Jun 20, 2020 0

What You Need to Know About Fire Damage Classes, Dangers, and Cleanup

Fire remains one of mankind’s most dangerous foes, despite modern advances in prevention and fire-resistant materials. Each year, fire damage ravages hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses throughout the United States. And because fire is such a destructive force, any blaze in a home or business is almost certain to cause at least some level of damage. To understand just how destructive fire can be, it is important to understand the different classes of fire damage and the risks they can pose to your home and health.

Six Different Fire Damage Classes

As a rule, fire damage fall into one of six different classes. The type of fire damage your property suffers will often play a major role in determining the level of damage sustained. Those six fire damage classifications include:

  • Class A Fire Damage: This type of fire damage occurs as a result of fires that involve materials like cloth, wood, plastic, paper, rubber, and similar flammable solids. 
  • Class B Fire Damage: Fire damage in this class involves fires related to flammable liquids, as well as solid materials that can liquify. Some common examples of Class B fire damage include fires involving oil, paint, gasoline, and similar flammable liquids. It’s important to note, however, that cooking fats and oils are not included in this class.
  • Class C Fire Damage: This class of fire damage involves flammable gases like propane, natural gas, hydrogen, butane, and others. 
  • Class D Fire Damage: Fires damage defined as Class D can include damage involving flammable metals like magnesium, sodium, and potassium. 
  • Class E Fire Damage: Class E damage includes Class A and B factors, but also includes electrical elements. Those added elements directly impact how firefighters deal with the blaze, as well as the severity and type of damage left in the fire’s wake.
  • Class F Fire Damage: Fires involving cooking oils and fats fall into this final category. Because these substances can burn much hotter than other flammable liquids, the damage can be far more extensive as well.

The Most Common Types of Fire Damage

In addition to those six basic classifications, fire damage can differ in severity based on the type of fire. Kitchen fires are among the most common types of fire in homes, and often occur due to improper use of frying pans. Typically, these incidents involve grease fires that can be extremely dangerous and cause extensive damage to the affected area. Electrical fires from faulty wiring, bad outlets, and degraded breaker boxes are another common problem. In addition, fires can occur as a result of improper use of appliances like portable heaters.

Secondary Damage from Fires

It’s also important to understand that direct damage from the flames are likely to be accompanied by secondary damage as well. That damage may include:

  • Damage from Corrosive Materials. Depending on the cause of the fire, your property may experience secondary damage related to things like grease, oils, rubber, etc. 
  • Smoke Damage. This type of damage is common for any serious blaze and involves soot and ash that covers items and parts of the structure that survived the blaze. That residue will leave behind a strong smoke smell that can only be removed with a special cleaning process.
  • Water Damage. Since water is used to put out most major blazes, that process typically results in at least some level of water damage. That may mean everything from standing water in the home to drenched walls, floors, and furnishings. 

Fire Damage Dangers You Need to Recognize

Fire damage is nothing to be taken lightly. While everyone recognizes the physical damage that fire can cause, it is vital to understand that fires leave behind many health risks too. Consider:

  • Smoke damage can impair breathing and cause lingering health concerns. The human body cannot properly breathe in environments where particles are floating in the air. Smoke, ash, soot, and other particles pose a real risk to both humans and pets. 
  • Mold from water damage can also be a serious issue. This is an all-too-common problem for homeowners who try to clean up fire damage on their own. Without the proper equipment, it can be difficult to ensure that you have fully dried out the affected area. Unfortunately, any remaining moisture could create a welcoming environment for molds that can eventually cause serious health concerns.
  • Unseen structural damage could also become an issue. While most fire damage will be readily visible, more serious fires can sometimes weaken the structure in ways that are not always apparent.

How Professional Fire Damage Cleaning and Restoration Can Help

Because different fire classes and types can create different levels of damage and risk, it is always important to make sure that you have the help you need to properly clean up and restore your property in the aftermath of any serious fire. At Ross Cleaning and Restoration, our fire and water damage experts have the experience and expertise needed to thoroughly cleanup any fire-impacted area and restore it to its former state. Give us a call today to learn more about your home’s fire damage and get the restoration help you need.

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