Recent Posts

Motel fire has room boarded up

6/4/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial Motel fire has room boarded up Keeping visitors out of a room that has been affected by fire, and also keeping the elements out, are key to the cleaning process.

Recently, a local motel had a small fire, confined mostly to one room.  The fire department, in their zeal to extinguish the fire, gave the two rooms adjacent water damages as well.

SERVPRO of Bedford Park/Burbank was called out, and we boarded up the room that suffered the fire damages.  Any water damaged rooms were quickly extracted, dried, and sprayed with an antimicrobial, so those units could be used by the business.

The reason we board up a room that has been subject to a fire is several fold:  It keeps unwanted visitors from entering a potentially unsafe room.  It also keeps soot particles from damaging other unaffected rooms.  And, in this case, it also protects the room from the outside weather, possibly causing even more secondary damages.  

There are many stages to cleaning up after a fire.  Keeping the area safe and secure is first and foremost.  Then you have to think about the physical cleaning and deodorization processes.  And finally, putting the structure back to preloss conditions.

SERVPRO of Bedford Park/Burbank is an expert at cleaning up after fires, whether they are confined to a single room, or an entire building.  Plus, we are available 24/7/365.  Simply call 708-430-3600 to get the process started.

A very wet start to 2019

5/31/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage A very wet start to 2019 Don't wait until the water is this high before calling SERVPRO!

Through May 31st, the year 2019 has been much wetter than normal.  In May, Chicago had its wettest May EVER, and we had measurable rain on 21 of the 31 days (plus two days we had fog/sprinkles, but nothing measurable).

2019 so far:

  • Jan Averages 1.75” we had 1.96”
  • Feb Averages 1.63” we had 2.81”
  • Mar Averages 2.65” we had 2.09”
  • Apr Averages 3.68” we had 6.02”
  • May Averages 3.38” we had 8.25”

So, on average, we should have had 12.09” instead of the 21.12” that actually fell; that’s 174% of normal to date.  And, according to averages, August is the wettest month, with an average of 4.62” of rain.

In case you were wondering, our wettest year in Chicago ever was in 2008, when an astounding 50.86” fell.  And the wettest month here ever, was August 1987, when 17.10” of rain fell.

SERVPRO of Bedford Park/Burbank is ready for all types of water damages, from flooding to pipe breaks to sink or bathtub overflows.  We have the equipment, manpower, and knowledge to not only get the job done quickly, but get it done correctly!  Plus we are available 24/7/365.  Call us at 708-430-3600 today, and we’ll come out to make it “Like it never even happened!”

Infamous fires throughout history

5/30/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Infamous fires throughout history No one plans to have a fire, but if it happens, SERVPRO is ready to help!

Some of the more famous fires in history:

  • Rome 64 AD.  Approximately 70% of Rome burned, and no, Nero did not fiddle while it burned.  The fiddle wasn’t invented for another 100 years.  But, Nero did build a huge palace for himself on the ashes in the best section in town.
  • Great Chicago Fire Oct, 1871.  250 people lost their lives, and 17,000 structures were lost.  People knew they were going to lose their houses, so they dragged the furniture into the street to try and save it.  It only made the fire spread faster, and clogged the streets so Fire Departments and ambulances couldn’t get through.
  • Great Boston Fire Nov 1872.  Only 20 were killed, and just 776 buildings were lost, but this fire still brought Boston to its knees.  This fire practically took out the entire business district, and no one could work for quite some time.
  • Iroquois Theater Fire Chicago Dec 1903.  Just one month after it opened, a fire started above the stage, blocking the exits of the top two levels of the balcony.  602 people lost their lives.
  • Our Lady of the Angels School Chicago Dec 1958.  This fire started in the basement less than an hour before school was to let out for the day.  By the time some teachers knew what was happening, it was already too late, as exits were blocked by fire and heat.  92 children and three nuns perished, some from injuries resulted from children jumping from upper floor windows.
  • The Camp Fire California Nov 2018.  By far the largest wild fire in California history, this fire consumed about 240 square miles, killed 86 people, and destroyed 18,804 structures.
  • Notre Dame Cathedral Paris Apr 2019. Built in the 12th century, and repaired many times since, this structure was still mainly wood, metal, and stone.  And even though they have a fireman on site 24/7/365, the fire still spread too quickly to save the spire and one of the towers.  Current estimates state that repairs to the cathedral will take 20 years to complete.

