Ask the Restoration Expert – Action Restoration
I don’t think there’s a more destructive type of loss than that of a fire loss. Fire doesn’t take into consideration social status, race, religion, or age because once it starts, it seems to take on a life of its own that’s accompanied with an insatiable appetite that will consume everything in its path until it’s stopped. Unlike a water loss, where most items can be dried, cleaned, restored and returned to the client, items severely destroyed by a fire are usually permanent and gone forever. We can always restore a house back to its former glory but in regards to keepsakes and mementos, although it’s a daunting task, we make every effort possible to save, restore and return those items that have special memories attached to them. Unfortunately, in some cases, the damage is beyond restoring.
The thing to remember about a fire when it happens in a structure is that whatever the fire is burning i.e. the carpet, furniture, walls, there are many chemical reactions that are occurring. This would include the material in the carpet, the finish on the wood furniture, the paint on the walls and ceiling, etc. The by-product of these chemical reactions can be seen in the form of smoke and soot. Once the fire is out, the soot begins to take on acidic properties and that it in itself will begin secondary damages to items not directly affected by the fire. The other thing about a fire loss is that it comes with a double whammy. Not only is there the obvious damages caused by the fire, but there will also be a considerable amount of water damage caused by the fire department putting the fire out. This is why in a fire loss, the process of cleaning and restoring should be done right away by a professional restoration company such as Action Restoration.
In addition to removing soot and drying the structure out, ridding the structure of the odour is as equally important. Although the human sense of smell pales in comparison to many animals, it’s still one of our more acute senses. When confronted with certain scents, it also has a unique way of triggering memories – good or bad. It may take one, a combination of some or all of the following steps to eliminate a structure of the odour caused by a fire or smoke loss:
- A rule of thumb for removing odour from a structure is to remove the source causing the odour. In this case it would be unsalvageable debris that is contributing to the odour and to the recontamination of cleaned and deodorized areas.
- Clean salvageable surfaces and items to physically remove odour causing residue.
- Air scrubber. An air scrubber is just that – it’s a piece of equipment that literally scrubs the air by drawing air into it, processing it through its filtration system and then expelling odour free air.
- Chase remaining odor with an odor counteractant. In the case of smoke, the use of either a deodorizing fog, ozone or hydroxyl could be used. Which one to use will depend on the severity and the situation.
- Smoke seal the structure to encapsulate odor and prevent progressive recontamination.