Water, Fire, & Mold Restoration Blog


Jewish Camp Spared By Fire Required Extensive Restoration

cleaning fire damaged roofA team of more than 30 fire damage restoration experts moved into Camp Mountain Chai near San Diego this summer to clean up smoke damage and other ravages left behind by the Lake Fire. While the camp was spared from destruction, an exceptional effort was required to save the season and put things in order at the popular Jewish camp.

The camp’s staff was preparing for the first summer session when the wildfire threatened their safety. Staffers were evacuated so quickly that most left personal items behind to escape as rapidly as possible. With the location in the San Bernardino Mountains unusable and under threat, the first summer session was moved to Camp Scherman in Idylwild, owned by Girl Scouts of America.

As the fire swept past Camp Mountain Chai, smoke and soot damage left a stench in the air. Trees were down or damaged, and the soot’s acid nature threatened the camp’s facilities. A lot of work would have to be done before the camp could reopen. The smoky smell and soot-covered surfaces are both unpleasant and potentially dangerous for campers and staff.

Orange Restoration owner Yaron Lief, who grew up going to camp at the facility, stepped forward. He volunteered to have a look at the damage and see what could be done. Damage was extensive enough that an insurance claim was filed to cover most restoration costs.

Since quick action was needed, Lief move more 30 employees into the camp to live like campers and work in three shifts to efficiently and thoroughly decontaminate cabins and facilities before the second summer session was scheduled to begin.

yaron owner orange restoration“We immediately mobilized all available equipment, supplies and personnel to save camp Mountain Chai after the fire. It became like a Jewish mission to ensure the reopening of the camp in time for the next session so that we could make sure that the kids enjoyed the summer that was planned for them,” Lief said.

“For me it was a very special experience. Belonging to the community and going to this camp numerous times in my past made this an important Jewish mitzvah and mission that needed to be accomplished for Jewish kids and for the community as a whole,” he said.

The goal was to restore these isolated and remote buildings in a burned forest to pre-loss condition, meaning that there could be no smoke odor inside any buildings. That process started with removing all contents from the buildings. Then, the buildings were sealed with containment barriers. Gas machines were used to eliminate much of the odor, plus a great deal of hand work was required to decontaminate the kitchen, the dining hall, the infirmary and all the outdoor structures.

Working with camp director Zim Zimmerman, the team set priorities and worked through them, some concurrently, until both crucial and less crucial priorities were met.

In the end, the smoke damage restoration work was completed early — two days before the second session of campers were due to arrive.

Lief said he and his team were fortunate to be able to experience the magic of camp. Sleeping in bunk beds and eating in the camp kitchen helped strengthen and bond the already close-knit Orange Restoration team.

mt chai fire restoration plans

Once the work was done at this Jewish camp, Orange Restoration went on to handle restoration work at other nearby camps. The company handles all types of fire damage, water damage, mold remediation and similar restoration services around the San Diego area and beyond.

“Giving back to an organization that means so much to me was very meaningful,” Lief said. “And I don’t think anyone on my team will ever forget this unique experience either.”

By |September 22nd, 2015|Fire, News|0 Comments

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By |September 16th, 2015|News|0 Comments

Fire Damage Relief at Camp Mt. Chai (Jewish Journal Article)

fire damage restoration mt chaiIn mid-June, the devastating Lake Fire consumed more than 10,000 acres of land along Route 38. Among the many consequences of this massive fire was the evacuation of Camp Mountain Chai, a Jewish camp that was spared destruction but nonetheless suffered damage. With unsafe air in the area, debris everywhere and a lot of cleaning up to be done, professional fire damage restoration services were essential to getting the camp back in shape for campers.

As you can see in this article, Orange Restoration’s Yaron Leif was happy to volunteer to do the restoration work at this worthy Jewish camp, but it quickly became clear that the camp’s insurance could be relied upon to pay for complete fire damage restoration.

Over the course of more than two and a half weeks, Orange Restoration’s team lived in Camp Mountain Chai’s cabins and cooked in its kitchen. The 30 employees were essentially playing camp when they weren’t using their cranes, forklifts and power washers to restore the facilities to camper-ready conditions. Unique gases were also used to remove odors from all cabins and buildings.

