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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

How Do I Tell There Is Smoke Damage After a Fire Loss in My Kitchen in North Littlerock?

4/14/2020 (Permalink)

Fire SERVPRO Helps Our Little Rock Neighbors After a Fire Strikes. We Are Here to Help with Cleanup and Restoration Services.

Advanced Training Helps SERVPRO Technicians Deal with Different Types of Smoke Damage

Various mishaps or accidents can lead to kitchen fires damaging various materials. Fires also leave smoke residues on walls, ceilings, and other surfaces. Standard smoke residues such as soot are readily discernible through touch or vision. However, there are byproducts of smoke that are harder to identify, so there is a possibility of having smoke damage that you do not notice in North Little Rock.

What types of residues do fires leave?

The kind of residues left after fire damage in your North Little Rock kitchen may depend on the materials burnt, the duration it takes to contain the fire, among other things. Incidents commonly involve stove flare-ups, grease fires, and incidents sparked by electrical appliances. The materials burnt range from oil, proteins such as meat, plastics and organic materials such as wood, leaving deposits like:

  • Protein residues
  • Fuel oil residues
  • Dry smoke residues
  • Wet smoke residues

How do you tell which residues a fire left?

Most smoke residues are readily visible since they have different colors compared to the materials where they are deposited. What is harder to tell from a casual look is the volume of residues left and the distribution around the room. Our SERVPRO technicians use simple approaches such as wiping the wall surface with a cleaning sponge starting from the area closest to the seat of the fire, thus establishing residue distribution patterns. The process also helps establish whether there are wet smoke, protein, or oil residues. 

Is it possible to miss smoke residues?

The characteristics and behavior of smoke are the two main reasons why it is possible to miss residues. Some byproducts of smoke, such as protein residue, can have amber or yellowish appearance. They might also be virtually invisible, thus causing minimal discoloration of painted walls or other surfaces such as cabinets. 

Spread patterns can also hide smoke residues. Even when fire damage is contained in the kitchen of your North Littlerock residence, the smoke is likely to filter into other rooms within the house. Failure to check those areas can leave residues in place. 

Smoke moves through convection currents to colder areas within the loss site. Concealed areas such as cabinets and other hidden cavities attract more smoke due to cooler temperatures, thus leading to more deposits. Our SERVPRO restoration crews include certified FSRT, Fire, and Smoke Restoration Technicians who are well versed with smoke behavior and thus able to take the right actions, including establishing spread patterns and opening up hidden sections where residues might accumulate out of sight.

Is cleaning sufficient when dealing with smoke damage?

Cleaning is an effective solution to fight smoke damage since it removes residues restoring a surface to its preloss state. However, the effectiveness of the cleaning exercise may differ depending on factors such as:

  • The porosity of the surface
  • Age of the surface
  • Heat levels during the fire
  • Moisture

Residues deposited on porous surfaces penetrate further, making it harder to clean using methods such as wiping. The porosity level of a material can be natural or can be the result of the conditions prevalent during the incident. For example, higher temperature levels open up pores in materials allowing deeper penetration of residues. Sufficient moisture leads to the setting of residues, which can interfere with cleaning. In most loss sites, moisture comes from firefighting efforts by firefighters or suppression systems such as sprinklers. 

How does SERVPRO respond to the challenges of smoke damage?

Cleaning involves four standard actions, including:

  • Lubrication
  • Mechanical action
  • Suspension and dispersion
  • Chemical action

Although all the actions help clean the affected areas, they work uniquely, so there is a need to use just what is necessary. Our technicians evaluate the loss site to determine which actions would be most effective. We also evaluate the materials in the area to ensure that the action we choose does not create secondary damages. For example, since we know that wet cleaning can lead to the absorption of particles by materials, we use mechanical action such as wiping surfaces with sponges to remove dry, non-greasy residues from a surface. We can use specialized cleaning products such as chemical sponges to remove residues from a surface without leaving smudges.

Setting a cleaning goal also helps deal with challenges. The goal of cleaning can be to restore the affected area to its preloss state. Cleaning can also help prepare the loss area for refinishing. If the area requires refinishing, cleaning needs to remove physical deposits and odor only since refinishing takes care of minor issues such as blemishes.

SERVPRO of Northwest Little Rock can help you address any challenges posed by smoke damage, "Like it never even happened." Call us at (501) 803-9700 any time.

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