Cochrane & Associates, LLC

Property Fires Cause both Smoke and Water Damage Issues


Source: Cochrane & Associates, LLC

The building science experts at Sussex Environmental Health Consultants provide critical services in the aftermath of fires.

Lewes, DE, June 1st, 2011 -- Last week a police officer responding to an apartment fire in Baltimore’s Mid-Town Belvedere had to be taken to the hospital following smoke inhalation.  The fire department quickly arrived and fortunately no other injuries were reported.


Following a fire in a home or business the tenants and property owners are faced with rebuilding their lives.  Not only does the property, and often times surrounding properties, need to be repaired due to the actual fire, but the property now also likely has environmental issues. 


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.  Often times it becomes necessary to document through testing that there is indeed smoke damage for insurance purposes.


In addition, the water used to extinguish a property fire will not only put out the fire, but will also soak building materials and belongings.  “It only takes 24 to 48 hours for mold to begin growing when these materials become wet,” reported Susan White, Ph.D., CMC, President of Sussex Environmental Health Consultants (SEHC), a Delaware based environmental consulting firm.  “Mold can quickly multiply and begin releasing spores into the air that can cause allergic reactions, trigger asthma attacks and even cause fungal infections in susceptible individuals. Rebuilding efforts can also aerosolize asbestos fibers and lead from household items containing these dangerous materials.  To prevent future environmental issues and to ensure the property is healthy enough for future building occupants it is often necessary to have an environmental study completed to identify potential issues and to ensure they are properly addressed during the reconstruction efforts,” she continued.


SEHC has cosponsored 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, IAQ or health and safety services, please visit, email or call (302) 947-1810.


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.

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