SERVPRO Press Release

SERVPRO® Disaster Recovery Teams Activated to Assist After East Tennessee Wildfires

A few simple steps could help minimize secondary soot and smoke damages

Gallatin, TN: December 5,2016 – For the first time in over a week, many home and business owners are returning to their property to assess the damage left behind by wildfires that ripped through the Gatlinburg area. SERVPRO® has activated its Disaster Recovery Team to assist with the cleanup of smoke and soot damage within the affected areas. Though personal safety is always the primary concern in these situations, the first several days after the fire is controlled are critical to preventing secondary damages from smoke and soot. Once the local authorities say it is safe to return to your home and/or business, SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Team would like to offer the following steps to help minimize additional harmful effects.


  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
  • Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
  • Brush vacuum loose soot particles from upholstery, drapes and carpet.
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator completely and prop doors open.
  • Clean and protect chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim and appliances with light coating of Vaseline or oil.
  • Wash house plants on both sides of leaves.
  • Change HVAC filter.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.


  • Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional.
  • Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances, TV sets, radios, etc. that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.
  • Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water. They may have been contaminated.
  • Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
  • Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.

“This has been an extremely difficult week with many people experiencing great loss,” said Don Turner, SERVPRO® Disaster Recovery Team Director. “SERVPRO activated our Disaster Recovery Teams to bring in crews from across the country to help residents of this area begin recovering from this tragic event. For the residents who did not suffer total losses, these steps can help minimize secondary damage until the professionals arrive and may go a long way toward salvaging some of their property.” Turner also reminded homeowners not to enter their home until authorities tell them it is safe to return. 

Even if your property didn’t suffer fire damage, there may be soot particles and residues left to clean up. If cleaned improperly, the odor and effects can linger long after the fire has been extinguished. From the structure itself to the contents inside, your local SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals use the latest technology and training to leave your property smelling fresh and clean. 

With more than 1,700 Franchises nationwide, SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals are on call 24-hours a day, seven days a week for emergency response. A leader in fire, water and mold cleanup and restoration, SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Team has responded to numerous large loss and storm events, including: 2016 Hurricane Matthew, 2016 Louisiana Flooding, 2016 Houston Flooding, 2015 Siberian Express, 2014 Mid-Atlantic Flooding, 2014 Polar Vortex, 2013 Colorado Floods, 2013 Alberta, Canada Floods 2013 California Wildfires, 2012 Hurricane Sandy, 2012 Hurricane Isaac, 2011 Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, 2011 North Dakota Floods, 2010 Tennessee Floods, 2010 New England Floods, 2009 California Wildfires and 2008 Hurricane Ike.



Founded in 1967, the SERVPRO® Franchise System is a leader and provider of fire and water cleanup and restoration services, and mold mitigation and remediation. SERVPRO's professional services network of more than 1,700 individually owned and operated Franchises responds to property damage emergencies ranging from small individual disasters to multi-million dollar large-loss events. Providing coverage in the United States and Canada, the SERVPRO® System has established relationships with major insurance companies and commercial clients, as well as individual homeowners.