Despite Fire Threat, Camp Mountain Chai Opens On Time

Work progressed in three shifts, as the article mentions, to complete the restoration effort in time. The camp’s director took on the effort of getting the pool ready for use and controlling erosion of the fire-damage land while Orange Restoration did the rest. Thanks to everyone’s efforts, the camp was ready for new campers a couple days early.

Camp Mountain Chai was able to open in second summer session on time, and the director is looking forward to hosting a Women’s Retreat in mid-October. See the article for additional details.

Orange Restoration’s team of fire damage restoration professionals are experts in working in whatever conditions and within whatever timeline the situation dictates — and the goal is always to get things back to normal so clients can get back to doing what they do best.

The Aforementioned Article in The Jewish Journal

jewish journal coverjewish journal article

San Diego Jewish Journal September 2015

By |September 6th, 2015|Fire, News|0 Comments

Wildfires Continue, And So Does Fire Damage Restoration

Wildfires continue to burn in California, still threatening homes and business in a few cases and always making residents within sight of the fires uneasy. While most residents not already impacted by the fire will likely be okay and not have to face the hardships and hassles of fire damage cleanup, the threat is far from over.

But fall-like conditions are settling into much of California, bringing relief for firefighters and at least a chance of rain and then eventually snow to complete the fire suppression process. Just as with fire damage cleanup, fire suppression is a methodical and often-lengthy process that works well when done according to established procedures.

Here’s an update on the California fire situation as of early September 2015:

The Cabin Fire In Golden Trout Wilderness

A wildfire started by lightning in the Golden Trout Wilderness area of Sequoia National Forest is mostly contained in an area located to the east of Maggie Mountain and involves about 7,000 acres. In this case, no homes or businesses are threatened. Still, crews look diligently for hotspots that could burn across established containment lines.

Many wilderness trails were reopen for the Labor Day weekend, but those in the active fire area remain closed. Continued fire suppression efforts are underway when they can be managed in a way that doesn’t cause further damage to the wilderness. Those planning to visit the Golden Trout Wilderness area anytime in the near future are urged to monitor news reports and call ahead before making the journey because the threat has not passed.

Officials remind those visiting that area that campfires are never allowed in the Sequoia National Forest or the Giant Sequoia National Monument. Gas stoves may be allowed with a permit.

The Fork Complex Fire Near Peanut

The Fork Complex Fire near Peanut is showing greatly reduced activity with efforts now focused on an area of the Chanchelulla Wilderness. Minimum-impact fire containment tactics have the fire almost entirely contained and most of the fire has been suppressed. But more than 67 miles of road were damaged, and only a bit more than 40 miles have been repaired.

Smoke is still visible because of unburned fuel pockets burning out, so patrol and mop-up operations continue. All evacuations and road closures have ended, but many areas of forest are still closed. Open roads may remain hazardous, however, so those returning to the area are urged to exercise caution.

The River Complex Fire

The massive River Complex Fire is about half contained and involves more than 71,000 acres. It burns in the Trinity Alps Wilderness in an area near Dailey Ranch, Hoboken and Denny. This is steep and rugged terrain with damage from previous wildfires. Fortunately, there are no structures currently being threatened by the active portion of the fire. The fire will likely continue to burn to some extent until winter snow puts it out or until the fire line reaches an area where safe fire fighting efforts can be effective.

Elsewhere in the same fire complex, repairs are being made to fire suppression lines and erosion prevention efforts are underway. Equipment is being removed from some areas and trash is being flagged for disposal.

The fire is thought to have started from lightning or other natural causes.

The South Complex Fire

Things are also looking up at the South Complex Fire near Hyampom. Fire crews are patrolling the fire and maintaining existing control lines as they work to repair the damage caused by extensive fire suppression efforts. With things now under control, a large amount of equipment and many unused supplies are being removed from the area. Of the more 124 miles of fire line, about 42 miles of it needs repair. About 38 miles are already being repaired or have been completely repaired.

The best news in the area is that fall-like conditions are settling in over the area with temperatures as much as 15 degrees below where they usually are. High temperatures were expected to be in the low 60s at the highest elevations to perhaps the lower 70s near the base camp of operations. Lower temperatures help firefighters work longer shifts and help make conditions less favorable for the spread of the fire in most cases.

We Can Help If You Were Impacted

It appears that this year’s wildfire season is winding down, but many have already been impacted. Others may still be. At Orange Restoration, we can help you if you’ve been impacted by wildfires or have fire damage from lightning, home accidents or any other cause.

