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Commercial Fire Damage 101: What do I do if my small business has a fire?



    Damaging fires, unfortunately, happen every 24 seconds in the United States. While the number of fires and fire-related deaths has been trending down since the 1970s, they still continue to wreak havoc all across the country. 

    Office buildings are no exception to this reality.

     In fact, nearly 19,000 fires that occur in the United States annually happen within office spaces. These fires typically result in over 300 injuries and $852,387,668 in property damage. 

    Dealing with an emergency like this is extremely stressful and often unplanned for. Fortunately, ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is equipped to handle the aftermath of incidents like this in any kind of commercial or residential property. 

    What do I do if there’s a fire in my office?

    • Act immediately but stay calm. 
    • Alert everyone in the office and make sure to leave the property immediately. Use your emergency escape route if you have one, and consider developing one now for your employees if you don’t. 
    • When everyone is evacuating the building, make sure everyone stays low and crawls since smoke rises.
    • Do not stop to retrieve any valuables or work documents. 
    • If you can, close the door to the room the fire started in and close doors as you continue to exit the building. 
    • Before opening any closed doors on your way out, touch it with the back of your hand. If the door is warm, then there is likely fire behind it and you must find an alternative route to exit the building. 
    • Do not attempt to extinguish a fire unless you are trained to do so. 
    • Do not go back into the building. 
    • Call the fire department as soon as you safely have the opportunity to do so. If there is anyone remaining in the building, make sure to inform them of this. 

    What should I do after the fire department leaves?

    Once the fire is extinguished and the dust settles, call a restoration company immediately to address the damage. Only those who are equipped to handle the water, smoke and fire damage your office has suffered should be entering the building and handling the situation. 

    Why should I choose ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons? 

    We recognize that buildings in Chicago’s Gold Coast and Downtown have guidelines that set them apart from other properties in the city. Occasionally, there are more than one insurance policy involved. It takes an experienced and knowledgeable company like ours to know how to navigate these situations.

    We’ll work closely with the property manager, the facility manager and the various adjusters to make sure that the job is done right.  We understand that your office needs to be cared for and respected during this difficult time. We pride ourselves on limiting our interruption into your lives and day-to-day operations. When possible, we will work around your hours of operations so that the day-to-day routine of your office is not disrupted further. 

    What steps do we take to handle fire damage restoration? 

    ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides Structural Cleaning and Content Cleaning for Chicago & Suburban offices that have been affected by Smoke or Fire Damage. The following is a brief description of those services.

    Structural Cleaning Services

    1. Structural Cleaning involves the cleaning of the property itself. This covers soot sponging of walls & ceilings, including crown molding and baseboards.
    2. In some cases, using a soft detergent to clean walls & ceilings.
    3. Cleaning of floors, doors, and windows.
    4. Cleaning of all flat surfaces including countertops and windowsills.
    5. Cleaning of all ventilation and duct systems for HVAC.

    Content Cleaning Services

    1. Cleaning of all soft goods including garments, drapes, bedding, carpet & upholstery.
    2. Cleaning of all electronics, appliances
    3. Drying and restoration of documents
    4. Art Restoration
    5. Cleaning of bookshelves, shelving, furnishings and light fixtures

    What services do we provide?

    • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Home-owners
    • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Business-owners
    • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Places of Worship
    • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Educational Institutions
    • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Multi-Family Properties
    • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Medical Facilities 
    • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration for Manufacturing Facilities

    What equipment do we use?

    Air Scrubbers: Air scrubbers use High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration to remove these particles from the air, enhancing the efficiency for cleaning and clearing the air for safe breathing. Please do not move or turn off this equipment.

    Thermal Fogging: This process neutralizes odor, using a strong deodorizer that penetrates everywhere the smoke traveled and will require the removal of pets, plants and humans occupants for a short period of time.

    Ozone: Ozone is an oxidizing agent produced by a portable ozone generator. This process will require the removal of pets, plants and human occupants for a short period of time.

    OdorKlenz Technology: This environmentally friendly deodorizing process removes odors and particulates using OdorKlenz air cartridges in traditional air scrubbers. Safe for people, pets and plants.

    How much will it cost?

    The costs of restoration depend on the insurance provider you have. Fortunately though, as a QRV or Quality Restoration Vendor, ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is part of the elite group of national ServiceMaster franchises chosen to take part in the national contract agreements with most major insurance companies. Some of the insurance companies we work directly with include State Farm, Allstate, Liberty Mutual, Hanover, Chubb, Asco, Progressive, Travelers, USAA, Farmers, Nationwide, AIC, Zurich, American Family, and Erie, among others. That means that we prescribe to the strict guidelines and to the required estimating software administered by these insurance companies and provide a direct pipeline to your insurance company. It also means that you don’t have to be the middle person in the process. We work and communicate directly with your insurance provider to ensure your property is correctly restored after water damage, bringing your property back to its pre-loss conditions.

    ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is a MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore.  ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons provides disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning,Carpet Cleaning and Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers residing in Chicago, Oak Park-River Forest and the North Shore.  For more information, give us a call at 773-376-1110 or visit



    • Nasutsa Mabwa

      Nasutsa Mabwa is President of ServiceMaster by Simons, a MBE/WBE City of Chicago and State of Illinois certified firm. She is a 2020 Daily Herald Business Ledger C-Suite awardee, a member of Crain’s Chicago Business 40 under 40 and a 2018 ServiceMaster(c) Achiever Award recipient. She is a Civic Federation Board Member, an Advisory Board Member for as President Elect on the Executive Committee for the Evanston Chamber of Commerce. She is IICRC certified for WRT & FSRT.

      About ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons
      Restoration By Simons is an MBE/WBE certified firm and family-run company serving both Cook and Lake County, Illinois. Recently, the company was awarded a variety of honors, including the SB100 Best of Small Business Award Winner 2021, Bronze Stevie® Award in the Female Entrepreneur of the Year category in the 18th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business, recipient of the 2020 Better Business Bureau's Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and the recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. Restoration By Simons provides disaster restoration services including water and flood damage restoration, fire and smoke damage restoration, mold remediation, to residential and commercial customers in both Cook and Lake County IL.

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