Austin, TX, October 29th, 2015 -- The Hidden Pines Fire consumed over 4,500 acres and destroyed dozens of homes along with several businesses. The destructive wildfire resulted in the evacuation of entire neighborhoods with hundreds of people having to leave their properties and reside in shelters and other locations for days.
As the fire began to be contained last week, some area residents were allowed to begin returning to their homes and businesses. Most have been fortunate to find their properties untouched by flames, but many of these same properties may now have varying degrees of smoke damage.
Wildfires produce a tremendous amount of smoke that can travel great distances in the prevailing wind. The smoke will infiltrate homes and buildings and can cause widespread property damage. Smoke is made up of a number of combustion by-products that may include ash, soot, char, and other materials. The corrosive effect of smoke residues can begin to cause extensive etching, corrosion, and discoloration as time passes. It can also cause lingering odors that can be unpleasant and cause respiratory issues for some people.
“Property damage and indoor air quality issues due to wildfire smoke is readily evident in some circumstances, but other times it can be quite subtle,” said Hollis L. Horner, President of Indoor Environmental Consultants, Inc. “For those who have property insurance their policy may cover smoke damage, but it is sometimes left to the property owner to provide proof of damages. At IEC, our indoor environmental experts provide smoke damage and residue testing services to help in these situations. Testing can also be instrumental in determining the effectiveness of cleaning and remediation efforts.”
For properties with extensive smoke damage that results in the removal of building materials, IEC cautions residents with older homes and businesses to be aware of potential asbestos and lead exposure risks that may be present. Both lead-based paints and asbestos-containing materials were commonly used up until the 1970s and disturbing these materials can be hazardous if not done properly.
To learn more about IEC’s smoke residue, lead, and asbestos services or other building science, environmental, occupational, and indoor air quality (IAQ) issues, please visit www.iecinc.net, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (877) 432-8378.
About Indoor Environmental Consultants, Inc.
IEC began operations in 2001 with some of the nation’s most seasoned professional indoor air quality consultants who already had over 70 years of combined experience. The indoor environmental quality firm specializes in field investigations and assessments of commercial, institutional and residential buildings. Their services, related to fungal (mold), chemical, bacterial, asbestos and particulate pollutants, are offered throughout Texas, the Gulf Coast and the Southwest. IEC is licensed by the Texas Department of State Health Services as a mold assessment company (ACO0114) and an asbestos consultant agency (100329).