Tell us a little about this project?
We got a call about a fire/water from assisted living this morning around 9:30. The water was caused by the fire suppression. It seems that one of the residents was smoking in a room and set his mattress on fire. We were called out to do the water mitigation.
Upon arrival, we saw that there were eight rooms affected: four rooms upstairs and four downstairs. Ceilings, saturated carpet, and vinyl flooring were affected.
Normally, we go in and assess. Then, we begin mitigation, which consists of extracting the water and removing any base and ventilating walls. At this time, they’ve only given us permission to pull base and ventilate and set drying equipment. Tomorrow, we’ll reassess and see if there’s any part of the demo we need to do.
The fire started and set off the upstairs sprinklers. That water traveled downstairs to the units below, which were occupied by residents and affected them.Those residents are now being relocated because those rooms are unsafe to be in with all the equipment we’re going to be running.
So, can you tell me a little bit about the equipment you’re bringing and the crew you’re going to be running?
Yes, we use air movers and dehumidifiers. We set some air scrubbers which will help filtrate the air and different types of smoke smell in the area. The air movers actually blow on the substrate, and the moisture goes into the air, the dehumidifiers capture the moisture out of the air and heat up the substrate to make it sweat to release moisture. Then that water is dispelled down a drain or into a trash can of some sort.
Man, I’m really glad you’re doing this and not me. That is a process. How about how many guys does that take?
We have seven guys on site right now.
Our estimator went out a little bit after I went out to assess so that we can get a scope of work to the customer on what we’re going to be doing, how much equipment we’re setting, what kind of demo we’re going to be doing, and then we will wait for further approval from corporate before we do any other demo.
Makes sense. Did the client have any concerns before you got started in terms of how they were seeing the project?
Of course, they want to know what you’re going to do and how much equipment we’ll set up. There’s always a concern with a fire in a public place, especially with this being an assisted living place. There are a lot of elderly people there and soot is caustic and acidic, so we are in the process of trying to get them to approve a hygienist to come out to do some air sampling to see how far the soot has traveled.
Normally, they’ll capture some air inside. They’ll do some swabs on the sheetrock and tables and stuff throughout the area, and they’ll write a protocol on how far we need to go with the cleaning mitigation part of it. The water is pretty contained to those affected rooms, but we do have an issue with the soot.
How long does it take to complete this kind of job?
Normally it takes about three days to dry down the structure part of it. We are right now attempting to dry the sheetrock because all of the studs in the building are metal.
And we do have a concern with exterior walls that may be insulated because water can wick up under the steel plates and then soak into the insulation and there’s no way for us to dry it without cutting the sheetrock out and removing insulation. So that will be something we’ll look at tomorrow.
Have you heard anything from the client since they put you on the job?
I met with the building supervisor of maintenance, walked through with him. He was glad that we were there so promptly and that we were on the job and getting everything taken care of. So they’re very happy with us.
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