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How Smoke and Fire Damage Can Affect Your Commercial Property

How Smoke and Fire Damage Can Affect Your Commercial Property

Business can be tough and things can go wrong, but when there has been a fire on your property and you’re faced with commercial fire damage, it can quickly become overwhelming.

Fire is an incredibly destructive element, and leaves behind devastating fire-damaged buildings when it rips through a business. From smoke damage to unsafe structures, the impact can be widespread and extremely costly to restore.

Professionally led commercial fire damage restoration is vital if your business is to be back up and running as soon as possible. The way smoke and fire damage can affect your commercial property is extensive, and knowing what to expect in the coming days and weeks can help you to manage the fallout.

Our experts are giving you a helping hand by outlining exactly what can happen when commercial fire damage has occurred, including:

  • Types of Commercial Smoke and Fire Damage
  • Timeline of Smoke and Fire Damage To Your Commercial Property
  • Effects Of Smoke and Fire Damage To Your Commercial Property
    • 1. Smoke Inhalation
    • 2. Invalid Insurance Claim
    • 3. Business Operation
    • 4. Damage To The Stock And Property
  • How To Clean Up Smoke and Fire Damage To Your Commercial Property
  • How To Prevent Commercial Property Fires
    • 1. Reduce Fire Hazards
    • 2. Install Safety Equipment
    • 3. Install Sprinklers
    • 4. Ensure Dust Extractors Are Maintained And Cleaned
  • Does Liability Insurance Cover Fire Damage?
  • How Rainbow International Can Help

Types of Commercial Smoke and Fire Damage

The types of smoke and commercial fire damage within your business’ building depends on what types of items and materials burned in the fire.

The most common types of smoke and fire damage found in commercial fire-damaged buildings are:

  • Protein smoke
  • Dry smoke
  • Wet smoke
  • Fuel smoke

Knowing what has burned in the fire is important in supporting the restoration process, as smoke and soot cleaning can take a long time.

Protein smoke is most commonly produced in cooking accidents in kitchens and creates greasy and difficult-to-see smoke and soot particles. The signs of it include discolouration and a strong smoke smell, and it is the result of organic material burning in a low-heat fire.

Dry smoke is powdery in texture, rather than greasy, and doesn’t smell as much as other types of smoke either. It’s produced by fast-burning, high-temperature fires that are usually caused by wood or paper materials. Because of its powdery texture, it gets into all types of nooks and crannies and the acidic nature will damage electrical goods.

Wet smoke is produced by low-heat and slow-burning fires from materials such as rubber and plastic damage and is greasy, thick, black and incredibly strong in odour. It’s very difficult to clean and will leave rust and corrosion behind if not dealt with properly.

Fuel smoke is self-explanatory and comes from burnt fuels such as oil, petrol or kerosene. If your business’ commercial building houses these types of fuels, there should be fire prevention measures already in place. Fuel smoke is characterised by the thick and sticky residue that is very smelly and ruins almost anything it touches if it’s not removed quickly.

Timeline of Smoke and Fire Damage To Your Commercial Property

The timeline of a commercial fire quickly leads into the restoration timeline once it has been put out.

The smoke and fire damage to a commercial fire-damaged building will worsen over time. In the first few minutes, the fire and smoke will cause discolouration of leftover materials and the destruction of the completely burnt elements.

As the hour’s pass, the stains will become more pronounced and smoke particles will begin to settle into any porous materials left in the building. Metals will also tarnish and appliances and furniture may also become discoloured.

In the upcoming days, it is essential to have professionals handle the situation. Smoke and soot will begin to permanently discolour any walls and ceilings affected, and rust will build up, as the scent of smoke and burning will become more permanently set in.

Effects Of Smoke and Fire Damage To Your Commercial Property

The effects of smoke and fire damage to your commercial property can vary depending on the type of smoke damage, and the types of materials that are burnt.

The effects will still be devastating if not handled correctly and can impact your business severely, regardless of the type of smoke and fire it is. Overall, smoke is acidic and commercial fire damage will slowly corrode the building, damage electrical appliances and a strong scent will set into the remains.

These types of issues can take a long time to resolve if they’re not handled by a professional, so get in touch with Rainbow International today if you need support.

1. Smoke Inhalation

Smoke inhalation isn’t just about having a cough or a tight chest for a few weeks. Smoke from any fire is made up of toxic materials that are hazardous to our health and to the building itself. These chemicals can severely damage our health and can cause the following health effects:


Your skin and eyes are the barriers to the inside of your body and will often be the first thing that smoke and soot interact with on your body. The chemicals that makeup smoke will then irritate your skin and eyes and can lead you to develop rashes or more severe eye issues in the future.

Breathing problems

If you’re directly near a burning fire or you enter a fire-damaged building without professional equipment you will breathe in smoke and soot particles.

These toxic chemicals will then cause your respiratory system, from your nose to your lungs, to burn and cause you to cough. If left untreated, this can then aggravate the lungs deep down and lead to more complex and serious health issues further down the line.

2. Invalid Insurance Claim

Documenting evidence of the smoke and fire damage across the entire commercial property is so important to avoid an invalid insurance claim.

Smoke and commercial fire damage restoration can be very expensive due to the size of business properties and the contents within them.

