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Shopping Mall Fire Damage Recovery
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
Fires occurring in shopping malls may cause serious damage to one or more establishments, depending on how far the fire was able to spread before being extinguished. If there were no fire suppression systems in place, then the damage could be extensive, including smoke damage to other areas of the mall. As with any case of fire damage, it is important to begin the fire damage restoration and cleanup process as soon as possible.
If it hasnít already been done, all utilities serving the damaged area should be shut off at their source. Electricity may spark a new blaze, and electrical fires are even more dangerous than the traditional type. Gas may also trigger an ignition or worse, an explosion, if it is combined with heat, fire, or even smoldering ashes. Once the utilities are off, they should not be turned back on until all damage has been repaired and the area restored to its pre-loss condition, and even then an inspection should be performed by qualified personnel before any switch is thrown.
All loose items, such as furniture, computers, appliances, and product/inventory should be removed from the damaged area and cleaned or repaired elsewhere. In many cases, store product will have to be replaced. Fire damaged restaurants may lose all or most of their stored food. There will no doubt be a substantial financial impact to the facility as a result of the fire.
Other Steps to Take in Fire Recovery
Air circulation will be a must in order to get rid of smoke odor and soot residue. In fact, soot particles may clog air filters rapidly during the cleanup process which means frequent replacement of these filters. Windows and doors will need to be opened, and fans, blowers, and air movers brought in to help circulate the air and remove smoke odor. In many case, the odor will not be fully removable, which will mean the affected surface will need to be repainted and sealed in order to prevent the smoke odor from becoming a recurring problem.
Walls and ceilings will need to be washed down and cleaned, many times more than once, to get rid of the charring and burn marks that always accompany fire.
In many cases, the act of extinguishing a fire may result in water damage, since water and foam are the two biggest sources of extermination materials. Of course, water mixed with ash and soot makes for a whole new level of mess to clean up, but unchecked water damage may result in long term subsequent problems such as mold. This is another reason why fire damage recovery will need to begin as soon as possible.
All systems and structural repairs will need to be examined and approved before any further certificate of occupancy may be administered.
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