When a home or business structure burns, wood is often one of the major underlying sources of fuel. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a smoky wood fire generates fine particulate matter that can cause eye irritation, congestion and even illnesses like bronchitis. Yet, the harm caused by a structural fire typically goes well beyond respiratory symptoms. Consider the following:

Fire Damage: Toxic Chemicals Are Everywhere

Burning wood releases dangerous, unhealthy chemicals, including acrolein, benzene, formaldehyde and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). A structural fire also burns plastics and resins that release additional harmful chemicals like dioxins and hydrochloric acid and even heavy metals. These materials adversely impact the health of people in different ways. For example, some chemicals can undermine a person’s immune system or damage their nervous system.

Health Effects Can Be Severe After a Fire Damage

The fine particles and chemicals can also make asthmatics experience breathing difficulties that require emergency attention. These materials can even trigger heart problems like cardiac arrhythmia and heart attacks. They’ve also been known to cause seizures and strokes. If someone has a pre-existing heart condition or lung disease, they can die from exposures. Additionally, some toxic materials generated from a fire cause cancer.

Other Health Hazards Exist from Fire Damage

After a fire, your home or business is no longer a “stable” site. It poses other types of harm beyond exposure to toxins. For example, structural materials weakened by a fire can cause falling debris or the entire structure to collapse in on itself. Sometimes, the structure looks fine but has hidden damage. For example, a wood floor that looks fine might cave in when you walk across it because of weakened underlying supports. Fires can also destroy plumbing and cause flooding that leaves behind dangerous bacteria and other microorganisms that make people sick.

At Lotus Restoration Services, our team provides short guides like this one to help residents and business owners in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Chandler, Gilbert and Tempe better prepare for and understand emergency fire and flood scenarios. The health hazards associated with a fire or flood make hiring a specialist with experience in hazardous waste cleanup and disposal a critical safety measure. Our professionals are available around the clock to answer questions and respond to emergencies. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a free site evaluation.