There are no days off in the restoration industry.  Water pipes rupture, storms down trees, and fires spark on holidays, workdays and weekends and do so at all times of the day and night.  Water losses, tree removal and tarping of roofs tend to be the most common types of Emergency Service calls.  Quick response to emergencies not only prevents further damage to the affected property, but it also provides the property owner comfort during the traumatic situation.  On August 31, 2016, PHC Restoration responded to a more unique EMS call which required quick planning to clean and deodorize a local business while keeping it open to the public during the restoration process.

The Call

An overnight cooking appliance malfunction caused an intense odor to penetrate a commercial building in Eastern North Carolina on August 29, 2016.  PHC Restoration was contacted the following day by a local insurance agent after the business owner unsuccessfully tried to clean and remove the odor with exhaust fans and cleaning agents.  PHC met with the agent and general manager onsite on August 31, and quickly noted a strong protein odor throughout the 13,000 square foot facility.  Hydroxyl generators and air scrubbers with charcoal pre-filters were placed in the building as the leaders formed an action plan to clean and deodorize the facility.

Challenges and Opportunities

The business wished to remain open as much as possible during the restoration process as they were heading into two of their busiest weekends of the summer—Labor Day weekend and an annual celebration on September 10th in which over 1000 tickets had already been sold.  This meant that the PHC crews would need to come in early and clean before business hours and remain discreet as they cleaned behind the scenes in the other areas.

A pop-up VIP luncheon was booked during the time that the kitchen and dining rooms were scheduled to be closed for cleaning.  This lead to an adjustment to the cleaning schedule and a heavy concentration of cleaning in the kitchen the one day it was closed so the event could be held.

The building itself also presented a challenge.  It was originally constructed as a pole barn decades before being remodeled into kitchen, dining and retail space.  Knotty pine walls; unsealed, rough sawed lumber with gaps and irregularities added to the authentic, rustic look, but made it difficult to wipe clean and allowed smoke and protein penetration.  Meticulous HEPA vacuuming was used to remove any loose particles.  Thermal fogging was then used to deodorize the spaces that could not be physically reached.  Eleven HVAC systems, thousands of bottles of wine and retail merchandise were also cleaned.


PHC Restoration completed cleaning and deodorizing the business in seven days with the use of 4 hydroxyl generators, 4 air scrubbers with charcoal pre-filters, thermal fogging odor encapsulants, and 485 cleaning man hours.  We were successful in keeping the gift shop and museum open during normal business hours and business interruption and loss of revenue was limited to the kitchen being closed to the public only one day.  Most importantly, we were able to finish the restoration project two days before the annual event.