To be able to maximise your chances of a full insurance payout, begin documenting evidence where you can. Only approach what is safe to do so and take detailed pictures, and instruct the professionals to take pictures for evidence in the areas that you cannot reach.

3. Business Operation

Business operations will also struggle to continue if you only use your commercial building to conduct business and have no other premises. If this is the case, carefully document the times that you were not able to operate within, make all of the necessary communications to suppliers, contractors and customers and set a date of return.

All of these measures will immediately relieve you of unnecessary stress and also provide you with a stronger standing if you’d like to claim back any profit losses from stalled business operations.

4. Damage To The Stock And Property

The effect of smoke and commercial fire damage also transfers over to the stock and property your business has ownership of.

Content restoration is a very important part of any kind of commercial fire damage restoration process as a business’ value is often directly tied to the stock and property they own. Professional restoration experts will remove any contents that have avoided damage for you to store elsewhere, and will then begin the removal and restoration of damaged stock and property.

From here, they will go to every effort to clean up any smoke damage and fire damage and ensure they’re safe to return to the building. However, food and drink products are not to be restored if they have been affected by smoke and fire and will have to be disposed of.

How To Clean Up Smoke and Fire Damage To Your Commercial Property

It’s no secret that smoke and commercial fire damage will take a long time to resolve, but there are ways to speed up the process and get the best results at the same time.

Hiring professionals who are well versed in commercial fire damage restoration will save you time, money and your health by allowing you to focus on the business side of things. They will also get the job done much more efficiently, saving you time and consequently, money.

To begin, the professionals will encourage air circulation to rid the space of the smell of smoke. This will be done by opening doors and windows, along with high-powered, industrial fans.

From here, the air ducts will be inspected to spot any signs of smoke and soot particles that may be stuck to the walls of the air duct. Air filters will also be cleaned and replaced, and air sanitiser will be sprayed to rid the space of the smoke smell further and also begin the cleaning process.

Then the cleanup efforts will begin, with completely damaged items including parts of the building, furniture, stock and materials disposed of carefully. Any remaining contents that can be restored will be taken away from the building to be worked on later.

Cleaning up smoke and soot can take a long time and requires a variety of techniques. Painted surfaces will be sealed, appliances will be reviewed, restored and PAT tested and all evidence of the fire will be scrubbed away.

How To Prevent Commercial Property Fires

Prevention of commercial fire damage is essential if you’re to avoid disruption to your business, costly restoration services and unnecessary stress.

You can lessen the chances of a fire happening within your commercial property by implementing the following expert advice:

1. Reduce Fire Hazards

The first step may sound obvious but it is essential and is often missed as people are not always aware of what a fire hazard is.

Reducing fire hazards includes minimising the following:

  • Arson
  • Cooking
  • Smoking materials
  • Open flame (candles/incense)
  • Electrical hazards (wiring, appliances and equipment)
  • Residential furnishings
  • Accumulation of combustible materials
  • Improper handling and storage of combustible/flammable liquids
  • Use of halogen lamps
  • Space heaters
  • Hot work hazards (cutting, welding)

2. Install Safety Equipment

Safety equipment should always be accessible in any workplace, especially if you’re to have the best possible outcome if a fire should occur.

This includes things such as fire extinguishers for different types of fire, fire blankets and fire buckets. But, simply having this equipment in the building is not enough. Anyone present in the building should know where the nearest safety equipment is, the safe way to use it and the steps they should take once they’ve used it.

3. Install Sprinklers

Sprinklers can be an expensive addition to a commercial property, but they can stop a fire from spreading. This will save you money from damaged building elements and stocks, but most importantly, sprinklers will save lives.

4. Ensure Dust Extractors Are Maintained And Cleaned

Dust extractors are a great way to keep workplaces clean and sanitary, and a better place to work overall. They’re especially important if your business is using commercial property to manufacture products where dust and particles are often released into the air.

However, this dust can act as fuel when left to build up inside of dust extractors, a simple ignition can cause a huge fire that will burn hot and quick. Cleaning them regularly and having strict maintenance schedules will avoid this build-up and lessen the chances of a fire.

Does Liability Insurance Cover Fire Damage?

Whether your insurance covers fire damage based on liability will depend entirely on the policy you have taken out.

Insurance policies have their limitations and exclusions, so knowing what you have in yours is important. Understanding what they are and how your income after the fire will affect your payout will help you to make decisions following the damage.

How Rainbow International Can Help

Rainbow International’s team has decades of experience handling fire damage restoration for commercial buildings. Supporting businesses through these very difficult and stressful times is part of the job, and making sure you can trust the professionals handling the restoration is so important.

Our experts have all of the professional equipment and technical knowledge needed to restore the business, and spot any potential problems that you could be facing down the line, and resolve them.

If you want to have the best result from a restoration service, avoid costly damage from future problems and have confidence that your business can get back to work, Rainbow International is the service for you.

Get In Touch With Rainbow International For Expert Help!

Our team of experts understand how important your business is to you and how speed is of the essence so you can get back to regular operations. They’ll be ready to tackle any type of fire damage and smoke restoration and will support you throughout the entire process, so get in touch to enlist their help today.

Published: 24 Aug 2022