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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Plunging Winter Temperatures in Lakeland Increase Risk of Space Heater Fire Damage

1/10/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Plunging Winter Temperatures in Lakeland Increase Risk of Space Heater Fire Damage Space heaters increase the risk of fire damage in a home when they are misused or malfunction.

You Can Rely on SERVPRO if You Experience Fire Damage This Winter

Residents in the Lakeland area and all of South Florida have struggled recently as temperatures have dropped and homes become chilly. The decisions made to heat a home during one of these unseasonably cold fronts can have dire consequences if a fire sparks. We stand ready to help if smoke, charring, and soot damage your home.

As the temperatures drop, many Lakeland residents plug in a space heater. Fire damage from the misuse or malfunction of one of these portable electric heat sources is common, causing more than 25,000 fires, 6,000 injuries, and close to 400 deaths per year. (Statistics provided by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.) The damage done to structures and contents is usually remediable by our IICRC crews, but avoiding the fire in the first place is naturally preferable.

Space heaters are often used in bedrooms and areas where children play. The housing of the heater heats up and easily ignites flammable materials such as clothing, bedding, toys, carpeting, and window coverings if they are positioned too near the unit. Another mistake SERVPRO crews note that homeowners make is to use extension cords to place the heaters where needed. The amperage drawn by a space heater create a fire hazard by overheating the burning out the wiring unless the cord is plugged directly into a 120 volt grounded outlet. Extension cords also increase the possibility of the heater tipping over if a person or pet trips on the cord.

A space heater fire can smolder when the appliance operates while residents are in other rooms or leave for a time. Dark, oily smoke and sticky soot generate from such a fire, spreading throughout the property. SERVPRO teams use spray and wipe techniques, abrasive products, and tools, or solvent-based strategies to clean surfaces subject to this kind of fire damage. The HVAC system that was inadequate for heating may now need cleaning by our crews as the thick smoke and soot migrate into the ductwork, settling in to cause persistent soot damage every time its switch flips.

Deodorization is essential after remediation of a space heater fire. The acrid “burned cord” smell lingers. SERVPRO odor elimination experts use a series of steps to remove the odor. If disposing of burned materials and thorough cleaning is inadequate, we add thermal fogging or hydroxyl generation to seek out odor particles and neutralize them. Sealing porous surfaces may also be a tactic to use to rid your home of the last odors.

SERVPRO of Bartow / Lakeland Highlands is poised to help victims of a space heater or other electrical fire. Contact us at (863) 510-5962 to schedule an assessment and start planning for speedy remediation.

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