Holiday Season Brings Cheer and the Occasional Structural Fire
The building science experts at Sussex Environmental Health Consultants provide critical services in the aftermath of a structural fire.
Unfortunately, holidays lights also result in hundreds of fires each year in the U.S., including many across the Mid-Atlantic region. Some estimates have put the direct property damage due to these fires at over $25 million. The cost, due to factors such as smoke and soot damage, likely adds millions more.
Building materials, furnishings and personal belongings can easily suffer from the large quantity of smoke generated in a typical fire. This smoke is filled with combustion by-products that include soot, ash and char. “Smoke infiltration in buildings can have damaging effects to both property and humans,” reported Susan White, Ph.D., CMC, President of Sussex Environmental Health Consultants (SEHC), a Delaware based environmental consulting firm. “Often times it becomes necessary to document, through testing, that there is indeed smoke damage for insurance purposes to ensure smoke damaged areas are properly remediated for human habitation.”
Smoke is not the only indoor environmental concern following a fire. The water used to extinguish it will soak building materials and belongings. Within just 24 to 48 hours, mold may begin to grow even in areas not damaged directly by the fire. Damage due to the fire and reconstruction efforts can also aerosolize asbestos fibers and lead-based paints in older buildings.
To prevent future indoor environmental issues and to ensure the property is healthy enough for building occupants, it is often necessary to have an environmental study completed to identify potential health and safety issues in fire damaged buildings.
SEHC has sponsored a public outreach video on indoor environmental quality (IEQ) concerns following a fire. It can be viewed at:
To learn more about SEHC’s environmental, indoor air quality (IAQ) or health and safety services, please visit http://www.sussexenvironmental.com, email susan.white@
About Sussex Environmental Health Consultants, LLC
SEHC is a certified woman owned business that provides environmental and health and safety consulting services. The company is located in the Mid-Atlantic and services customers nationwide. SEHC provides solutions to clients ranging from homeowners to international Fortune 500 Corporations.