School Fire and Smoke Restoration Service

The Challenge

A fire is one of the most devastating events that can happen to anyone and in this case to a community. Fire damage can have catastrophic consequences on a buildings structure. The chemicals and particles generated in the fire and smoke are also highly corrosive and carcinogenic.

The damage that fires can cause was made very clear in this instance. An electrical fire took place in a localised area, causing significant damage to two classrooms and the accompanying corridor. The fire left a large amount of soot and ash throughout the affected areas. It also created a void due to the fire damage. The pressurisation in the area caused the soot and ash to be forced through the void.

Fire & Smoke Cleaning Services
Technicians in Full PPE
Fire and Smoke Dmaage on Walls and Ceiling
Fire & Smoke Damage

Spreading it to a larger area and coating the surfaces and contents in the harmful particulates. This would prove to be one of the biggest challenges during the process. This was due to the sheer number of contents that needed to be cleaned. Our technicians had to clean each individual bookcase and book that had been contaminated with the soot and ash. They also cleaned the other contents affected during the fire.

Localised Fire Damage

Although the fire was contained to a localised area the smoke from the fire was able to travel throughout the entire school building. The unpleasant odour caused by the smoke made it impossible for staff or students to enter the school. This posed another challenge for our team as the new school year was approaching quickly. This made it vital that we had the fire and smoke cleaning and smoke odour removal service complete in the agreed upon time frame.

The school knew time was of the essence so took steps to solve the problem. They contacted our experts and provided us with a detailed account of the situation and wanted to know if we could help. Our experts put together a proposal and sent it over to the client as soon as possible.

The Ideal Response – Fire & Smoke Damage Cleaning Service

In order to successfully complete this job, our solution was to focus on the two separate aspects of the damage. Our first job would be to deal with the direct result of the fire damage. This would involve our technicians manually cleaning down all surfaces and removing all traces of soot and ash. Once the surfaces and contents have been cleaned, the next area of focus was the smoke odour that had spread throughout the school. During the clean, the individual items located in the affected areas must be hand cleaned by the technicians. The attention to detail of our technicians is paramount in this part of the clean.

The safety of our technicians is always considered before any work begins on a job. Due to the hazards that fire damage presents, our technicians are equipped with FFP3 Masks. As well as full safety equipment when on site. Throughout the clean we also used tower scaffolding to reach higher areas that would have otherwise been impossible to reach and clean.

The first step of the fire clean is broken down into three phases:

  • Phase 1: HEPA Vacuums are used on the affected surfaces and the air to remove the hazardous particles from the fire and smoke. High Efficiency Particulate Air Vacuums are equipped with filters capable of catching 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns in size. We use this equipment to ensure that the harmful particles from the fire are removed from the surfaces and air.
  • Phase 2: Once all traces of soot and ash have been removed from the surfaces using the HEPA vacuum. Our technicians will then manually wipe down the surfaces using cleaning chemicals and rags. We use Unsmoke Degrease All to further clean the surfaces and remove any greasy or oily residue left from the fire. Unsmoke Un-Soot is also used to create a long-lasting barrier that will aid in the prevention of particulate release from a surface. This is the final step in the chemical washdown as it effectively seals the surface once it has been cleaned.
  • Phase 3: ULV Foggers are used to sanitise the air and remove any particles that may still have remained after the initial HEPA Vacuuming. The ULV Foggers will also remove any unpleasant odours that may have been in the air.

The second stage of the clean is the fire smoke odour removal. The smoke was able to spread through the entire school which meant the unpleasant smoke odour remained. ULV Foggers are used for smoke odour removal as well as air and surface decontamination.

Fire smoke odour removal
ULV Foggers used during Smoke Odour Removal

The Result – Fire and Smoke Restoration

A job of this importance must be done to the highest standard and in the most efficient time frame possible. Due to the nature of fires and the dangers that come because of them it was paramount that we were able to remove all traces of the fire. Not only make sure that the school was ready for the new academic year but that everyone who enters the school is safe.

The particles and chemicals generated in fires can be highly carcinogenic, this fact combined with the number of people in the school and the amount of time they spend on site makes our job vital. We succeeded in delivering the service and ensuring that the school was safe for all. The void created by the fire in the ceiling was also encapsulated due to the time frame we were working with.

We left the building fully cleaned and signed off with the use of the white glove test. The white glove test is exactly how it sounds. Someone will run the hand over the cleaned surfaces whilst wearing a white glove. If the glove has any ash or soot after the test then the surfaces will be cleaned once again. To pass the white glove test the glove must be free of any soot and ash or other types of dirt. As well as passing the white glove test, we successfully completed the service in the agreed upon time frame. As a result of our hard work and our technician’s devotion to getting the job done, the school year was able to commence, and students and staff were able to start on time.

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