Building fires are a form of combustion: a chemical reaction that thrives on the atmospheric oxygen in the air and whatever fuel is available. A clean combustion produces water vapor and carbon dioxide with little-to-no residue, but in most cases, fires leave behind residue and smoke particles. These corrosives can spread throughout a home or business after a fire, and without proper mitigation, they can damage and poison buildings. For remediation of all effects of fire-residue damage, ServiceMaster DSI offer comprehensive smoke cleanup in Westminster, CO.
Building fires are so messy largely due to the conditions in which they burn. Synthetic materials like plastics, surface finishes, paints, oils, cleaning products, and adhesives don’t burn well, and with a low supply of oxygen, incomplete combustion during a building fire is common.
An incomplete combustion can occur with non-synthetic materials if there is insufficient oxygen supply. In the case of an incomplete combustion, a fire will leave behind carbon monoxide, carbon, and water vapor instead of the carbon dioxide and water vapor left with a complete combustion.
Let’s look at the difference between a complete and an incomplete combustion using only organic materials as fuel:
(organic fuel) + (sufficient oxygen) = (carbon dioxide) and (water vapor)
(organic fuel) + (insufficient oxygen) = (carbon monoxide), (water vapor), and (carbon residue)
A complete combustion will only leave behind the gasses and vapor produced in the combustion process, while an incomplete combustion will leave behind higher-toxicity gasses and the carbon residue that we recognize as charcoal, ash, soot, and smoke.
However, when a fire uses synthetic materials as fuel, even complete combustions can leave behind dangerous gasses, and the byproducts of an incomplete combustion using synthetic materials can be even more toxic. This is because of the different chemicals used in most synthetic materials, which leave behind highly acidic particles when burned.
Without comprehensive fire damage restoration and professional soot and smoke cleanup, the residues left behind in any home or business affected by a building fire can have a severely negative long term impact, both structurally and environmentally. From corroding electrical systems, discoloring interior decorations, and etching windows to contaminating HVAC systems and compromising clean indoor air, fire residue can continue harming your home long after the initial post-fire cleanup.
For expert restoration and smoke cleanup in Westminster, CO, contact ServiceMaster DSI at 303.578.4216 for 24/7/365 emergency services.