The longer you wait to bring in a professional fire damage restoration company, the worse your problems will become. For the best chance at saving remaining possessions and the undamaged portions of your home’s structure, contact us as soon as possible. Acid in soot and the odor from smoke can quickly permeate your home or your business and cause additional damage.

But we’re here for you. At Orange Restoration, we have the people, the equipment and the expertise for your fire damage restoration project, no matter when you choose to call us. Because we have plenty of labor and the right experience to handle every kind of job correctly, we can do a better, quicker and more satisfactory job than you can do alone. Put your fire damage problems in our hands. It’s a smart decision that will serve you well — and help you get things back to normal as efficiently as possible.

For Immediate Assistance Call (619) 376-6838

orange restoration san diego team

By |September 5th, 2015|News|0 Comments

I Have Water Damage, What’s Next?

By |August 26th, 2015|News|0 Comments

Mold In Your Home Or Office Has Serious Health Effects But Can Be Eliminated

black mold on wallIf you have visible mold in your home or office, you have a serious problem. But you can call on professionals who can take action to solve the problem and improve your indoor air quality for months and even years to come.

Actually, most air has some mold spores in it. Those spores seem to be everywhere. But when they’re around in large quantities, they can be harmful to humans and pets, causing respiratory problems, allergic reactions and more.

Symptoms of mold exposure start mild and get worse, in many cases. They include:

– sinus problems like a runny nose as well as nasal congestion
– irritation of the eyes, including itchiness and redness
– breathing problems like wheezing or chest tightness
– coughing
– burning, tingling or itching of the throat
– rashes or other kinds of irritation of the skin
– pain in the head
– uncontrollable sneezing
– asthma
– and more.

Mold can be especially dangerous for infants, the elderly and people who have existing immune system problems. In general, the symptoms of mold exposure can vary from person to person and can grow rapidly worse. People with heart and lung problems may be susceptible to mold-related health problems even when others exposed to the same environment don’t develop problems.

Fortunately, mold remediation is possible to clean up mold infestation and improve indoor air quality. This process starts with removal of the source of the moisture that is allowing the mold to grow. Then, prevention of future mold growth is undertaken. Finally, existing mold must be cleaned up. You’ll find mold remediators that focus on all aspects of mold cleanup, including fabric restoration and restoration of the building’s structure.

Mold remediation is a process that can release more mold into the air if done incorrectly, so it makes sense to leave this process to professionals. The chemicals that cause human reactions to mold exist even after the mold has died, so cleaning it away is essential.

Mold remediation often involves the following things:

– evaluation to see what needs to be done and how cleanup can be accomplished safely
– HVAC cleaning to remove mold from ducts as well as heating and air equipment
– use of protective clothing, including respirators, to protect workers
– dry brushing or agitation to get mold off porous surfaces
– dry-ice blasting to get rid of mold on wood and cement
– wet vacuuming
– damp wiping
– HEPA-filtered vacuuming
– and more.

At Orange Restoration, we use proven techniques and our team’s experienced judgment to decide what San Diego mold remediation processes are best for you. You can be sure that when we handle your mold removal, your home or business will be safer, cleaner and ready for full use as quickly as possible.

Nothing means more to us at Orange Restoration than doing your mold removal job right. Why not contact us right away at (619) 376-6838 so we can get started for you? Working with us is a smart decision for your home or business — and your health — that you’ll never regret.

By |August 25th, 2015|Mold, News, Tricks and Tips|0 Comments

Will El Niño Year Force Flood Cleanup In Your Home?

The 2015 El Niño could be the worst ever, and the downpours expected might overwhelm Southern California’s vulnerable flood control system. That could mean flood cleanup at your home — and lots of others. Not since the El Niño weather event in 1997-98 that resulted in 17 deaths has there been an El Niño this large. Some are calling it a Godzilla-sized event.

The Los Angeles area is supposedly ready for the event thanks to dam improvements made in 2004 and 2005. But Pasadena’s Devil’s Gate Dam has a lot of debris from the Station fire, creating the possibility of flooding downstream from it.

And that isn’t the only problem. Cities all along the coast of California are vulnerable to flooding. In some cases, widespread flooding is possible. In others, flooding might be localized. But if it’s your home hit by a flood, the flood cleanup isn’t made any easier by knowing how many of your neighbors are also impacted.

