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How Fire Spreads – Fire & Fire Damage Patterns

Published by 911 Restoration San Diego on February 16, 2022 in category: Uncategorized

911 Restoration fire damage San DiegoIn California, fires are common and deadly, only made worse by climate change. Governmental fire maps have labeled most of San Diego as high and very high-risk fire zones. These areas include but are not limited to Alpine, Jamul, Ramona, Valley Center, and Boulevard. This is why there is increased pressure on builders and inhabitants to lower the risk of fire damage. 

Therefore, it is important to know how fire spreads and recognize the fire and fire damage patterns to mitigate the risk as much as possible. Given how rapidly fires can escalate, all property owners in San Diego need to be well informed about the risks of fires.

How Do Fires Start?

A fire needs three components to start: heat, oxygen, and fuel. This chemical process is known as oxidation, wherein oxygen combines with other substances (anything that will burn). Since fire is a rapid process, it spreads very quickly and will continue to spread unless one of the three elements mentioned is removed. You will require immediate fire damage restoration in such an event as a fire is not something a layperson can and should handle. 

How Fire Spreads-Fire and Fire Damage Patterns 

Once a fire starts, it won’t take long for it to start spreading via the transfer of heat energy. This can happen in three different ways, and people living in San Diego should be aware of them to curb the spread of fire in any way possible.

  1. Conduction

Conduction is a process where fire spreads through direct contact between materials. This most often happens with materials that are good heat conductors, like metals. Metals will absorb the heat from the fire and pass it on to other materials. This is why fires in commercial buildings often spread through the process of conduction. If a building has steel beams, heat transfer via conduction is highly possible. Any combustible items that come into contact with these steel beams will also catch fire, and this can cause some serious damage. Conduction is mostly also responsible for fires in larger buildings. 

  1. Convection

This is often deemed as the most dangerous way through which a fire can spread. In the process of convection, hot air rises and takes the place of cool air. However, in an enclosed room or building, when hot air rises, it hits the ceiling with nowhere to go. This is when it starts to spread horizontally. As a result of this, the fire will quickly spread throughout the building. This rapid transmission of hot air makes it highly possible for flammable items to catch fire. This process can be so fast that it can often be hard to contain. 

  1. Radiation

This is a process whereby heat is transferred through electromagnetic waves present in the air. This heat quickly spreads to all parts of the building and will continue to travel until it is absorbed by an object. Radiation will continue to transmit heat and spread fire from one building to another, causing extensive damage. It may also ignite combustible materials in its path. Radiation will also enter buildings through windows, which is why its destruction is far-reaching. 

How To Limit the Spread of Fire?

Now that you know how fire spreads and the fire and fire damage patterns, how do you take steps to limit its spread? Property owners and builders in San Diego need to know this so they can save themselves the hassle and high costs.

Some of the ways to do so include:

  • Try fire compartmentation
  • Avoid using building material with good heat conducting properties
  • Fill any gaps and holes in walls that heat can penetrate 

A fire is not to be taken lightly, as it causes both primary and secondary fire damage. Primary fire damage includes the destruction caused by the flame itself, like the burnt carpets, structure, and materials. Secondary fire damage includes water damage and mold damage. When you put out a fire, some of this water seeps into the crevices of the building. This can cause wooden flooring and panels to lose their shape and warp. This is why you would also need water damage restoration.

If water lingers for about 24 to 48 hours, it will lead to mold growth. Mold spores form in the presence of humidity and moisture. Mold will quickly eat away at organic material and also cause a health detriment to inhabitants or occupants of the building. Fires cause smoke, and smoke often seeps deep into walls and upholstery. This can cause an unmistakable odor, soot stains, and release toxins harmful to human health. 

Fire Damage Restoration

If you experience a fire in San Diego, you should immediately contact 911 Restoration of San Diego. They are well-versed with how fires start and spread in San Diego, so they would be able to do a professional and thorough job of containing the fire at your property.

They will also provide you with a quick emergency response time of 45 minutes to avoid any delays that can be very costly for you and your property. At the same time, they will take care of fire damage restoration, smoke damage restoration, water damage restoration, and mold removal. 

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