“When a company experiences a fire, smoke and soot spread far and wide in incredible ways,” says Leslie Anderson, Vice President of Training at Paul Davis. “Business equipment seems particularly vulnerable. We find soot inside tightly closed items like printers, copiers, phones and electronics, even if they were located far away from the actual fire. It seems far-fetched but fire science explains it all.” 

Did You Know? With stable fuel, heat and oxygen, a fire doubles in size every minute.

During a fire, heat moves toward cold actively. It rises vertically and spreads across interior spaces quickly, pushed by complicated physical forces like convection and density change. As the heat travels, it forces smoke and soot throughout the structure and its contents, even pressing it into enclosed spaces that are not completely airtight. In short, a fire in the southeast corner of the ground floor often inflicts serious damage on office equipment in the distant northwest corner of the third story.

Did You Know? The fire hydrant’s inventor is a mystery because fire destroyed its patent paperwork.

After the flames are doused, business equipment may look normal but it is coated with fire byproducts such as carbon, oils, heavy metals, carcinogens and other dangerous chemicals. The exact substances in the smoke and soot are determined by what combusted. Most modern structural fires, however, spew a toxic soup of byproducts created as synthetic materials burn. 

No matter the exact composition of the deposits, they must be removed to prevent equipment failure in the future. “Equipment exposed to smoke and soot requires immediate professional treatment because fire residue is acidic and begins to degrade material within hours,” says Leslie Anderson, Vice President, Training and Launch for Paul Davis, who adds that smoke odours barely perceptible now can surge in damp weather, too. 

Did You Know? Even a tiny candle flame burns at 1000 degrees Celsius.

Business equipment will need both external and internal cleaning. External surfaces, if not addressed promptly with specialized solutions and degreasers, will gradually develop pitting, staining and material weakness. And the innards of electronics? Seek professional attention now. If these devices were not powered on during the fire, do not turn them on after the fire is out – corroding acids could immediately react and cause device failure.

Did You Know? Spontaneous combustion is a real risk. Even old paper can generate heat as it decomposes.

Grappling with the aftereffects of a fire? Our experienced professionals stand ready 24/7 to restore your essential business equipment because This Is No Time For Second Best®.