Fire Water Damage

By | January 8, 2013

Guidelines in Handling Fire Damage Restoration the Safe and Proper Way

Fire water damage is a huge undertaking; it requires a lot of planning and involves a lot of risks. The reason why it’s most challenging is that you need to take into consideration the unique behaviors of water, fire, and smoke.

Each of these three factors pose different risks, and all of these combined together make for an extremely serious and dangerous repair and restoration operation.

A fire can seriously weaken the structure of a building, so there is the risk of the house caving in. Also, even if the roof or ceiling is stable, walls that suffered from fire water damage also poses the same risk.

These safety risks have to be ruled out first before you can begin with any restoration work. Call a professional inspector to check the house or room thoroughly to be certain.

And before starting any DIY fire water damage restoration, make sure you know what you’re in for.

How to Deal with Fire Water Damage in 5 Steps 

Step 1: Extract the water. As soon as authorities proclaim that it is safe to enter the building or affected area, turn your attention to the water. Check if there are any leaking pipes that are causing continuous water inflow and make sure to stop the flow before anything else. Then move on to extracting the water that has accumulated in the area. Removing the water is the first step in a fire damage cleanup.

The good news is, the water can also take much of the dirt along with it. The bad news, however, is that you will most likely be left with a lot of mud.

Step 2: Start cleaning. Next, clean up the area as best you could. Mop up all the mud on the floor and remove all soot and sticky smoke residue from all surfaces. For this, you will need a lot of cleaning materials.

You can also try mixing your own cleaning agent by combining bleach and detergent; the resulting mixture is said to be very effective in cleaning up fire water damage. If there are any curtains and carpets, hose them down then soak them overnight in the bleach and detergent solution so you can also get rid of the smell.

For walls, countertops, cabinets, and plastic surfaces, diligent scrubbing will be necessary. If the surface can be easily scratched, use a sponge instead of your usual scrubbing tool. If there are hardened mud or dirt on the walls and surfaces, spray water on them to make them softer then just scrub them off. Check out more about water damage restoration equipment

If fire extinguishers were used, then they’re sure to leave some residue. Usually you can sweep them off. If they have hardened, just wipe them off thoroughly.

Step 3: Inspect all woodwork. If the affected area has a lot of wood used in the structure, you need to make a thorough inspection to see if the wood has been damaged. Wood can be damaged not just by the fire itself, but by the water.

Wood damaged by fire will have burn marks on it and will smell of smoke. Simply removing the burn marks is not an option; the wood may disintegrate eventually. Thus, they need to be replaced.

Water damaged wood may have some water stains or some warping. In both cases, you need to replace them as well. Even a water-stained wood that looks like it has dried well already will still be prone to rotting, in the long run, and to mold and mildew, which may easily grow within 72 hours.

Step 4: Repair damaged concrete. While most damaged woodwork need to be replaced, concrete doesn’t require the same amount of work. However, you need to make sure that the structure is still stable. If it is, then all you have to do is identify which areas were damaged and apply mortar over them.

Step 5: Get rid of the smell. The hardest part in smoke damage repair is getting rid of the pungent smell that gets left behind. Most people use regular perfumed air fresheners and sprays to try and cover up the smell. Unfortunately, this is far from effective. These perfumed sprays eventually wear off, so the smell will simply return.

The best solution is, surprisingly, found in your kitchen. Get some vingear and mix one part of it with three parts water; the resulting solution is extremely effective in cutting off even the strongest, most unpleasant odors. After cleaning all surfaces, wash them with mild soap then spray the vinegar solution all over the place.

Should You Call the Pros? 

Although it is best to leave extensive fire water damage cleanup to the experts, there is nothing wrong with choosing to do the work on your own as long as the damage is relatively minor and manageable. To ensure your own safety, just make sure to prepare for the operation by collecting valuable tips and guidelines.

However, there are certain situations wherein it is unwise to do it yourself. It would be best to call a water damage company if the damage is severe. If the fire inspector also warns you against attempting any repairs on your own, heed their advice and seek water damage emergency service instead.

Aside from that, if you have any special possessions that require repair or restoration, you also need to call professional cleaning companies that offer such specialized services. If there is really an obvious need to enlist professional help, do not hesitate to do so. Otherwise, you might do more harm than good and even endanger your own safety.

Why Fire Water Damage Restoration is A Serious Business 

Fire water damage restoration takes a lot of work. Fire causes discoloration of paint and varnish and leaves behind a pungent odor that’s really hard to remove. The greatest challenges, however, in any Fire water damage operation are the soot, water, and the smoke, all of which you can expect a lot of.

Fire smoke damage alone can make the work a lot harder. Smoke leaves behind a smoldering heat and a very strong odor. These can make breathing difficult and also stick to furnishings; thus, even if your upholstery do not get damaged in the fire, you still need to get the smell off.