How to Deal with Smoke Damage After a Fire in a Commercial Property

commercial fire damage restoration

The destructive power of fire can leave businesses and commercial properties devastated. Once the fire has been extinguished, insurance coverage can help with the financial losses. Commercial fire damage restoration is one such avenue for business owners who have suffered as a result of fire can pursue to help alleviate their losses. Restoration is the next step that business owners and proprietors must begin immediately.

Smoke and fire damage can wreak havoc to any property. Even in this day and age, with advances in fire-resistant building materials and fire-suppression techniques, the sobering statistics of fire loss is still staggering. In 2017 alone, the National Fire Protection Association reported that, in the US, fire departments responded to a fire every 24 seconds. Every 63 seconds a structure fire occurred and every 88 seconds a home fire occurred. In total, fires caused $10.7 billion in property damage. Sadly, that number was up 37 percent from the 2016 loss of $7.8 billion.

What Do Fire Restoration Companies Do?

In light of these numbers, professionals in the commercial fire damage restoration sector offer an important service to their communities. When a fire occurs, they work to assist business owners and proprietors to move forward and put their lives and businesses back together. It can be overwhelming. The restoration process after a commercial fire is laborious if not time-consuming. It includes:

  • damage assessment
  • debris removal
  • odor, soot, and residual water mitigation

Fire and smoke damage restoration professionals are there to advise and direct business owners to sift through the damage and greatly aid in rebuilding their businesses and commercial properties.

Once undertaken, the goal of commercial fire damage restoration is to thoroughly clean every nook and cranny of a business or commercial property after a fire. In a fire’s aftermath, much of the damage restoration focuses on eliminating the persistent smoke odors and the accompanying soot and residual water. Every trace of the contaminants responsible for odors must be scrubbed clean and deodorized. High-powered equipment such as air scrubbers can help clear the air of particulates and odors. Industrial air movers and dehumidifiers mitigate residual water and moisture from putting out the fire.

It all hinges on taking action quickly. In doing so it’s possible for smoke and fire restoration professionals to minimize damage and loss. Here are several steps to anticipate how your restoration professional deals with smoke damage after a fire occurs on your commercial property.

Smoke Odors

As with most fires, commercial fires leave a pungent odor that permeates the building, furnishings, fixtures, and air throughout the property. Those odors are in large part a result of the fire source itself—the debris from the fire, the soot and residual water and chemicals that were used to extinguish the fire. The debris must be dealt with first.

Once the fire and insurance company have determined an origin and cause of the fire, restoration crews move to quickly remove the debris and soot from the premises. Materials such as charred furnishings, rugs, and ceiling tiles are carried out until the property is emptied of any burned remnants of the fire. Debris removal also mitigates odors by removing microscopic dust particles, airborne and settled, that derives from soot deposits and burned debris. Debris removal reduces the intensity of odors, but will not completely eliminate them. Soot and residual water also combine to contribute to smoke odors, and they must be dealt with.

Soot Removal

Thick layers of soot mixed with moisture cover a good portion of commercial fire sites. Soot is the black, powdered carbon and chemical byproduct of the burned material after a fire. Depending on the material burned in commercial fires, the chemical or acidic composition of soot can cause further damage on its own to just about any surface it is in contact with. Soot can stain porous and textured surfaces, permanently discolor granite, plastics, grout and the unburned fixtures made of wood or textiles.

Removal of soot can reduce the likelihood of permanent soot staining discoloration and may reduce the costs of replacement. As an important step in fire damage restoration, industrial vacuums are very helpful in removing the layers and bulk of powdery soot after fires.

Residual Water

Not only is mold a problem after flooding but after fires as well. Residual water from extinguishing the fire can lead to mold spreading throughout the property if it is not properly mitigated. The increased moisture in the air interacts with mold spores. In a confined space this allows mold to grow rapidly, covering and staining porous surfaces. The smoky odor after a fire rapidly combines with mold to further contaminate the air and interact with surfaces. The longer such odors interact with surfaces the more difficult it will be to completely eliminate the odor.

Commercial fire damage restoration entails industrial-grade air movers and dehumidifiers to remove water and moisture that can lead to airborne mold spores. All interior walls must be checked for water damage. All surfaces must be cleaned thoroughly and wiped down with anti-bacterial agents throughout the process.

Fire Restoration Services in Maine and New Hampshire

Fires to your commercial property can be devastating and catastrophic. The biggest challenge for all parties will be to replace, repair or restore the property to resume business as usual. To do so as quickly as possible, know that professionals are there to help you recover from the disaster. If your business has suffered through a fire, if you have any questions or need direction about smoke and fire damage restoration for your commercial property, please contact Octagon Cleaning & Restoration for assistance.