The Corrosive Nature of Smoke and Soot
I recently visited a home in Arlington, MA that experienced a grease fire in their kitchen. Fortunately, the homeowners caught it quickly and the fire department responded immediately. The damage was not extremely extensive but there was certainly some work to be done. As I walked the property with our production manager Chris, something caught my eye. It was the stainless steel (at least I assume it was SS) hood vent that was mounted above the stove where the fire started. I noticed that it was corroded and rusting which was odd to me because I was under the impression that stainless steel did not rust. I figured it must have been from the water that the fire department used to douse the flames. I asked Chris if it was from the water and he explained to me that it was actually the fire that corroded the metal. How is that possible? Fire creates smoke and soot which are actually small particles that move through the air. The soot is acidic and can corrode metal. Heat is an accelerant, so this hood was capturing large amounts of soot under extreme heat which was accelerating the corrosiveness of the smoke. You can see in the picture where the flames and soot damaged the hood and not in the surrounding areas. It is important to understand the destructive nature of smoke damage, even if you cannot see it with the naked eye, you must remediate soot as soon as possible to limit the damage it can cause. For example, if your television or computer vents intake soot and it gets inside the components, it can cause corrosion. Furthermore, soot can also conduct electricity causing short circuits. If we arrive at a fire loss we immediately send out all electronics to professional cleaners to remove the smoke from the components inside. If you experience fire and soot damage at your property give SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford and Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland a call immediately to mitigate the damage.