A Record-Breaking El Niño Event

Ocean temperatures are now higher than they were in the summer before the huge 1997-1998 El Niño weather event that led to storms severely impacting much of California that winter. The event is called an El Niño because the temperatures in question exist in a Pacific Ocean region called Niño 3.4.

Sediment removal projects are planned for dams at Pacoima, Tujunga and at three locations in the San Gabriel Mountains. All have significant sediment buildup, and removing it would allow more room for runoff and reduce the chance of flooding.

Work on The Devil’s Gate is stalled because critics claim the operation will negatively impact wildlife habitats in the basin, mess up recreational opportunities and create too much truck traffic for local residents. These opponents want a small sediment removal operation.

Officials across the state are looking into other things that can be done to prevent flooding and the expensive disaster response for homeowners and businesses that may be an inevitable consequence of the El Niño event. In some areas, officials are asking for a complete investigation into the preparedness of flood control facilities like Devil’s Gate and others.

Vulnerabilities Are Proven

Previous storms have already shown that flood control in California is vulnerable. The dam at Devil’s Gate was built in 1920 following massive flooding and a huge flood cleanup effort earlier in the century, including the 1914 flood that sent a dozen or more homes and two markets down the river.

More recently, a 2010 heavy rainfall came a year after the Station fire and sent a mudslide into a staggering 40 or more homes. Debris from the mountain wedged a boulder weighing more than 10 tons into an important catch basin causing additional flooding.

As ocean temperatures in the critical region west of Peru rise to the highest levels of the year, benchmark location temperatures are up 3.4 degrees over last year. That’s higher than in 1997 when the massive El Niño resulted. Trade winds that cool waters west of Peru are also weakening. Experts say those trade winds would have to remain weak for a huge El Niño rivaling the previous record storm to result.

While a massive El Niño event could wash away several years of drought, many homeowners and business owners are left wondering if its worth it because of the risk of flooding and the hassles and expense of flood cleanup.

If you need flood cleanup in your home because of El Niño event or for any other reason, contact us at Orange Restoration at (619) 376-6838 for results that will ensure everything is put back to normal quickly and accurately.

By |August 20th, 2015|Flood, News, Water Damage|0 Comments

Water Damage Prevention Course Offered Free To Property Managers

water damage in apartmentOrange Restoration San Diego not only looks to promote its’ own services, but to also work in symbiosis with the community. To that effect, we are offering a course free of charge to San Diego property managers on January 4th, 2016 from 9am-11am, so they might prevent costly water damage to their properties.

The course will not necessarily explain all the different processes that anyone who suffers water damage will have to go through in order to repair their property to bring it back to the standard that it was before. Instead, we would aid your efforts in making sure that water damage never happens in the first place. They say that forewarned is forearmed, and that is never more true when it comes to small disasters that can occur to a property. Water damage in particular can be very costly, as not only do the inhabitants often have to move out of the property whilst the damage is assessed and mended, but property / possessions are usually destroyed as well.

That is why we wish to encourage as many local San Diego property managers as possible to attend our free water damage prevention course… The better equipped you are to prevent water damage, the safer the property that you manage will be – and the more you will save yourself and/or your employer in the long run.

We will also be supporting the Red Cross Disaster Relief fund, who do outstanding work across the world for those who have lost their homes due to water damage and other related disasters. The course is completely free of charge to attend, and is being promoted for the benefit of the Red Cross Disaster Relief fund. This excellent charity spends all of its time and resources supporting those that, despite every best plan in the world, simply can no longer cope with the devastating effects of, amongst other things, water damage. We will be accepting donations on their behalf  the day of (or donate here now), and we ask that our attendees to the free water damage prevention course give generously.



January 4th 2015, 9:00am-11:00am



Orange Restoration San Diego

8250 Vickers St Suite C, San Diego, CA 92111

By |August 19th, 2015|News|0 Comments

Proper Mold Remediation Involves Specific Equipment And Procedures

mold removal siteSo how does mold remediation work? It’s a complicated process that involves many steps. Those steps are customized to every job, so there’s no firm answer to exactly how mold removal is done. But here is some general information about how the process can be accomplished.

First, it is imperative to remove the source of moisture that is allowing the mold to grow. New mold can begin to grow on a moist and porous surface within as little as a day or two. But it can be prevented by stopping the source of water or moisture. Once this is accomplished, additional actions can be taken.