What do these fires (and really all fires) have in common?  Not a single person planned on having a fire at that time.  Fires come with no warning whatsoever.  With storms, the weatherman can predict danger ahead of time, but not with fires.

If you had a fire in your home or business, not only will you have water damages (or fire extinguisher dust for much smaller fires), but also soot will travel and accumulate in areas far away from the actual flames.

Call the experts at SERVPRO of Bedford Park/Burbank at 708-430-3600.  We have the knowledge and experience to know where to look and the best way to clean it, if it can be salvaged.

The speed of water

5/24/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage The speed of water The carpet needs to be extracted quickly, and standing water removed, so the walls can be dried properly.

How fast is fast?

  • Speed of light: 670,616,629 mph
  • Speed of sound: 767 mph
  • Indy car: 237 mph
  • Skydiver: 122 mph
  • Bobby Hull slapshot: 118.3 mph
  • Aroldis Chapman fastball: 105.1 mph

But how fast is water?

If we’re talking about how fast water falls, most raindrops fall at a rate of 20 mph.  Drizzle, with its smaller drops, falls at a rate of 4.5 mph. 

Now, how fast does water go UP?

Water, whether it’s clean water from a pipe break, or raw sewage water, will wick up (be absorbed into) drywall at a rate of about 1-2” per hour.  So, if you discover water in your finished basement, or in your bathroom, and let it sit overnight, it may have wicked up 8-12” or so.  This moisture must be removed as soon as possible otherwise mold becomes a distinct possibility.

Call SERVPRO of Bedford Park/Burbank.  Uniformed crews will go to your house, extract any standing water, and begin setting up air movement equipment.  Besides the proper equipment, we have the protocols in place to quickly remove moisture from drywall, carpet, wood framing, etc., so it greatly reduces the chance that mold can colonize and grow.

Don’t delay – call today!  708-430-3600.

Commercial disruption kept to a minimum

5/3/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial Commercial disruption kept to a minimum Doing our best to keep business disruption to a minimum. Moving all this paperwork would have caused delays for this worker.

I have yet to see any business include in their budget a water damage or fire loss.  No one PLANS for it, but it still happens.

SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank is aware that any commercial client needs to be 100% operational to be profitable.  We do our very best to work within guidelines set forth by the property manager to do our work while staying out of the way as much as possible.  When a local hotel had a water loss that affected the breakfast area, we arrived every morning at 5:00 to move drying equipment out of the way until breakfast was over, then returned and replaced the equipment.

Sometimes, though, disruption is inevitable.  We clearly define to the property manager what we have to do, timelines and deadlines, and work out a schedule that works for both parties.  

Every job brings new challenges, and we are ready to work with you to get things back to preloss conditions as quickly and efficiently as possible.

If you have suffered a loss, and wish to have a company come out, one that has expertise in every kind of loss, along with attention to details, then give us a call at 708-430-3600.

Ingredients to a fire

5/2/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Ingredients to a fire It takes the right ingredients to create a fire.

Question:  When is a fire like a cake?  Just like a cake, fires need certain ingredients to complete.  Remove just one of the ingredients, and it just doesn’t work.

The ingredients fires need are:  fuel, heat, oxygen, and an ignition source.

Fuel:  anything combustible, like paper, wood, dry grass, fabrics, etc.  Generally, anything that can burn easily.

Heat:  A fire needs the proper temperature range to not only start, but also to keep going once it has started.

Oxygen:  Like any living creature, fire needs the right air mixture to burn.

Ignition source:  Matches, lightning, a toaster, etc.  Anything to bring a fuel source close to its combustion point.

