4 Complications Caused By and Related to Fire Damage

Any home can fall victim to a fire, and fires can cause severe damage and possible life-threatening injuries. Even after the fire is out, there can be many complications that affect the safety of the home. If you would like to know more, check out these four complications caused by and related to fire damage.

1. Burn Damage

Naturally, the most obvious complication after a fire is burn damage. Fires can destroy many types of materials, including your personal belongings and the materials that make up your home. In addition, some materials may be flammable and combustible, which means they can add fast, powerful fuel to the fire. Some common flammable/combustible materials may include:

  • Nail polish remover
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Gasoline
  • Paint thinner
  • Aerosol cans

On the other hand, there are some materials that are fire-resistant, making them a great choice of building materials if you want to better protect your home from fire. Common fire-resistant materials include:

  • Concrete
  • Stucco siding
  • Brick
  • Metal roofing
  • Fire-resistant glass

On top of that, gypsum, commonly known as drywall, is also fire-resistant. This is the material commonly used to build your home’s interior walls and ceilings. The paper burns, but it burns slowly and added chemicals help to further provide fire-resistant properties. Naturally, some building materials are flame-treated, such as fiberglass insulation, further protecting your home from fire.

2. Water Damage

Water damage may also occur if water was used to put out the fire. Water and moisture quickly promote mold growth, which can spread fast, especially in humid environments. If left ignored, mold may cause some skin, lung, and eye irritation, especially in those with allergies. You may also be more sensitive to mold if you are immune compromised. Ideally, to prevent mold, you want to dry out the house within 24 to 48 hours.

Water can also attract pests, especially if there is standing water. In fact, standing water alone is particularly hazardous. Even if the water used to put out the fire was clean, stagnant water can develop diseases and parasites.  

Water damage may also trigger electrical issues if wires are exposed to water. In fact, before you go inside the house after the fire, make sure the home’s electrical power is shut off at the main source to eliminate the risk of electrocution.

3. Structural Damage

Fires don’t just cause cosmetic damage and destroy your personal items. Depending on how far the fire spread through the house before intervention, it can cause major structural damage to your house. For this reason, don’t go inside your home after a fire until you’ve been given approval. After a fire, the roof and ceiling may be prone to collapse. Other risks include:

  • Falling through damaged floors
  • Falling down or through damaged stairs
  • Walls and doors falling

Additionally, you may be able to spot some signs of structural damage by looking for:

  • New cracks on the walls or ceiling
  • Sagging ceilings/floors
  • Stuck doors and windows

Water damage from putting out the fire may also increase the risk of decay and rot in some materials, especially wood, weakening the structural integrity of the material.

4. Smoke, Chemicals, and Toxins

Even minor fires can cause major issues because of the smoke, chemicals, and various toxins. After a fire, you should clean the surfaces and materials of objects or parts of the home you intend to keep. Some objects, however, are harder to clean than others. Fabric is an absorbent material, and this material is often found in household things like sofas, curtains, bedding, clothing, carpets, etc. Fabric and other absorbent materials can absorb a lot of smoke, chemicals, and toxins, leaving you exposed.

Possible hazards from smoke include:

  • Carbon monoxide
  • Sulfur dioxide
  • Nitrogen oxides
  • Metals

Even small amounts can cause some irritation or minor symptoms, such as headaches and reduced alertness.

If your home is exposed to a fire, you may feel overwhelmed. Luckily, in many cases, your insurance may cover some or all the costs after a disaster. If you would like to learn more, or if you are having trouble with your insurance carrier, contact us at Disaster Adjusting today.