South Pasadena, CA, January 28th, 2020
Late last year, the Contra Costa County Library announced the reopening of their El Sobrante location after the library had been closed for almost two years. Back in early 2018, a fire caused extensive smoke and water damage. The building, originally constructed in the early 1960s, was gutted down to its studs and rebuilt into a modern library.
According to an article in the East Bay Times, an asbestos abatement was also required during the rebuilding efforts in the course of reopening. This is not surprising as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that buildings constructed before 1970 are more likely to contain asbestos. Airborne asbestos can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma, a cancer of the chest and abdominal linings. Pipe or other insulation, ceiling tiles, exterior siding, roof shingles and sprayed on-soundproofing are just some of the many materials found in older buildings that may contain asbestos.
Water damage from fire suppression efforts, even with a relatively small structural fire, can also be extensive and widespread in many instances. The presence of moisture or elevated humidity in any type of building will lead to the growth of mold in a short period of time if not addressed quickly. A building, such as a library filled with paper products, makes for an ideal environment for mold to thrive with the introduction of moisture.
“Most building fires create a tremendous amount of smoke that will travel throughout the structure leaving behind odors and residues far from the actual flames,” said Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager at LA Testing’s Huntington Beach facility. “Smoke is made up of a number of combustion by-products that include ash, soot, char and other materials. The smoke residues can cause corrosion, etching and discoloration that will usually get worse over time if not properly removed.”
The scientists at LA Testing help property owners, facility managers and others identify building damage and potential exposure hazards following a fire. They provide analytical services, sampling supplies, easy-to-use test kits and building inspection tools to detect smoke residues, water damage, mold, odors, lead, asbestos and other contaminants associated with building fires and rebuilding efforts. LA Testing has sponsored an educational video about smoke damage that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/1Ei8z-uJTn0.
To learn more about testing a property for smoke and water damage, odors, mold, asbestos, lead or other indoor air quality (IAQ) and environmental issues, please visit www.LATesting.com, email info@LATesting.com or call (800) 755-1794. For access to test kits, visit www.EMSLTestKits.com.
About LA Testing
LA Testing is California’s leading laboratory for indoor 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-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), CDC ELITE, NVLAP, 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, Huntington Beach, San Leandro, San Diego and Ontario.