Beltsville, Maryland, August 2, 2022
Last month, a small fire broke out in a kitchen at an apartment complex in Chesapeake, Virginia. According to media reports, the building’s sprinkler system quickly put out the fire in the third floor unit, but the water caused enough damage to force residents from thirty apartments to have to temporarily relocate.
Water damage from sprinklers and the efforts of firefighters in a building can impact large areas of a structure. The water will always seek its way to the lowest level causing both visible damage and water in areas that are out of sight, such as behind walls, ceilings and under floors. This moisture often results in the growth of mold in as short as a few days. Once mold begins to grow, even when it is in areas that are not visible, it can impact the indoor environmental quality (IEQ) of the building.
While there weren’t reports of significant smoke damage from the fire in Virginia, quite often fires in a multi-tenant complex can cause widespread smoke damage as it travels throughout the units and floors. The smoke is made up of a number of combustion by-products that include ash, soot, char and other materials. It can leave behind odors and residues which can cause corrosion, etching and discoloration that can get worse over time.
“Another serious concern in many buildings that have experienced a fire is the possible presence of lead-based paints and asbestos-containing materials,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Efforts to dry and repair any fire, smoke or water damage could aerosolize these materials if the proper safety precautions are not taken. At EMSL, we have laboratories across North America that offer laboratory testing services for smoke residues, mold, odors, lead, asbestos and other potential exposure risks. We also provide all of the sampling supplies needed, building inspection tools, easy-to-use IEQ kits and personal protective equipment.”
EMSL has sponsored an educational video about potential IEQ concerns following a fire in a multifamily residential building that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/ZSBcpoBHOfY
To learn more about testing for smoke and water damage, odors, mold, asbestos, lead or other indoor environmental quality issues, please visit www.EMSL.com, call (800) 220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com. For access to IEQ test kits, visit www.EMSLTestKits.com.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP <797>, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products, and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA-LAP, LLC (AIHA-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP, and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at www.EMSL.com for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.