Once a fire has started, people fighting the fire have to control or eliminate one of the ingredients to stop the fire.  In church, an acolyte places a cup over a lit candle until the candle has used up all the available oxygen.  Crews fighting wildfires start a fire break; fires well ahead of the main fire, to rob the main fire of fuel.  Firefighters throw water on fires, to help lower the temperatures and possibly disperse some of the fuel.  Water also turns to steam, and it may disrupt the air mixture just enough to rob the fire.

There are other blogs on this site that deals with what type of fire extinguishers you need, as well as the different types of soot and residue left behind after a fire.

If you have suffered fire or smoke damage, call the experts at SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank. 708-430-3600.  We have the expertise to make it “Like it never even happened!”

Sump pump maintenance

4/25/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Sump pump maintenance Take a few minutes now to ensure your house is protected from storm damages.

Sump pumps are a fairly reliable piece of equipment, something you don’t often think about, until the time it doesn’t work properly.  Regular maintenance can help extend the life of your sump pump, plus give you piece of mind when the next storm event happens.

Sump pumps last an average of 10 years; some last longer and some don’t last that long, depending on how often and hard they have to work.  If your current sump pump is older than 10 years, perhaps you should seriously think about getting a replacement.

Here are a few things you should do at least once a year to ensure your sump pump works properly.

  • Check the wiring and the plug. If the wiring looks worn, or the plug has trouble staying plugged in, consider a replacement.
  • Check for debris in the sump pit. Occasionally, debris can get into the pit, causing the float mechanism to be blocked, and may create an unwanted issue later on.
  • Remove the sump pump from the pit and clean the bottom grate. During normal operation, strong suction from your sump may pull small stones up from the bottom and get wedged in the grate.
  • Make sure the pump is sitting upright. After checking for debris and the bottom grate, place the sump pump back in the pit, sitting as upright as possible.  You want to avoid the pump tipping when storm water starts to flow into the pit.
  • Add water to the pit to check for normal operation. Using a five gallon bucket, add water to see if your sump pump both starts when it should, and shut off when it should.  Any deviation from normal, think about replacing the pump.  If you have to shake the pipe to either get the pump started or stop, replace the pump.
  • Finally, check the outlet piping to make sure it is connecting properly, and not leaking anywhere.

If you have a backup sump pump, and/or back up power source, take a moment to check and make sure they are working properly as well.

If you suffer water damage from sump pump issues (sump pump not working or couldn’t keep up with extreme rain rates), call the water damage experts at SERVPRO of Bedford Park/Burbank at 708-430-3600.  We can extract the water, dry contents and structure, and check for possible mold.

Boiler malfunction creates moderate damage in local apartments

4/25/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial Boiler malfunction creates moderate damage in local apartments This laundry room was one of several that was hit by water damage.

A boiler malfunction in a local apartment complex caused moderate water damages to three units, plus the laundry room, three hallways, two stairwells, as well as the boiler room itself.  Even though this occurred on a weekend, SERVPRO of Bedford Park/Burbank was out there, extracting water, cutting some moldy walls (from a previous water damage that was not mitigated properly), and drying out flooring, structure, and contents.

SERVPRO of Bedford Park/Burbank is 24/7/365, and is aware that any commercial property (retail, industrial, sports complex, etc) must be mitigated as soon as possible to reduce down time and possible loss of revenue.  We can work as a separate unit,  or work along with your existing maintenance staff to get the job done as quickly and completely as possible.

No job is too small or too big.  SERVPRO of Bedford Park/Burbank is part of a network of local SERVPROs, all who can assist if the need arises.  So, if you suffer a loss in one room, or greater than 100 rooms, one call can do it all!

If you are a property manager, you'll want to load our number into your phone right away: 708-430-3600.  From then on, you'll be secure in the knowledge that if something does happen to your facility, experienced help is simply a phone call away.

Lightning facts and myths

4/23/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Lightning facts and myths Lightning can travel far outside of the storm.

An average lightning bolt has enough power to light a 100-watt bulb for more than 3 months straight.  It also has enough power to send Doc Brown and Marty McFly in a DeLorean from 1955 to 1985 (in the movie Back to the Future).

