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Fire damage goes beyond material loss in Woonsocket, RI

11/4/2015 (Permalink)

A fire at a 36-unit apartment complex in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

fire at a 36-unit apartment complex in Woonsocket, Rhode Island last month is a stunning example of the kind of disaster that you know can happen but hope never does. While loss of life is certainly the worst loss that can ever occur in a tragedy such as this, loss of personal belongings and the home you have come to call your own, is the second worst thing that can happen. We feel blessed to say that no one was seriously injured in this blaze.

Typically, when my crew arrives on the scene of a fire damage, they often deal with much more than just the loss caused by the flames, themselves. There is also soot and smoke damage as well as damage caused by the water that was poured on the flames. The loss can and often is extensive. Oftentimes, my crew is not only assessing the extent of the loss and evaluating what needs to be done to make it “Like it never even happened” they are reassuring the homeowners or tenants, offering emotional support and comfort to those affected by the catastrophe. It’s one of those skills that is innate, that cannot be taught in a training class and I’m fortunate that it seems to come natural to the members of my team. I feel lucky to have employees with this type of characteristic working for me.

In the recent Woonsocket fire damage, the structural damage was extensive. The fire started because an outdoor electrical source malfunctioned. As you would expect, the 12 units directly affected by the flames incurred the greatest amount of damage and were determined to be a total loss….condemned.

As the fire moved through the building, firefighters sprayed down the next 12 units with water to prevent the fire from traveling into them. While these units were not burned, they did incur extensive soot and water damage. In these units, my team came in—removed the sheet rock, insulation, the trim and flooring, drying everything out—preparing the structure to be repaired at a later date.

Though the last 12 units were unaffected by the flames or water, they still incurred soot damage. When firefighters enter a building one of the first things that they do is to knock down doors to ensure nobody is in the unit. With no doors on the apartments, the smell of the smoke and accompanying soot from the fire travels inside, imbedding itself into everything from the furniture to the carpets to clothes hanging in closets. Removing the soot and the smoky smell requires professional cleaning beyond a dry cleaner. Hint: Renter's Insurance is relatively inexpensive and covers the damage done to the tenant’s personal property. 

Most people do what they can to prevent a tragedy like a fire from happening. We take precautions but even with the best preventative measures, these disasters do happen. And when they do, companies like SERVPRO of Upper Cape Cod & The Islands can step in and restore things back to the way they were.

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