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Attic Fire Restoration

There are two different types of attic fires that leave smoke residue: low pressure and high pressure. A low-pressure fire will cause smoke residue to fall from the air and land mainly on the top layers of the insulation. A high-pressure (low oxygen) fire will deeply penetrate the insulation and structure of the attic area.

 

Effective August 3, 2015, OSHA has implemented a new rule (ASTM D5755) designed to protect workers in confined spaces. This is partially in response to two fatalities. Two workers died while applying primer to floor joists in a crawlspace. They were burned when an incandescent work lamp ignited vapors from the primer. In another incident, a flash fire killed a worker who was spraying foam insulation in an enclosed attic. The fire was caused by poor ventilation.

 

Under the new rule, permits to access specific confined spaces are granted by the general contractor or lead contractor on each job. There are numerous safe entry procedures requiring careful planning and preparation by the contractor ahead of time.

 

The rule will apply to any space that meets the following three criteria:

  1. Is large enough for a worker to enter it
  2. Has limited means of entry or exit
  3. Is not designed for continuous occupancy

 

A space may also be a permit-required confined space if it has a hazardous atmosphere, the potential for suffocation, a layout that might trap a worker through converging walls or a sloped floor, or any other serious safety or health hazard.

 

Employers will be required to train workers to ensure they know about the existence, location, and dangers posed by each permit-required confined space and maintain related records for possible inspection by OSHA or other interested parties in the case of an accident or complaint investigation.

 

Method One: Low-Pressure Fires

  1. Remove any contents from the attic for separate processing and cleaning.

  2. Using a pump-up sprayer, spray all horizontal structural materials and surfaces with Unsmoke 9-D-9 diluted at 3 oz per gallon of water.

  3. Using Unsmoke Degrease-All, clean all affected structural surfaces. Charred and heavily smoke-damaged surfaces will need to be sanded, abrasively cleaned, or replaced. Work from the bottom of the surfaces to the top.

  4. In a 5-gallon bucket, mix 1 gallon of Unsmoke Unsoot Encapsulant, 1 quart of Unsmoke 9-D-9, 5 oz of Unsmoke Last Resort, and then fill the rest of the bucket with water. Using an airless paint sprayer or ULV fogger, apply the solution to the insulation (it should cover approximately 2,500 square feet).

  5. Sprinkle Unsmoke COC directly on the insulation. Apply at a rate of 2-3 oz per 100 square feet.

  6. Using Unsmoke Thermal 55, undiluted, thermal fog the entire attic area.*

  7. It may be necessary to seal affected surface areas using a shellac-based primer like Zinsser B-I-N to which 1-3 ounces of Unsmoke Space Spray has been added.

  8. Apply a new layer of insulation to increase the R-value and hide the discolored insulation.

 

Method Two: High-Pressure Fires

  1. Remove any contents from the attic for separate processing and cleaning.

  2. Remove all insulation, bagging it for disposal.

  3. In a pump-up sprayer, apply 3-6 oz of Unsmoke 9-D-9 to the affected surfaces for initial odor knockdown.

  4. Using a dry cleaning sponge, clean heavy soot from all affected areas. When using dry cleaning sponges, be careful to not apply extreme pressure as this will push the soot into the pores of the affected surface, making it harder to clean and deodorize.

  5. Using Unsmoke Degrease-All, clean all affected structural surfaces. Charred and heavily smoke-damaged surfaces will need to be sanded, abrasively cleaned, or replaced. If odor is extreme, 1 oz per gallon of Unsmoke 9-D-9 may be added to the cleaning solution. Clean from the bottom and work your way up.

  6. Using Unsmoke Thermal 55, thermal fog the entire attic area.*

  7. It may be necessary to seal affected surface areas using a shellac-based primer such as Zinsser B-I-N to which 1-3 ounces of Unsmoke Space Spray has been added.

  8. Apply new insulation.

 

*WarningIt is recommended that before thermal fogging be conducted, the area to be fogged should be evacuated of all non-essential personnel, proper personal protective equipment be worn, and that the neighbors and fire department be warned that thermal fogging will take place.

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