The safest and most effective way to clean up mold is to physically remove it with a detergent solution. There are commercially available products for this purpose. To be effective, the product used by you or your professional mold remediators needs to contain an antifungal agent approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

When mold growth is widespread and in significant quantity, the best bet is to have experts do the job for you. When you try to tackle it yourself, you may not get it all and may end up spreading spores into the air. In extreme cases where mold grows throughout a building, the most cost-effective way to get rid of the problem may be to condemn the building and start all over.

But that probably won’t be necessary at your home or office. Instead, professional mold removal specialists can take actions that involves some or all of the following:

Throwing away items that can’t be saved. When an item is thoroughly contaminated, the best idea may be throw it away. There’s simple no better way to get this mold source out of the way.

Cleaning items that can be saved. There’s a process for cleaning almost any kind of material. For example, some mold remediators specialize in fabric renewal.

HVAC system cleaning. Mold spores in heating and air conditioning ductwork can spread the infestation throughout a building. While mold occurs in low concentration in most air, it’s important to remove as much as possible from your home or building’s ducts for the best possible indoor air quality.

Dry agitation. Simply brushing or sanding, dry agitation is used to get rid of microbial growth on solid surfaces that are porous, like wood.

Dry-ice blasting. Used primarily for concrete and wood, dry-ice blasting can release mold into the surrounding air so it is most often used outside and not always the best choice when mold containment is required.

Wet vacuuming. Approved by the EPA, this is simply a way of sucking up wet material and containing it before disposing of it properly.

Of course, dry vacuuming and simply wiping a surface down is also among the tools of mold remeditators.

If it’s time to tackle the mold problem at your home or office, call Orange Restoration. With a team of professionals and the very latest equipment, we can put and end to your mold problems and also handle water damage restoration and many other things for you. What can we do for you? Call (619) 376-6838

By |August 18th, 2015|Mold, News, Tricks and Tips|0 Comments

Remove Small Mold Patches With Simple Solutions

mold damage areaIf mold is present in only one small location in your home and doesn’t involve any porous materials, you may be able to remove it yourself using one of several home remedies and natural solutions. But use caution: you can subject yourself to additional mold exposure and cause mold to go airborne in your home if you do the mold remediation incorrectly.

Plus, you need to be absolutely certain that the small patch of mold you know about is actually the only one present. Otherwise, you could be killing and removing an obvious bit of mold while allowing a larger and unseen growth of mold go unchecked.

If you’re sure you want to tackle your project yourself, consider one of these cleaners:

Bleach. While mold remediators will often tell you that bleach only decolorizes mold rather than killing it, it may be all you need for small areas of mold. It works great on non-porous materials like bathtubs, tile, countertops and glass but does not penetrate well. It isn’t a good choice for drywall or wood. Since bleach produces harsh fumes, make sure the area in which it will be used is ventilated well. Wear gloves too. A cup of bleach per gallon of water should be more than enough, then spray or sponge on and wipe away. There’s no need to rinse since bleach inhibits future growth. Remember, it will decolor fabric and some other materials too.

Borax. A natural product that isn’t even toxic if swallowed, there’s no toxic smell or fumes when you get rid of mold with borax. This simple white powder — actually a naturally occurring mineral — is similar in many ways to baking soda but cleans better. Create a solution using a cup of borax in a gallon of water. Vacuum away lose mold first with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter and then scrub the mold away. Wipe away any powdery liquid that remains and vacuum again if necessary. There’s no need to rinse unless a white residue is left behind.

Vinegar. Also generally non-toxic, vinegar kills most — but not all — kinds of mold. But it’s safe, non-toxic and the smell isn’t harmful like the bleach smell is. Plus, vinegar is cheap and available in all supermarkets. Spray it on full strength, let it sit an hour and then clean the area. The remaining vinegar smell will go away within a few hours.

There are other cleaners that can be used for small patches of mold remediation too. These include:

  • ammonia, a harsh chemical with toxic fumes that works on non-porous surfaces
  • hydrogen peroxide, a safe compound that kills bacteria, fungus and more
  • baking soda
  • tea tree oil
  • grapefruit seed oil

You can even remove small amounts of mold with mild detergent and water. But how can you be sure you’re getting it all with any of these methods? For the very best results, contact Orange Restoration at (619) 376-6838 for professional mold remediation by experts who make sure they complete the job.

By |August 11th, 2015|Mold, News, Tricks and Tips|0 Comments