Multifamily Residential Building Fires in Puerto Rico and Exposure Issues Building Occupants Encounter Afterwards
Zimmetry Environmental provides building assessments and indoor environmental quality testing to identify smoke residues, odors, water damage, mold, lead and asbestos hazards following building fires throughout the Caribbean.
Bayamon, Puerto Rico -- Fires in multifamily residential buildings happen all too frequently in Puerto Rico and across the rest of the United States. In fact, the National Fire Data Center reports that multifamily residential building fires accounted for an estimated 109,700 reported fires each year from 2013 to 2015.
This is a significant number of fires for multifamily residential buildings, which include structures such as apartments, town houses, row houses, condominiums and other tenement properties. During those years, cooking (74% of fires) was the leading cause of multifamily residential building fires. Of the cooking fires, 93% were small, confined fires with limited damage. However, even with a relatively small fire, smoke can impact other units in most buildings as it travels through shared walls, ceilings, attics, hallways, elevator shafts and other open spaces. Smoke leaves behind odors and residues which can cause corrosion, etching and discoloration within the property.
The fire suppression efforts used to put out a fire can also cause water damage to building materials, furnishings and belongings. Water used to put out a fire in a multilevel building will make its way down to the lowest level it can reach, typically resulting in water damage on multiple floors. While water will often leave behind obvious signs of damage, even water and moisture behind walls and ceilings, without obvious signs of its presence, can cause problems and quickly lead to the growth of mold in as short as 48 hours. Airborne mold spores can spread in a manner similar to that of smoke, impacting multiple units and affecting the indoor air quality (IAQ) of the building.
“It’s not just smoke residues, odors, water damage and mold that become a problem after a fire in a multifamily residential building,” said Harry Pena, President of Zimmetry Environmental. “In many instances, these buildings still have lead-based paints and asbestos-containing materials. If disturbed during repair activities without the proper safety precautions in place, any workers and building occupants could be at risk.”
Helping building owners, managers and tenants following a fire are the building science and indoor environmental quality (IEQ) professionals at Zimmetry Environmental. Their experts provide post-fire inspections and environmental testing to identify smoke and water damage, odors, mold, lead-based paints, asbestos-containing materials and other potential hazards. Zimmetry also recently sponsored an educational video about IEQ concerns following a fire in a multifamily residential building that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/ZSBcpoBHOfY
To learn more about Zimmetry Environmental and their building science, indoor air quality, environmental, and compliance testing and consulting services, please visit www.zimmetry.com, call (787) 995.0005 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Zimmetry Environmental
Since 2002, Zimmetry Environmental has been providing environmental consulting services to building owners and managers, architects, engineers, EHS professionals and Fortune 500 companies. The company is based in Puerto Rico and provides services across the Caribbean and Central America. The professionals at Zimmetry offer environmental compliance, indoor air quality, asbestos, lead-based paint, Phase I ESAs and general environmental consulting services.