Earlier in May, a fire at an apartment complex in Berkley displaced dozens of residents according to The Daily Californian
. Their report states that the fire likely began because of electrical issues in the ceiling between two units. The heat from the fire melted the soldering on a water pipe that then ruptured helping to minimize damage from the flames.
Although only two units were directly involved with the actual fire, others were also damaged due to smoke infiltration and water. Building materials, furnishings and personal belongings can easily suffer damage from odors and smoke residues containing soot, ash and char. Smoke from a building fire can also contain other potentially harmful chemicals that result from the combustion, or partial combustion, of manmade materials.
In addition, water used to extinguish a building fire, or in this case from a ruptured water line, will not only put out the fire, but will also soak into building materials and personal belongings. This water often makes its way to other parts of a structure, sometimes multiple floors below, which were not directly impacted by the actual flames. Because it only takes about 48 hours for many types of mold to begin growing once moisture is introduced, this can quickly become a concern. Mold growing on building materials and belongings rapidly multiplies and begins releasing spores into the air that can act as an irritant, allergen or trigger asthma attacks in some people with the condition. Fungal infections in people with a weakened or suppressed immune system are also possible with some types of mold associated with water damage.
“If smoke residues, odors and possible mold growth following a building fire are not enough, older building that contain lead-based paints and asbestos could also now pose a health and safety risk,” said Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager of LA Testing’s Garden Grove facility. “At LA Testing we offer environmental services to identify all of these potential exposure concerns so building owners can safely begin repairs and building occupants can rest assured they are not being exposed to potential hazards.”
To learn more about testing a property for smoke and water damage, mold, asbestos, lead or other indoor air quality and environmental issues, please visit www.LATesting.com
, email info@LATesting.com
or call (800) 755-1794. For access and more information about fire and smoke damage, asbestos, lead or mold test kits, visit www.EMSLTestKits.com
. About LA Testing
LA Testing is California’s leading laboratory for air quality testing of asbestos, mold, lead, VOCs, formaldehyde, soot, char, ash and smoke damage, particulates and other chemicals. In addition, LA Testing offers a full range of air sampling and investigative equipment to professionals and the general public. LA Testing maintains an extensive list of accreditations including: AIHA LAP LLC., AIHA ELLAP, AIHA EMLAP and AIHA IHLAP, NVLAP, CDC ELITE, State of California, State of Hawaii Department of Health and other states. LA Testing, along with the EMSL Analytical, Inc. network, has multiple laboratories throughout California including South Pasadena, Sierra Madre, Garden Grove, San Leandro and San Diego.