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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

The connection between water damage and fire hazards

1/29/2019 (Permalink)

Water can extinguish fire, right? So how can water damage be a fire hazard? Mark Powers, the owner of SERVPRO, specializing in restoring fire damage in Pismo Beach and Arroyo Grande, wants people to know there is a real connection between water damage and fire hazards.

Water that damages walls and other parts of buildings, whether from a slow leak or flooding, can also damage electrical wiring and other electrical components. Everyone knows water and electricity don’t mix. The results of combining water and electricity can be anything from sparks and short circuits, to electrocution, to electric wires breaking and igniting wood, drywall, furnishings or surrounding grass and other plants.

These dangers are the reason that one of the first things to do when water damage is detected is to shut off the power. When an event such as a leaking roof, or leaking pipes are discovered, it is usually fairly easy to cut off the power at the breaker box. But, sometimes a portion of the house floods too quickly and then the best thing to do is get everyone, including pets, out of the building and call emergency services.

By the time leaking roofs or pipes are discovered they have usually been leaking for some time, long enough to cause water damage. Electric wires that are exposed to leaks can develop mold and corrosion, shorting the circuit and cause sparks that can start a fire.

Powers recommends that homeowners and building maintenance managers periodically inspect for leaks.

  • Some water meters have leak detectors and checking the water meter is one of the quickest ways to determine if there is a leak in the plumbing
  • Check plumbing fixtures like faucets, toilets and under sink pipes for leaks
  • Check under the house for any signs of standing water or moisture that indicate a leak
  • Check the roof and ceiling crawl space for signs of water damage or mold
  • Check ceiling light fixtures for signs of water damage or mold
  • Check walls for signs of water damage, and electrical wall outlets for signs of water damage

Also perform regular fire prevention inspections of buildings and grounds. Water and electricity mixing are not the only combinations that can cause a fire. Faulty wiring to outbuildings or in landscape lighting can be just as likely to cause a fire whether water is present or not.

Prevention is always the best strategy but in the event of water, mold or fire damage, Pismo Beach’s local SERVPRO is ready to make all of the needed repairs and restorations. In the event of an emergency, call the company’s 24-hour emergency number to get recovery and repairs started. SERVPRO can also help you with insurance claims and work with the insurance company.

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