When the Smoke Clears . . .

Each and every day, we turn on the news to see tragic stories of local fires and the loss that they bring to families in our area. Through National Fire Safety programs, we continue to educate and encourage our community to take extreme precautions to protect their homes and families from the dangers of Fire and Smoke. Although we have a long ways to go, we are making strides, each year reducing the number of local fires in our area little by little, and for that we are grateful.

Fire. . . just the thought of the word evokes fear and trembling. Usually unexpected and fiercely swift, there is often very little time to get your family out safely, let alone to gather much else from your home. House fires can be incredibly devastating, but along with the flames comes some pretty intense Smoke that causes lots of damage as well.

Smoke/soot is the product of incomplete combustion.  It is made visible through the presence of small particles of carbon. Smoke damage can affect your home in a number of ways. Since the fire that causes Smoke and Soot is non-discriminatory(it will burn ANYTHING which can be burned) it is able to destroy whatever is in it’s path and cause tremendous amounts of damage to a house. Residue that has been created through the fire mixing with flammable materials such as particle board, plastic, laminates, or vinyls, will also produce very complex and overwhelming odors that will affect everything around them!

Three Categories of Smoke Residue and Odors

Smoke odors can normally be classified into three categories.  These categories also need customized deodorization to restore them:

  1. Protein Odors – These are produced from burned meat, flesh and poultry.

The residue is identifiable by a brownish or yellowish color and has a greasy texture. Odor removal and deodorization usually entails a complete cleaning of the affected surfaces.

  1. Natural Substance Odors – Natural burned substances include paper, wood, jute, cork, feathers, and wool, anything that has a plant or an animal hair source.  Identification is made through a gray/black residue that has a dry, powdery consistency.  
  1. Synthetic Substance Odors – Synthetic (man-made) burned substances encompass burned plastics and textiles.  Residues from these substances are black in color and smudge easily since they come from petroleum-based sources.  Burned synthetic residue can create smoke webs visible where walls and corners meet the ceiling and in streamers handing from curtain rods.  These smoke webs are called soot tags.

NOTE:  Soot tags are often misidentified as “spider webs” which supposedly became visible because of the smoke/soot residue.

Five Factors That Influence Smoke

There are five factors that influence smoke damage and can affect the related surfaces:

  1. Heat – Warmed or heated air rises and migrates to cold areas such as outside walls and closets.  Heat causes pores in surfaces to expand which then readily accepts the smoke residue and odor.
  2. Pressure – The energy created by the fire produces heat which enables the smoke to penetrate into the most minute cracks and crevices.
  3. Impingement – Burned objects can hit another surface with sufficient velocity so that it will impinge (or splatter) and remain on the surface.  (Think of candle wax.)
  4. Magnetism – Smoke is attracted to metal surfaces such as plumbing pipes, nail heads and metal coat hangers.
  5. Ionization – Opposites attract so smoke webs may form on structural surfaces.  Plastic bags on clothing from dry cleaners retain electrical charges which attract smoke.  More smoke damage can be found on clothing inside plastic bags in a closet as opposed to unprotected clothing!!!

For expert fire damage restoration contact us here @ 410-838-7330 to have one of our experienced professionals come out to assess your situation. Because we offer 24 hour a day, 365 days a year emergency services, you are able to call both day or night to have us start in the Restoration Process. With over 30 years of experience in Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Duraclean is always aware of the newest techniques and most up to date treatments to get the Process done as quickly and efficiently as possible. Let us walk with you through the Restoration Process from beginning to end. . . Call today!