Fire Damage

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Fire Damage Brooklyn

Fire damage cleanup Brooklyn is a multi-step, challenging process that often includes addressing Fire Damage, fire damage, and smoke damage.

When we think of the dangerous part of a fire, we naturally think of the flames and the smoke. These represent an obvious hazard.

But, it’s important to know that other extremely dangerous elements make up a fire.

These come into play after the fire is out, in the ash, soot, and smoke residue that is left behind.

Long after the flames are put out, there are many dangerous health hazards still lurking.

When non-organic materials are burned they release toxic volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), which are extremely hazardous to long-term health and can even be lethal if ingested or inhaled or absorbed by the skin. Sometimes these negative health consequences are felt immediately, and sometimes they don’t appear for many months or years.

At a home fire in Brooklyn, a fire chief was exposed to the near-lethal dose of sodium cyanide after the fire was out. When he went to inspect the house, he inadvertently inhaled the chemical which was created when the chemicals of a jewelry refinishing business were burned in the fire. This fire chief nearly died and was only saved by spending time in a hyperbaric chamber.

Everyone needs to exercise extreme caution when reentering a property where there was a fire. You should be aware that even when the fire department says there is no serious structural damage and you may reenter the property,many toxic chemicals may still hang in the air.

After a fire, tiny particulates, smoke, soot residue, VOCs, and other chemical compounds take a long time to dissipate and their nature makes them cling to building materials and furnishings. When you pick up debris or damaged contents from your home or property, these get released back into the air and cling to your skin and clothes.

Keep in mind also, that if you have to board up your house for security reasons, this will increase the potential dangers of the air quality. When you cover any openings, it prevents the elements from getting in, but it also prevents the particulate, toxins, and smoke residues from leaving or dissipating. Everything remains trapped inside the home.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health characterizes boarding up a property that has undergone a fire as “immediately dangerous to life and health” (IDLH). This means that protective gloves, masks, clothing, and breathing equipment with effective filters need to be worn by everyone who enters a building after it has been boarded up because of a fire.

All of these toxic chemicals are not visible to the eye. Some are so small that they can travel easily through the lungs into the blood stream, which then delivers the chemicals to the body’s vital organs.

Even more dangerous, it has been found that some compounds are so small, they can pass through the body’s protective blood-brain barrier. In this case, as the chemicals enter the nose they can reach the brain through the olfactory nerve.

Understand the corrosive nature of soot and smoke


Fires consume all the materials they come in contact with, but further damage continues to occur through soot residue and smoke after a fire is extinguished. This is one of the reasons that a thorough cleanup is so important.

Permanent etching, staining and discoloration are all possible if soot and smoke are allowed to remain on certain items following a fire.

Smoke damages electronic components as well, so many appliances and electronic equipment like stereos and computers will likely be damaged and need to be replaced.

This damage can be cumulative so that even if it seems to be functioning right after the fire, as the chemicals accumulate on the sensitive electronic circuits, they have a likelihood of short-circuiting.

This is because the components of the smoke act as conductors, disrupting the electrical pathways along the circuit boards.

The chemical nature of smoke and soot make them very difficult to remove. Porous materials have air pockets in which smoke and soot can penetrate and stay.

Additionally, when halogen-containing plastics are burned, chemicals like hydrochloric acid are formed. When this acidic compound lands or embeds itself into porous household items or building materials, it causes the breakdown of these items over time. This is why everything needs to be thoroughly cleaned from any smoke residue or soot.

Discard Potentially Dangerous Items After a Fire


One of the most difficult parts of cleanup after a fire is figuring what can be cleaned and salvaged and what must be thrown away.

This is a difficult process because many household items have sentimental value, but there is also the simple monetary value and it can feel wasteful to discard so much after a fire.

However, the following things need to be discarded for your safety:

Non-perishable Food – Food safety is a huge issue after a fire. All open containers in the cupboard need to be immediately discarded, but even sealed food in aluminum cans may be contaminated by toxic fumes. Be thorough when inspecting your kitchen for smoke, heat, water, and firefighting chemical damage. Throw out all food items, sealed or unsealed, if you even remotely suspect that they have come into contact with any of these contaminants.

Perishable Food – Throw out any food that was in a refrigerator if it smells smoky in the fridge or if you see soot has penetrated the fridge. Also throw out everything if the refrigerator lost power after the fire. Obviously throw out anything with an odd odor or food in the freezer that has defrosted.

Medicine and Cosmetics – You will want to inspect your makeup and your medicine cabinet after a fire. Throw out anything that has signs of soot, smoke discoloration or fire extinguisher dust. Dangerous chemicals can be ingested or be absorbed through your skin if you keep contaminated items.

Burned Clothing – Sometimes clothes, textiles, and bedding can be salvaged with proper disinfection. But if anything is burnt or charred, throw it out.

Never try to save belonging that could make you sick or expose you to soot or toxins. When in doubt, throw it out! If you aren’t sure how to clean or salvage a particular item, your restoration company is the best resource for questions and help in this area. They have years of experience and can tell you if salvage is possible and the best methods for doing so.

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