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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Different Types of Soot

9/16/2019 (Permalink)

Dark black cloud of Soot and Smoke coming from a Chimney Fire Soot and Smoke coming from a Chimney Fire

This past week, I got some more field experience in fire and soot damage. I had no idea there was different kinds of soot, and different ways of optimal removal.  Each job is unique and offers it's own challenges, but we can broadly classify soot in a few categories. 

  • Wet/Oil Soot
    When Plastics, rubber or oil is burned, leaving behind a sticky and smeary residue. It has a distinct electrical burnt smell. Also the most dangerous to inhale and clean up, as it is full of toxins from the plastic, rubber or oil that burned. 
  • Dry Soot
    Usually from natural materials, ex. Untreated wood, Plant material, Paper, Lint, cotton/textile clothing. Most of these burn very fast and very hot, quickly escalating across the area, and consuming everything in it's path.
  • Fuel Oil Soot
    Commonly found in oil furnaces, Caused by improperly maintained systems, or damaged parts. This will cause an internal combustion, damaging the machine and possibly spreading to the area around it.

  • Protein Soot
    Typically food or kitchen type fires, with long lasting smells, ex. burnt popcorn. This type of soot is very light, but will build up over time, and leave a slightly stick surface on walls and ceilings. Will eventually discolor everything. This requires a great deal of time and effort to clean up, with a long deodorization method used.

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