Minnetonka Fire: Simple Steps to Help Limit Damage To Your School
SERVPRO Advice and Service to Mitigate Commercial Fire Damage in Minnetonka
Written by Scott Clemente, SERVPRO of Minnetonka
SERVPRO of Minnetonka recently performed restoration services on a commercial property that suffered a minor fire. The morning after it happened, I walked the fire damaged Minnetonka property facility director.
After we had arrived on-site, he pointed me in the direction of the source of the fire, a malfunctioning piece of equipment, and explained how the damage was contained to the source room. Upon closer inspection, we determined that while the fire was confined to the room where it started, the smoke damage extended into the hallway, the adjacent rooms on either side and, because of the way the HVAC system was set up, to several rooms a floor below.
This sort of scenario is not uncommon to the fire restoration work we do. Contrary to popular belief, when dealing with the aftermath of a fire, it is typically the smoke that causes the most damage and not the flames and heat. The reasons for this are pretty straightforward. The smoke from a fire gets up into the air and then follows any air flow pattern inside the building. Closed doors and vents may help contain it, but unless some-thing is air tight, the smoke will find its way.
On top of this, the smoke from a fire is toxic and, depending on the source of the fire, it can become so acidic that the soot that lands on surfaces will eventually eat through metal. Because of this, if you experience even a small fire, it is important to ensure that any clean up that is done encompasses all of the damage. Otherwise, tables, chairs, desks, walls and anything else with even a minimal amount of soot will end up permanently damaged.
The following is a list of things you can do to help limit the damage to your school or commercial building, and the number of days facilities may be unusable:
1. Place one or multiple air scrubbers in the affected area as soon as possible. An air scrubber will filter out the carbon and smoke that lingers in the air after a fire. Make sure it has both a carbon filter and a HEPA filter. The particle size of soot is approximately 2.5 microns (the dust you can see in the light coming through a window is 40 microns in size) so a normal air filter won’t do a lot of good. The scrubber will help improve the indoor air quality (IAQ) of the affected areas and help limit secondary damage from the soot.
2. Limit movement around the property. As mentioned, the soot from a fire can be severely corrosive to everything it touches. Damage to one room can quickly spread to another if it is tracked from room to room on clothing and shoes.
3. Protect the HVAC system. The residual soot from a fire and the smoke particulates that linger in the air can destroy HVAC systems. To help limit this secondary damage, put cheese cloths over the registers which will help filter the soot. You should also change filters that are part of the heating/cooling system daily for the first week after a fire.
Remember, after a fire, it is the smoke that will do most of the damage. The few simple tips outlined above can go a long way to limiting the cost of any clean up from a fire that may be needed. You can always trust the SERVPRO of Minnetonka experts to restore your smoke and fire damaged commercial property, even a local school. Just call us 24/7 at (952) 473-4837 for an immediate response.