November 01, 2007 14:42 ET

Norwood's Fire Restoration Services, in Business 40 Years, Mops Up After Fires, Floods -- and the Occasional Corpse -- Using Latest Technologies

NORWOOD, MA--(Marketwire - November 1, 2007) - A customer calls his agent in a panic: His basement is full of sewage. Or a fire has left everything in his house stinking of smoke. There's mold growth that looks like a '50s horror movie. Or a wall has been soaked by a leak from an ice dam on the roof.

Today, more customers ask their agent to direct them to a service provider that can do the job fast and right -- and is on their insurer's approved list.

For almost 40 years, Fire Restoration Services of New England (FRSNE), in Norwood, has answered the call. The nastier the job is, the better FRSNE president Jim Barrett likes it.

FRSNE starts working fast. The customer gets his home or business back in order and stops worrying, the agent is happy, and the insurance company has effectively outsourced most of the claim. And it's all done promptly, before a public adjuster can come along.

"Referring clients to a professional restoration firm, like FRSNE, that responds immediately and professionally to their needs helps them immensely when their lives are in turmoil. This really creates goodwill and helps us keep customers forever," says Scott Bulger, president of Northeast Insurance Agency, Inc., in Auburn, Mass.

"Jim Barrett gets it done, and so does Fire Restoration Services. It's as simple as that," says Framingham, Mass., agent Jerry Kennedy, owner of Charles River Insurance, who has recommended FRSNE for a decade.

Barrett, who's been in the business since the beginning (he holds Certified Restorer license #002), says that quality in the restoration industry has improved. Years ago, many people with just a van, buckets and sponges were passing themselves off as restorers. That's less common today, but some outfits still do poor work. "They haven't bothered to get the necessary education," Barrett says. And then the rosy scenario painted above can turn ugly fast.

Mold prevention is a hot topic.

"Insurers now realize that mold prevention is a lot less expensive than remediation," Barrett says. "They want us to get involved at the earliest stages."

FRSNE can dry out basements, carpets, floorboards and wallboards before mold grows, saving insurers money and homeowners heartache and potential health problems.

But sometimes mold's been growing for years. Then, FRSNE specialists may need to sand timbers while using a vacuum with a HEPA filter that captures mold spores. The firm works with independent certified industrial hygienists who monitor its work and take air samples.

For more routine odor removal, its restorers use ozone (O3), an active form of oxygen that safely deodorizes surfaces and kills bacteria. A skilled restorer turns on the ionization machine and brings the ozone in the room up to the appropriate level. Like magic, the odor disappears -- completely and permanently.

Because soiled upholstery and fixed draperies can't be brought to a dry cleaner, restorers bring dry cleaning to the site. The restorer injects dry-cleaning chemicals and extracts them with a special vacuum tool. For fabrics that can't be dry-cleaned, a water-and-detergent solution is used.

Ultrasonic cleaning works for items that can be immersed, particularly hard-to-clean items like jewelry, figurines, hummels, crystal and mini-blinds. The items are placed in a tank and the ultrasonics machine turned on. The ultrasonics causes tiny bubbles to explode on the surface and carry away the grime.

Freeze-drying is used for restoring wet books, documents and valuable papers. Placing such items on racks in a freeze-dry chamber promptly dries them before mildew can set in and ruin them.

Restorers can clean building exteriors and interiors using machines that blast cleaning materials such as baking soda, sponge particles, ice crystals or a mixture of water and chemicals.

FRSNE restores both building interiors and exteriors, and contents including furniture, rugs, clothing, books, computers and consumer electronics. It has worked on commercial jobs such as the post-fire restoration of the John F. Kennedy birthplace in Brookline, Mass., plus universities, schools, hotels and retailers and commercial contractors.

Its sister company, Carpet Concepts, is expert in the inspection, appraisal, restoration and repair of wall-to-wall carpet and rugs of all types. When a carpet or rug can't be repaired, it offers replacements at discounted insurance rates.

FRSNE is a member of the National Institute of Disaster Restoration (NIDR), New England Institute of Restoration and Cleaning (NEIRC), and the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC).

Worst Messes of All Time

A three-month old corpse was the most malodorous thing Barrett ever encountered. The man lived in a big house in Wellesley, Mass., where he survived on a diet of vodka and eggs, Barrett recalls. The landscaping service kept the grounds tidy and no one noticed anything amiss until a mailman got a whiff through the letter slot.

A scallop attack was the only stench that ever defeated FRSNE. A fired scallop-boat crewman got even by dumping a bushel of scallop guts into the owner's pickup truck and letting them marinate in the summer sun. "He knew what he was doing," Barrett recalls. "We just couldn't get rid of the smell completely."

More information about FRSNE and Carpet Concepts, including emergency tips, is available at or by calling 800-649-5080 or 781-769-5080. Service is available 24/7.

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