration, Inc. can easily provide this service.