If a fire were to erupt on your commercial property you would only feel one thing – devastation. Fires happen fast and spread quickly. They can destroy everything you worked hard for in a matter of seconds. As soon as the fire trucks leave, you are left to figure out what to do next. Ash, smoke, and soot are everywhere, and as if that isn’t enough, there will be water damage and flooding from the fire fighting efforts. That’s why making sure you have a reliable and reputable company you can call to clean up and restore your property is so important.
The Disaster America team is currently on site at an apartment complex in Austin, TX. This 16-unit property caught fire from what officials believe to have been started by a cigarette, although it is still under investigation. Before the restoration process can begin, the property must be cleaned out and thoroughly inspected to see how much damage the fire has caused to the structure of the building. If not, a multitude of other problems could occur. Keep reading as we discuss two common problems associated with commercial property fires.
Smoke and Soot
According to the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) when combustion occurs during a fire, not all materials burn cleanly, resulting in smoke and soot. These waste products – solids, liquids, and gases – may be composed of various chemicals, which are harmful to your health.
Many hazardous chemicals such as mesothelioma, carbon monoxide, and ammonia can be found inside smoke and soot, which leach onto each surface inside the building, including the interior frame. The longer they sit on different surfaces, the more damage they cause. Walls begin to yellow, metal surfaces start to corrode, and flooring starts to rust and deteriorate.
Immediately after the fire, a professional company needs to do an inspection to see how far inside the structure the smoke and soot have reached. If they have saturated the interior frame, the building will need to be rebuilt from the ground up. If a company fixes only the aesthetics of the building without looking deeper for smoke and soot damage to the inside, many different health problems will arise. Exposure to smoke and soot can weaken immune systems, causing upper respiratory problems of people inside the building, especially in small children and the elderly.
At the Austin project, Disaster America is currently in the inspection stage. As you can see, our whole team wears the proper protection, including hazmat suits and goggles. The negative effects of smoke and soot damage are at their strongest right after the fire, which is why we always make sure our team is protected. (insert picture of DA team in suits)
You might be surprised to hear that water damage is a problem in regards to fire damage, but it actually plays a large role. State code for commercial properties require that sprinkler systems be installed throughout the building. And when there is a fire, the sprinkler systems are activated immediately. This itself will cause interior water damage, but when you include all the water that comes from the firefighters fighting the fire, the water damage becomes severe.
Puddles of water form and water saturates the flooring along with everything else inside the building. As water sits inside the building, bacteria starts to form. Mold and mildew can get inside walls, carpets and flooring, causing a lot of problems. If all the water-damaged property is not removed, anyone working inside the building after reconstruction is at risk of long-term health effects. Again, that’s why it is so important to hire a company you can trust.
Although our project in Austin is in the beginning stages, we will be updating on social media and our website as it progresses, so stay tuned!