Behavior of Smoke

The complexity of property loss or destruction due to fire damage is due to the unique behavior of smoke. A trained fire damage professional should survey the loss site to determine the extent to which fire, smoke, heat, and moisture impacted building materials and contents.

Experienced fire restoration professionals know that areas seemingly unaffected by fire damage are still a danger to homeowners. Smoke can penetrate within cavities of the structure, causing hidden damage and odor. The knowledge fire restoration professionals have of building systems helps them investigate how far fire and smoke damage may have spread.
Fire damage is often the most visible result of a house fire, but the effects of smoke damage can be far more extensive. Whether or not the initial fire was contained, smoke damage can permeate your entire home and can take weeks to fully mitigate the effects.

Contrary to popular belief, the need for immediate action does not dissipate once the fire has been put out: steps can be taken to mitigate the effects of smoke damage and fire damage, and time is of the essence to ensure that these steps are as effective as possible.

A fire in your home or business is a serious matter. Even a relatively small, non-catastrophic fire can have far-reaching consequences, some of which may not be immediately apparent to the eye or nose. In order to identify and mitigate the effects of fire and smoke damage, you need professional help.

Smoke Odor and Residue

Because many smoke particles are only about 0.004 microns wide, they can work their way into virtually everything in your home, from your clothes and furnishings to the carpet, wallboard, and insulation. Even if you can’t see smoke residue on these items, smoke particles may still be present, and they will definitely be giving off an odor. The difficulty of cleaning up smoke odor and residue depends not only on the volume of smoke generated by the fire, but also on the kind of smoke that was present. Smoke from natural materials like wood and paper leaves a black or gray ashy residue that can be cleaned up with a vacuum cleaner or dry sponge. Smoke from synthetic materials like plastics and synthetic fabrics leaves a smeary residue that is difficult and sometimes even dangerous to clean up. To remove all odors and residue, experts recommend having your home professionally deodorized and getting any items you wish to keep professionally cleaned.

Food Spoilage

During a fire, heat can cause cans to expand and contract, which may lead to spoilage. Additionally, smoke particles will penetrate bagged and boxed foods. Because smoke contains carcinogens, you do not want to eat food that has been exposed to smoke. If the electricity was shut off after your fire, you should also throw out frozen or refrigerated foods which have probably spoiled. Be sure to take photos of what you throw away so you can get insurance reimbursement.