“Width of your thumb, hotter than the sun”.  The actual bolt of lightning is about the width of your thumb (or about the size of a nickel).  It looks larger because it’s shrouded in intense light.  The heat generated from a single bolt is about five times the temperature of the surface of the sun, >30,000 degrees.

Approx. 60 people are killed each year in the US from strikes.  Most of those killed and injured are participating in/attending sporting events.

There are approximately 1800 thunderstorms happening any minute of any day throughout the world, generating more than 1.4 billion lightning strikes per year.

OUTDOOR MYTHS:

Myth:  If I crouch, I avoid getting struck by lightning.  Although lightning does normally hit the tallest object in the area, it can jump to other objects, like from a tree to a fence.  If you are outside, you are still in danger of being struck.

Myth:  I am safe under a tall tree.  A tree may protect you from some rain, but it offers zero protection from a lightning strike.

Myth:  Lightning never strikes the same place twice.  Lightning bolts are nature’s way of trying to even out the electrons in an area, delivering positive charges to a negatively-charged object.  But, that doesn’t mean once a bolt hits it will not hit again.  Buildings, mountains, and other tall objects may be struck many times in a single year.

Myth:  It’s not raining, so I’m safe from lightning.  A bolt can travel many miles outside of a thunderstorm, so just because it’s not raining yet does not mean you are safe from being struck.

Myth:  If I remove metal (watch, jewelry, etc), I won’t get struck by lightning.  Lightning is NOT attracted to metal, so having no metal around you does not make you any safer.

Myth:  Rubber tires on a car protects you from lightning strikes.  A car is a safe place to go if you cannot get inside before a thunderstorm, but not because of the tires.  The metal body around you is the answer.  It gives the bolt an avenue towards the ground that protects you.  If you happened to be touching metal when a strike hits your car, you will be hit as well.  Also, rubber tires will not protect motorcycle riders either; they are just as susceptible to be hit as if they were standing outside.

Myth:  I saw a person get struck by lightning.  I cannot touch him for fear I will be electrocuted as well.  The human body cannot hold electrical charges, so a person struck is safe to touch.  Help them as quickly as you safely can.

INDOOR MYTHS:

Myth:  I am 100% safe inside a home.  Being inside a building is the safest place to be during a thunderstorm, but there are still ways you can get hit.  Being in a shower or bath is one; the bolt hitting your house can travel through the water pipes and find its way to you.  If you are on a corded phone or video game, the lightning can travel through the wiring and get to you.  And stay away from windows as well, as lightning going down siding may jump through a crack around the window and hit you.

Myth:  I have surge protectors on all my electronics, so they are safe.  Surge protectors are great for a minor sudden surge in electricity, but are no match for the power of a lightning bolt.  It’s best to unplug such devices before the storm comes into your area.

Spring storms = SERVPRO's busy season?

4/10/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Spring storms = SERVPRO's busy season? SERVPRO of Bedford Park/Burbank gets calls year round, not just in Spring.

It’s Springtime again, and here at SERVPRO we get asked all the time if Spring is our “busy” season.  While it’s true, the transition from Winter to Spring gives us many opportunities for helping people with disasters, there really isn’t a “busy” season nor a “slow” season.

When the calendar gets close to Spring, melting snow, or rain over frozen ground, threatens water damages in many homes and businesses.  But we can get water damage calls just about any month of the year.

  • When extreme cold weather hits the area (like a polar vortex), frozen and burst pipes could be the result.
  • Freezing and thawing weather, or ice storms, can cause ice damming issues, causing water to back up your roof, under shingles and then work its way into your home.
  • Repeated heavy rains can cause localized flooding in susceptible areas and could finds its way into your home.
  • Sudden, extreme downpours with huge rain rates can overwhelm sump pumps and cause minor flooding issues.
  • High winds may cause loose roof shingles to come off, thereby allowing precipitation to find a way inside.

On top of all that, there are many ways you can suffer non-storm related water damages, such as: bathtub or sink overflows, pipe leaks, water heater malfunctions, aquarium leaks, condensation issues, etc.

If you have suffered any type of water damages, call SERVPRO of Bedford Park/Burbank at 708-430-3600 right away to set up an inspection.