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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Types of Smoke

9/27/2023 (Permalink)

Types of Smoke

When a fire impacts your residence or business, it goes beyond the immediate charring caused by flames. Lingering smoke can lead to various issues that persist for weeks after the disaster. We will be addressing the four common types of smoke damage that are each caused by different circumstances like the temperature, fueling material, and location. The restoration process may vary slightly due to these factors.

  1. Wet Smoke

Wet smoke damage arises from low-heat and smoldering flames often involving the burning of plastic and rubber materials. These fires produce thick black smoke with less visible flames. Wet smoke residue is sticky and dense easily covering surfaces. These factors make it prone to smearing during cleaning, making it challenging to remove without specialized equipment.

  1. Dry Smoke

Dry smoke results from fast-burning, high temperate fires typically fueled by materials like paper or wood. Dry smoke has a powdery texture making it relatively easy to clean as it doesn’t smear when wiped. However, dry smoke can infiltrate cracks and porous materials, causing a smoky odor to linger even when surfaces appear clean. Fortunately, the odor is not as pungent as other residues and professionals can effectively eliminate it.

  1. Protein Residue

Protein residue forms when organic matter evaporates during low-heat fires, often caused by cooking accidents. It’s nearly invisible, leaving no noticeable soot or streaks, but it can permanently discolor finished surfaces. Despite being hard to spot, the intense and unpleasant odor can permeate your entire space if left untreated.

  1. Oil/Fuel Residue

Oil/Fuel reside, also known as petroleum residue, is less common in homes and business fires unless petroleum products were stored on site. Furnace “puffbacks” can also release smoke and soot into the surroundings, leading to fuel residue damage even without an actual fire. This type of residue is sticky, dense, and challenging to clean, with a strong, offensive odor that can ruin upholstered furniture if not promptly addressed.

Restoring Smoke Damage

Addressing smoke damage involves three main approaches: cleaning, resurfacing, and replacing. In cases of smaller fires with minimal damage, we aim to restore your space by eliminating smoke reside from existing items to avoid costly replacements. In extreme cases where the damage is more extensive, we may need to replace all items affected by the fire and smoke. This is a costly last-resort solution. The sooner you seek professional assistance after a fire, the lower the likelihood of requiring a full replacement. At SERVPRO® we are equipped to handle all your smoke damage needs. We have highly trained professionals at the ready with our top-of-the-line professional cleaning products to restore your home and make “like it never even happened.”

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