Fires are one of the most destructive forces that can be brought to bear on a home, able to wipe out property, possessions, and even lives in a matter of minutes. Fires are almost always unexpected, which makes dealing with them that much more difficult, and a lot of damage can be inflicted before extinguishing methods can be brought to bear. Fire destroys possessions, scorches walls and ceilings, and weakens the structural support of the home or business. Smoke may damage rooms that were unaffected by the actual fire, and soot can clog up air conditioning filters.
What’s worse, the process of fighting a fire can have its own problems. Since fire is usually put out through the use of water or foam, these elements mix with ash and soot to create a considerable mess that will have to be cleaned up. Smoldering leftovers from the initial blaze may also produce toxic fumes that may be harmful if inhaled.
If not properly shut off, utilities may also make an already unstable situation even worse, since gas and electricity may both spark a re-ignition of the fire, causing additional damage and risk of injury.
Much like water damage, fire damage requires an immediate and thorough response, with cleanup beginning as soon as possible to prevent permanent damage or subsequent problems such as discoloration from soot residue.
Always practice safety first, using a dust mask to protect yourself from smoke and soot, and wearing protective clothing when working in a fire damaged area. Make sure to verify structural stability before entering a fire damaged building, since fire can easily weaken structural supports, making the building prone to collapse. Shut off all utilities at their source in order to avoid the potential for unexpected ignition.
Properly ventilate the home, opening all windows and doors and using fans in the windows to draw out smoky air, soot, and dust. When cleaning, do so from top to bottom, starting with ceilings, walls, and fixtures, and then working down through the furniture and room contents, and finally the flooring.
Use a vacuum on floors and upholstery, using a unit with a high efficiency filter. Failure to do so may only blow soot back into the air. Draperies, clothing, and other machine washable items may be successfully laundered, using a mild alkaline cleanser to neutralize the acid found in the soot.
Most of the exterior walls can be cleaned by spraying a detergent, agitating the soot with a brush, and then pressure washing from bottom to top, and then rinsing top to bottom. Of course if the damage is heavy, which it almost always is, it is preferable to hire a professional fire restoration company like 24/7 Water Restoration to work on your home and possessions.
Professional technicians are aware that damage and restoration costs will only increase the longer that neutralization, corrosion control, and cleaning is put off. Any prolonging of the restoration process will add to the final total bill. Some of the immediate effects of fire damage include: Within a few minutes, acid soot will cause plastics to yellow, discoloration of small appliances close to the fire, and the permanent discoloration of porous materials. Within a matter of hours, acid residue will stain grout in bathrooms, fiberglass bath fixtures will yellow, uncoated metals will tarnish, and furniture finishes will discolor.
After a few days with no treatment, acid residues will cause painted walls to yellow permanently, metal to corrode, pit, and rust, wood furniture to require refinishing, vinyl flooring to require replacement, and permanent stains on upholstery. If weeks are allowed to elapse, then the cost of restoration skyrockets, with carpet fibers permanently discolored, silver plating corroded, glass/crystal/china becoming permanently etched, and other long term consequences.
No, the cleanup of fire damage should be undertaken as soon as possible in order to head off any long term issues. This is not only confined to the damage done by the fire, but also that which results from smoke and soot. Professionals use a four step process to remove smoke odors:
- Removal of the source of the odor, including unsalvageable debris that may cause odor generation and recontamination of cleaned and deodorized areas. The cleaning of salvageable surfaces and items to physically remove any odor causing residue.
- Chase out the remaining odor with a counteractant, and in the case of smoke, developing a deodorizing fog or gas that seeks out and combines with odor causing substances.
- Apply a sealant to salvageable surfaces that are inaccessible or slightly scorched, not just for aesthetic purposes but also to capture the odor and prevent recontamination.
Understanding how a fire affects your home is the first step in knowing how to successfully treat it when a problem does occur, minimizing the costly repairs that are sometimes a part of the process. Hiring a fire restoration professional is the single best way to go when it comes to returning your home and possessions to their pre loss condition.
For all of your fire and water damage repair and remediation issues, contact the professionals at 24/7 Water Restoration. Certified by the Clean Trust, they are available and ready to handle all of your water, mold, or fire damage restoration needs. Call for a free estimate. We can have a technician on your doorstep within the hour, ready to assess your needs and begin the cleanup and restoration process.
Why Choose Us?
- Free Estimates
- Available 24/7
- 60 Minute Rapid Response
- Fully Licensed And Insured
- We Work With Your Insurance Company
Thank you to 24/7 Water Restoration for quickly coming to our house and cleaning up the water damage in our basement from a burst pipe. Their technicians were extremely professional and polite. Their quick response reduced the risks of mold setting in and causing even more damage and potential allergies and health concerns for our son. Thank you for your outstanding service!Karen