After a Fire: is it Dangerous to Remain in Your Home?

Home fires are hazardous even after the flames are extinguished. Safety worries remain– smoke may contain tar, carbons, and carbon monoxide. We at Stover’s want you to know that properly removing particles from smoke damage is just as important as repairing fire damage. Lingering soot and smoke can actually damage your health. This is why we offer fire damage cleanup services in Wichita.

Respiratory Problems

Even when your house is free from smoke, small particles from the fire and smoke could be embedded in your carpets and furniture.  When you breathe in smoke or the chemicals released by burning materials, it can cause a number of health issues: gasping, shortness of breath, long-term respiratory issues. It is difficult to determine whether a cough is temporary or due to a larger issue. 

Tar, carbon and carbon monoxide can damage your lungs. These gases and residue displace oxygen in the blood, taking oxygen away from the heart, brain and other organs. After your property has experienced a fire, get an expert to come in and analyze the carbon monoxide and gas levels in your house.

Plastic Toxicity

After a fire, burning plastic can lead to a variety of health risks. When this synthetic material burns, it releases toxic fumes into the air. Part of what makes plastic so dangerous in a home fire situation is that there’s just so much of it. Even a small kitchen fire is likely to burn things like plastic cups, milk jugs which add to your risk.

Skin Damage and Eye Irritation

Smoke can get into clothing and furniture; small particles remaining that injure the skin. Red, itchy, watery eyes are a typical complication from lingering particles. Don’t expose your body to more airborne irritants; get professional fire remediation.

Older Buildings Bring More Dangers

Sometimes buildings from the 1950s and 1960s contain asbestos. A fire can 1) burn these fibers and 2) reveal and expose more material during the cleanup. If you have an older home, your professional team will test for asbestos and lead based paint for proper clean up.

Treated Wood

When this treated wood burns, it releases a variety of harmful substances into the air: methane, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and formic acid. The more wood that burns, the more this danger is released into the air.

When in Doubt, Throw It Out

One of the hardest parts about fire recovering is deciding what you can salvage and what you must throw away. For your safety, resist the pull to economize. Dispose of all opened containers and permeable packages of food. Remove any charred food, bulging or rusted cans, or items with fire extinguisher dust.Sometimes, refrigerated and frozen food is salvageable after a fire. Even if the power went out, a well-sealed fridge could keep food at a safe temperature for about four hours. However, throw out if:

  • It smells smoky in the fridge.
  • Soot has visibly penetrated the fridge.
  • Food has been above 40 degrees for over two hours due to power loss.
  • Perishable items have an odd odor.
  • Food in the freezer no longer feels cold and hard and has no ice crystals on it.

Bonus Tip

Even though you are overwhelmed, stay focused. Save all receipts for expenses related to fire loss. The receipts may be needed later by the insurance company and to prove any losses claimed on your income tax. Check with an accountant or the IRS about special benefits for people recovering from fire loss.

Stover’s Restoration Serves South Central Kansas

For over 30 years, Stover’s Restoration has been one of the most trusted and respected names in fire restoration in south-central Kansas. Trust Stover’s to secure your home against more damage or store repaired items until needed. Stover’s offers FDA approved, non-toxic, non-sparking, non-flammable, non-hazardous, and environmentally safe processes for your home.