Smoke Damage and Smoke Inhalation

The “fire” part of “wildfire,” unfortunately, isn’t the only thing victims have to worry about during these devastating fires. The smoke from wildfires also poses risks to health and safety, even after firefighters contain the conflagration. Smoke containing harmful chemicals and substances can linger in the air after containment and spread far beyond the lick of the flames. Smoke can cause air quality problems, smoke-related property damage, and injuries from smoke inhalation. Contact Eric Ratinoff Law if you’re suffering from smoke-related damages after the Wine Country Wildfires.

Types of Smoke Damage

The Wine Country Fires consist of 21 major wildfires, including Tubbs Fire – now the most destructive fire in California’s history. The flames burned more than 245,000 acres, destroyed at least 8,700 structures, and killed 42 people. It is a firestorm that will go down in history as one of the worst the state has ever experienced. As thousands of homes went up in smoke, most people evacuated to safety. Weeks later, the immense smoke clouds from the fires are still affecting communities throughout Wine Country, causing issues such as:

  • The worst air quality on record for the Bay Area
  • Exacerbation of respiratory diseases such as asthma and emphysema
  • Particulates entering the bloodstream
  • Breathing in harmful chemicals such as carbon monoxide
  • Irritated and swollen lungs and airways
  • Lack of oxygen to the brain and bloodstream
  • Chest pain, coughing, and hoarseness
  • Difficulty breathing and shortness of breath
  • Headache, nausea, fainting
  • Eye irritation

Because of the thick haze of soot and ash, local businesses throughout the region have had to close, as have local schools. This results in a lot of people out of work and missing income in the aftermath of the wildfires. Smoke damage also exists on personal property, making many items unsafe for use. Do not eat or drink any items that have been exposed to smoke damage. Hire a professional to clean smoke damage from your home. Avoid touching items with smoke damage, as they may contain harmful substances.

What to Do About Smoke Damages or Injuries

There is no way to predict how dangerous the smoke from a fire will be. The materials burned and temperature of the fire can all change the elements that exist in the plumes of smoke. Smoke damage most often culminates directly above where fires blazed, as well as outside walls and windows. Smoke residue can still be harmful to contact and to breathe. Don’t attempt to clean smoke damage in your home on your own.

If you’ve inhaled smoke, go to the hospital right away. A doctor will need to perform tests to diagnose smoke inhalation, such as blood tests or a chest x-ray. Oxygen is the most common treatment for smoke inhalation, but you may also require antidotes, antibiotics, or bronchodilators to open your airways for easier breathing. Keep all medical records and bills relating to smoke inhalation from wildfires for future use.

If the recent Wine Country Fires resulted in smoke that has impacted your life via property damage or personal injuries, contact an attorney. You may be able to list these harms on insurance claims to receive coverage for your losses. You may also have grounds to file a lawsuit against the party responsible for causing the fires, demanding compensation for smoke-related harms. To learn about your individual rights after smoke-related injuries, call Eric Ratinoff Law at (916) 970-9100.

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