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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

The Unseen Dangers of Soot

2/8/2019 (Permalink)

Soot completely covers the furniture in a fire damaged room

If a house or business fire isn’t hard enough, sometimes smoke and soot leave more damage than the actual fire. We are seeing this in a fire job that we currently have crews on site. The fire started with a portable fireplace and destroyed the room that it was in. The fire did not spread beyond that room, but the smoke and soot covers the rest of the home. We have crews cleaning every crevice of the opposite side of the home because soot spread so quickly. So, how does this happen, and what are the dangers if it is not cleaned properly?

What is Soot?

Soot is the black residue that is the result of incomplete fossil fuel combustion after a fire. When coal, oil, wood or other fuels are burned, the residual carbon material can travel through the air and settle into the surrounding environment. The issue that we often find is that soot travels though the HVAC system to the rest of the home or business. House fires and insufficient ventilation in the fireplace are some of the most common causes of soot within the home.

How Do I Identify Soot?

Individual soot particles are smaller than dust, but accumulated soot appears as dark black dust. As mentioned before, soot particles can turn up in areas far away from the original source of the fire because they can travel easily through the air as well as through your ventilation system. Additionally, you can identify soot through smell. Soot as the scent of smoke, ash, or a smelly odor, you may be detecting hints of soot.

Is Soot Harmful?

Soot is harmful because the particles can contain acids, chemicals, metals, and dust because these materials burn during a common house fire. These toxic particles then stick to surrounding surfaces, like walls and ceilings, leaving you and your home exposed to the harmful effects. Soot contamination in your home or business impacts indoor air quality and leaves foul odors and stains behind.

Health Risks of Soot

If it goes untreated or improperly cleaned, especially in your HVAC system, tiny particles of soot can be inhaled deep into the lungs. These toxic particles can cause breathing issues, including aggravated asthma, bronchitis, and more severe respiratory illnesses.

To avoid health risks and restore your home, call SERVPRO of Bradley County at (423) 614-5552. To learn more about fire damage cleanup, click here

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