Huntington Beach, CA, July 28, 2022
A fire recently broke out at an apartment complex in Chula Vista, California displacing several residents. While firefighters were able to contain the flames to several units, several other apartments were damaged from the smoke and water.
Fires in apartment buildings are all too common. Anytime there is a fire in a multifamily or multitenant complex there can be a tremendous amount of smoke that travels throughout the units and floors. This smoke is made up of a number of combustion by-products that include ash, soot, char and other materials. The smoke leaves behind odors and residues which can cause corrosion, etching and discoloration.
Water damage from sprinklers and the efforts of firefighters can also impact large areas of a building. As the water seeks its way to the lowest level, it can damage other units nearby and below that were not impacted by the flames or smoke. The moisture, if not quickly removed, often results in the growth of mold which damages building materials, furnishings and personal belongings.
“The indoor environmental quality (IEQ) of a building following a fire needs to be examined before people move back into it to ensure that it is safe for residents,” said Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager at LA Testing’s Huntington Beach facility. “It’s not just mold and smoke damage that can have a negative impact on residents. Many multifamily complexes still contain lead-based paints and building materials made with asbestos. These can become aerosolized during cleanup and repair activities if the proper safety precautions are not taken.”
LA Testing, with laboratories throughout California, offers testing services for smoke residues, mold, odors, lead, asbestos and other potential exposure risks associated with building fires. They also provide sampling supplies, easy-to-use test kits, air monitoring instruments, building inspection tools and personal protective equipment.
Several years ago, LA Testing sponsored an educational video about potential IEQ concerns following a fire in a multifamily residential building that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/ZSBcpoBHOfY
To learn more about testing for smoke residues, odors, water damage, mold, asbestos, lead or other indoor environmental quality issues, please visit www.LATesting.com, email info@LATesting.com or call (800) 755-1794. For access to IEQ test kits, visit www.EMSLTestKits.com.