The devastating impact that a fire can have on people’s lives goes far beyond the fire itself. Of course, that’s not to downplay the immediate threat to life that it poses, and the importance of getting it under control before it escalates to an unmanageable situation. The priority must always be to get people safe, and then call the fire service who will work to contain and extinguish the fire.
Unfortunately, even when this has been done, the threat is far from over. Secondary damage, caused by smoke and soot deposits, doesn’t look very nice and can cause damage to the property, but more worryingly it represents a serious health risk. If these tiny black particles are unknowingly inhaled, they can lead to all manner of health complaints, from skin and eye irritation to much more serious conditions like respiratory illnesses and even some cancers.
When a flat in South Kensington, London, caught fire recently, the first concern was naturally to contain the fire and rescue the elderly lady that lived there. A lamp in the flat had been knocked over and had fallen onto a mattress. The heat that this generated had soon led to the mattress catching fire and so the fire brigade were called.
Fortunately, the woman was led to safety and the fire had been mainly contained to the bedroom. As she recovered in hospital, attention was turned to getting the property back to a liveable condition for when she was able to move back home.
What was needed was a professional company to come in – not just to tidy up the aesthetics of the flat, but to give reassurance to the occupant that they will be safe when they return. It would need to be a company that offered, not just an exemplary service, but also a good deal of trust. Experts in soot restoration, London based and can respond quickly.
It would have to be Ideal Response.
The Ideal Solution
While the fire had been contained to the bedroom of the property, the smoke and soot damage had spread into a neighbouring property and to a communal hallway. It had also blown the windows, so there was broken glass to content with all over the property.
As the mattress burned, it produced a yellow powder that had then been spread throughout the property.
Our team arrived onsite for the soot deposit cleaning in London, wearing full PPE – including FP3R face masks, full coveralls, gloves, protective eyewear and safety boots. We then created an enclosure around the affected area to seal it off and prevent any further contamination. Our commitment to creating a safe environment stretches to our staff as well as our customers.
Next, we used specialist air scrubbers – portable devices that draw in the air and pass it through several high-grade filters which then remove any soot particles from the air, before returning it to the atmosphere. While this is an important step for the cleaning process, it also ensures a safer environment for our staff to work in.
More of our specialist equipment was deployed then – our industrial vacuums with HEPA filters. These were used to target the loose surface soot, which is done to make sure that no other carcinogenic particles were released into the air.
It was at this stage that we realised that the carpet had become stained, so we tackled this with our Ninja carpet cleaner and carpet shampoo.
Finally, our team performed a manual clean of all of the surfaces in the affected areas using a mild alkali wash. This was done to balance out the pH level – soot and smoke deposits are acidic, so the alkali helps to balance it out in order to reduce the chance of permanent etching of the surfaces.
Due to the nature of gaining access to different properties, particularly during a stressful time for people, we had to go back on four different occasions to complete all of the work that was required.
The result, though, was emphatic – the stained carpets had been thoroughly cleaned and every single trace of the fire had been completely removed from every affected area in the building. Even the smell of smoke and soot had been removed.
As the photos will illustrate, the difference was remarkable. The smoke and soot deposit cleaning in London had been a complete success.