After a Fire, the Danger Isn't Over
There’s been a fire at your home or business. Once the firemen leave, your first inclination may be to go inside the structure to see what’s salvageable and start the cleaning process. But cleaning up after a fire is much more complicated than regular cleaning. It’s also very dangerous. Because once the last flame has been snuffed out, the dangers from a fire linger.
Since fire destroys all materials, the soot that covers everything you touch and that you kick up in the air is full of toxic substances. That’s why the highly trained professionals at SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties wear heavy duty personal protection equipment (PPE) on fire mitigation jobs until all the soot is removed. Here are some of the poisons found in the soot and ashes of a building fire:
- Mesothelioma (cancer) causing asbestos fibers from building materials
- Carbon materials can produce carbon monoxide, ammonia, and nitrogen oxides
- PVC can create hydrogen chloride, phosgene (used as a chemical weapon during World War I), dioxin, Refrigerant-40, bromomethane (a pesticide), etc.
- Hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide (poisonous gasses)
- Petroleum based items can produce formaldehyde, acrolein, furfural, cresols, and other harmful chemicals
- Even wood smoke releases more than 100 chemicals also found in cigarette smoke
Removing the Odors
One of the main aftereffects of a fire are odors. These can be difficult to remove without professional know-how and equipment. For instance, did you know that four factors (The Four S’s) can impact the strength of fire odors? Those are:
- Size - The bigger the fire, the more objects have burned, and thus there’s been more smoke.
- Span -The longer a structure has been exposed to smoke, the more deeply odor has seeped into porous materials.
- Space - When a fire occurs in a smaller room, the smoke odor becomes more intense and concentrated.
- Stuff - Not all odors are equal. For instance, burning wood, plastic and protein, all emit different smells with varied consistency.
SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties has the knowledge and equipment to eliminate the diverse and pungent odors that occur after a fire. Besides the easily accessible areas, we also examine wall cavities, duct work, crawl spaces and plumbing chases to establish whether they also suffered any smoke or fire damage. We’ll ensure that they’re cleaned, repaired and that all traces of odor are removed.
So as tempting as it may be to rush back into your fire damaged home or business once the fire is out, play it safe and call SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties so that we can safely make it “Like it never even happened.”