Fire Soot in San Diego

Fire soot creates many hazards. Many of these hazards are hidden. Incomplete combustion creates many particles of carbon in the air, which ultimately result in smoke. When deposited these particulates are identified as soot. Particles approximately 10 microns are larger can be trapped in the upper respiratory tract, while particles 5 microns or smaller are able to travel to the lower lung. Once airborne, soot is too small to be seen with the naked eye and is easily inhaled and can cause discomfort or health problems. Approximately 20,000 premature deaths in America each year are related to particle exposure. Soot also contributes to almost 300,000 asthma attacks and 2 million lost workdays, according to Cashins & Associates.

What is in Fire Smoke?

Smoke is a complex mixture, containing a mixture of different gasses and particles resulting from various materials burning during a fire event.

Structure fires, like residential home or business fires may involve the destruction of:

  1. Plastics
  2. Foams
  3. Fabrics
  4. Carpets
  5. Wood Products
  6. Synthetic Fabrics
  7. Wool
  8. Asbestos-containing materials
  9. Paint
  10. Batteries
  11. Vinyl’s
  12. PVC piping

These materials are more harmful than ever, since plastics and other synthetics are used more commonly in our homes and buildings and are made from different materials, when compared to previous years.

What is the difference between fire smoke and soot?

Smoke results from incomplete combustion, in which tiny particles of carbon are released into the air. The particles contained within smoke residue/soot, differ depending upon the material composition thereof. There are several types of smoke that may occur on surfaces when treatment is necessary. These types of smoke residue/soot include:

  1. Wet Smoke– a sticky residue or soot, often associated with a smoldering fire-type and generally accompanied with a strong odor.
  2. Dry Smoke– generally resulting from a fast-burning fire that occurs at high temperatures.
  3. Protein– Protein can discolor paints and varnishes and often has a pungent odor. Slower burning fires allow the protein to dispense and attach itself to everything, in turn producing a strong odor.

How can you protect yourself against fire smoke and soot in San Diego?

If your home has been contaminated from smoke particulates, VOC’s, heavy metals or any other type of hazardous contaminants, it is best to seek professional help. Be wary of contractors that do not have specialized licensing and training in the fire restoration industry!! If proper methods are not followed, your home could be left with hazardous contaminants as well as even a smoky odor.

If you believe fire-related particles may be present in your home, you may wish to have fire-related particle testing performed. Rarefied Air Environmental is an experienced and professional provider of particulate fire testing and can help you determine whether or not your home or building requires remediation. Call us for a quote today!

The Hazards of Fire Soot in San Diego