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Category Press Release
Publish Date 3/25/2015
Author Paul Cochrane
Title Smoke & Water Damage a Common Issue Following a Building Fire
Introduction EMSL Analytical provides testing services to identify smoke residues, water damage and microbial concerns in properties damaged by flames.

Cinnaminson, NJ, March 25th, 2015

Each year in the United States, fire departments respond to over 1 million fires of all types according to the U.S. Fire Administration.  In addition to the injuries and deaths caused by some fires, property damage amounts to billions of dollars.

A large number of these fires occur in residential, commercial and institutional properties and may be the result of everything from cooking mishaps, lightning strikes and electrical malfunctions to arson.  Regardless of what caused a fire, the damage and destruction caused by flames and fire suppression efforts to extinguish them are often extensive and obvious.  Other times the damage may be more subtle and even out of sight.

Depending on the intensity of a building fire, type of structure it takes place in and proximity to other homes or buildings, it is possible for there to be additional property damage in other parts of the same building or in other buildings not directly touched by flames. Two types of property damage that may not be immediately evident include smoke and water damage.

Smoke produced by a building fire can be carried some distance in the wind where it often infiltrates adjoining properties and nearby buildings.  This smoke is filled with combustion by-products that include soot, ash and char that can have damaging effects to both properties and to humans breathing the smoke filled air.  In addition to leaving behind unpleasant odors, smoke residues can cause corrosion, etching and discoloration within a property.

Water damage from fire suppression efforts can also damage building materials, furnishings and belongings.  There may be obvious signs of damage, such as standing water, but even moisture behind walls and ceilings that is out of sight can cause wood rot and the growth of mold that can also impact the indoor air quality (IAQ) of the building.

“If a property has been damaged by a fire or is even located near where one has occurred, the property owner or tenants should be on the lookout for both obvious and subtle signs of damage and potential problems caused by smoke residues and moisture issues,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc.  “Even repairing damaged properties could cause exposure concerns due to lead-based paints and asbestos that was already in the property.  At EMSL we offer all of the testing services, sampling supplies, field instrumentation and even easy to use test kits to help identify these types of problems.”

To view any of EMSL’s test kits please visit: EMSL has also sponsored an educational video about fire, smoke and water damage that can be seen at:

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, call (800) 220-3675 or email

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, industrial hygiene, food and materials testing services and products to government agencies, industry professionals and the general public.  The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.

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