Six Common Sources of Hidden Damage That Can Occur After a House Fire
Blog Summary: In the aftermath of a fire damage disaster, hidden damage can wreak havoc on a home, even after the flames have been extinguished.
SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County understands the stress, anxiety, and frustration homeowners experience when confronted with fire damage, smoke damage, and water damage disaster. A fire creates a multi-faceted disaster scene. Fire seriously damages anything it touches. Smoke coats floors, walls, the ceiling, and personal belongings with a hazardous layer of soot. Water deployed to extinguish the fire saves the structure but adds a layer of complexity to the restoration process. A fire damage disaster is best left to trained professionals with the equipment, expertise, and cleaning solutions needed to restore the damaged areas and make the home safe for humans and pets. The team at SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County can transform a fire-damaged home into a safe, clean, and beautiful living environment.
Hidden Fire Damage
A fire damage disaster creates a complex disaster scene. Some of the damage is readily visible. Other damage is hidden from view and requires the skill of a trained professional to identify and mitigate the damage.
The most obvious damage is caused by the fire, smoke, and water used to extinguish the blaze. Furniture, drapes, upholstery, carpeting, and clothing, which readily absorb odors and moisture, are the most vulnerable to being damaged beyond repair or restoration. The less obvious, hidden fire damages are costly and can endanger the health and lives of family members and pets.
Hidden Damage #1: Soot
Soot is comprised of small particles from combustibles such as wood or coal. Soot is everywhere in the environment. Daily, millions of people breathe in soot in small quantities. In the closed environment of a fire-damaged home, it is possible to miss trace amounts of soot during the initial inspection just after the fire and after the cleanup.
Extreme caution should always be exercised during the cleanup of soot. Full PPG is recommended. The best, safest, and most efficient course of action is to enlist the services of highly trained professionals who know how to remove soot from both the obvious and not so obvious places.
Hidden Damage #2: Sewage and Water Pipes
Most modern plumbing is manufactured from PVC or other strong, flexible materials. This inherent pliability helps prevent cracks and leaks, but extreme heat compromises the integrity and stability of these materials. If damage to the plumbing system is suspected, secure the services of a certified, reputable plumber to inspect the system. Turn off the water at the main valve and avoid using toilets, tubs, sinks, and showers until the damage can be fully assessed. The addition of a large-scale sewage spill to a fire scene will make the disaster cleanup much more complicated.
Damaged sewage pipes can release noxious, toxic gases into the home, and these gases may cause nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, and breathing issues. Potentially dangerous carbon monoxide may also be leaking from damaged sewage pipes. This odorless, colorless gas can be harmful to young children, the elderly, and the immunocompromised. An air quality inspection will help identify any toxic gases in the air.
Hidden Damage #3: Mold
A mold infestation is most likely to develop in areas where water can settle undetected, such as in drywall and insulation. Choose a property damage restoration company with experience and certification in mold remediation.
Hidden Damage #4: Cleaning Products
Household cleaning products are dangerous if not used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If the containers of these products are damaged by fire, the contents of several bottles could spill out, adding another layer of danger since some household chemicals become very toxic if mixed with other cleaning solutions. In addition, aerosol cans compromised by the heat may be vulnerable to exploding if not properly handled.
Exercise extreme caution when cleaning up spilled cleaning products. Use gloves and goggles to avoid contact with the skin, and wear a respirator to avoid inhaling the fumes. If necessary, entrust the cleanup to damage restoration and cleaning professionals.
Hidden Damage #5: Electrical
As fire spreads through a home, it can melt wires, short out junction boxes, damage receptacles, and create live hanging wires. When the fire is out, immediately contact the power company and have the electricity shut off. Then, secure the services of a licensed, insured, and bonded electrician to inspect the damage.
Hidden Damage #6: Gas Leaks
During efforts to extinguish a fire, an internal gas line may be damaged. Later, the small nick may grow into a full-blown leak. If, at any time, the smell of gas is detected, exit the residence and immediately call 911. Do not re-enter the premises until approval is granted from trained fire and utility officials.
After a house fire, homeowners in Cresson, TX, can turn to SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County, a locally owned and operated damage restoration and cleaning company. The technicians and staff members live and work in local communities and are ready to respond immediately when a homeowner needs property damage restoration or cleaning services.
For more information about fire damage restoration in Cresson, TX, call SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County at (817) 297-8588. The office can also be reached by email at office@SERVPROcrowley.com