This will depend on the scope of damage, layout of your home, and your comfort level. This is a discussion that you should have with your restoration contractor and your insurance company. Some things to consider:
This obviously depends on the size and scope of your loss, but it can range from 10 – 20 days for small kitchen fires to 4-6 months for larger events. We ask for your patience at the beginning of the process while the loss is evaluated by various interested parties. Quite often, fire scenes are locked down by local authorities until they have completed their investigation and documentation. Your insurance company will also want to see the damage first-hand, and sometimes they have their own separate investigation to determine causation and review your policy to determine coverage. Finally, it is often required for our initial estimates to be reviewed and approved by your insurance company prior to work commencing (although we will push to get initial steps approved ASAP). Once we get the green light we will go over our work plan with you and provide you with target dates for each major step in the restoration.
Yes, we can. Bella Restoration is open 24/7/365 and has trained board up crews to make sure that your home or business is secure after the fire has been put out.
While building materials that may have been directly affected by the fire can sometimes be easily identified, in most losses it is the smoke and soot cleanup that represents the lion’s share of the cleaning and restoration effort. Fire safety and building code officials have expended significant resources over many decades in an effort to better understand how smoke and soot can affect residential and commercial properties. Controlled experiments show just how quickly smoke can spread through all the crevices and tiny openings in your home. Within seconds, smoke and soot coat the walls, ceilings, cabinets, light fixtures, and windows. Within minutes, heavy layers of soot coat all flat surfaces, and thick smoke makes its way inside outlets, switches, wall cavities, and penetrates electronics and appliances, coating delicate circuitboards. Even if the fire is put out rather quickly, smoke can penetrate to other floors of your home and absorb into soft goods such as clothing, carpeting, bedding, and window coverings. Even small fires can cause major damage to your personal belongings and your home and leave lingering odors if not cleaned up properly.
For best results, do not try any self-cleaning without first consulting an expert. It is important to pretest residues, use the right cleaning agent for the particular item, mix deodorizing agents with appropriate cleaning solutions, and use proper dilution rates to achieve best results. Some chemicals need to be applied with special equipment. At Bella Restoration we have a full array of industry specific cleaning products to give you the best chance for complete restoration of your property and your belongings.
No, in fact the source of the fire and the fuel (the items that burn during the fire) must be considered in order to put a proper restoration protocol in place . Each home or business may contain different materials that burn and create their own cleaning and restoration challenges. Listed below are the four main categories of fire and smoke damage:
Water damage resulting from a fire is very common, and we will employ all of our expertise in water restoration and structural drying into our work plan for your fire loss. It is our job to ensure that you don’t have water damage or mold issues when all is said and done.
Mold contamination is a big concern with unplanned water intrusions, and is one of the reasons that your insurance policy contains language that points out that it is the responsibility of you, the property owner, to take immediate action to prevent further damage once the water intrusion is noticed. Hiring Bella Restoration is a great first step. We have spent significant resources on continuing education and certifications for our team on mold and other microbial contaminants. Typically, mold requires 48-72 hours after a clean water loss to start to grow in the right environment . . . but once our drying process has started we make it very difficult for microbial growth to thrive. Ultimately, it is our responsibility to make sure your property is safe from mold and bacteria related to the water loss you have hired us to remedy. There may be times that we notice mold contamination before we start work (called a pre-existing condition), which we will point out to you and discuss options for proper remediation.
The equipment we use is capable of running for days without being turned off (it will not overheat), and unless we advise you otherwise, it is best to leave it on and running at all times until the job is completed. Our service technician will check on the equipment and job progress each day, moving and adjusting equipment as needed. If you hear or smell anything which seems to not be abnormal, please unplug the equipment in question and call us immediately at (303) 554-8883. If equipment is running in a room that you need to use (to have dinner, watch a movie, or even to sleep), let us know and we can make accommodations, but also keep in mind the more the equipment is turned off, the more days it may need to be in place.
We use sophisticated digital moisture meters designed to specifically check for proper moisture content in various types of building materials. Some materials will take on more water than others, and some materials can be more challenging to dry. Feel free to ask our service technicians daily to show you the progress we are making in the drying process. We are accustomed to teaching interested customers about our process if it helps reduce anxiety about tricky areas or how long the process will take.
Typical drying times for residential water losses range from 3 to 5 days. If materials have been exposed to water over a long period of time it may take longer. Re-construction activities will follow but are usually deemed “less urgent” so we typically seek approvals from you and your insurance company before proceeding.
For sewage losses or other contaminated water losses, the odor may be severe at the start of the project. Even for “clean” water losses, if the water has been allowed to sit for hours before we begin mitigation, there can be an odor (this is usually not mold but bacteria, similar to the kitchen towel you may leave out too long . . . ) We have numerous techniques for odor control, including chemical applications and specialty ozone and hydroxyl equipment that processes and cleanses air of contaminants. Each of these techniques take time, and by the end of the project there should be little/no trace of unpleasant odors.
Not likely. According to the Center for Disease Control: "There are very few reports that toxigenic molds found inside homes can cause unique or rare health conditions ...". The term "toxic" tends to refer to the mycotoxins that certain molds emit when they find an ideal place to grow... these mycotoxins are mostly a form of microbial warfare meant to try to kill other molds or other microbial growth from setting up shop right next to them. So, yes, they emit these toxins, but they are normally only “toxic” to other micro-organisms, not necessarily to humans. However, that doesn’t mean mold issues in your home are OK – see next question.
Yes, it can. Prolonged exposure (or one significant exposure) to mold can cause allergic reactions, asthma, respiratory issues, and sinus infections. However, it affects each of us differently. Mold is particularly hard on those with compromised or weakened immune systems or respiratory disease. Think of young children who still have developing immune systems, or elderly people whose immune systems have been diminished. Think of people in your home who may have respiratory illness. Those are the people who will normally notice symptoms first. In addition, many of the symptoms associated with mold exposure are very similar to cold and flu symptoms, so most family doctors quickly dismiss health problems associated with mold and treat the patient with chicken noodle soup or antibiotics. It is important to share any information you may have on mold exposures with your family doctor.
"Black mold" is little more than a media term, most often associated with the strain stachybotrus. Molds capable of producing toxins and allergens occur in many different species, each of which can grow in a variety of colors. It is true, however, that some of the most harmful mold species (including stachybotrus) require a substantial amount of moisture to flourish. For this reason, we don't typically find stachybotrus in cases where mold has started to grow from high-humidity or neglect. If there is stachybotrus in your house, it is a key indicator that there is some sort of engineering problem in your home: a significant water leak, roof leak, etc. Stachybotrus and other of the more harmful mold strains are not the end of the world, however. They can be removed and cleaned up if handled properly.
In our experience, if dealt with properly, buyers are relatively comfortable purchasing a home with a prior mold problem, as long as proper remediation protocol was followed and proper documentation made available. There is a lot of mis-information out there on mold. Opening up a search engine and typing "mold contamination" will open up a wide variety of end-of-the-world scenarios to the reader. We tell people, it's mold, not spent plutonium! Mold is a serious concern, but it is also manageable. If removed and cleaned to industry best practices, mold can be removed for good from any property. Don’t let your real estate transaction falter at the eleventh hour due to emotional reactions to bad information – call us and schedule a real estate mold inspection, and we will meet with all interested parties to talk through a remediation plan that everyone is comfortable with.