On top of the horrible destruction of personal and household goods, a house fire leaves behind a substantial emotional impact. The fire might destroy cherished photos, family heirlooms, memorabilia/collectibles, or a pet. And then there's the work in the aftermath of piecing everything back together.
While definitely not something that compares to the shock and grief of losing everything, the environmental impact
left behind by a house fire is real, too. It's something known by those who help in the aftermath – fighting the fire, clearing the site and removing debris, and rebuilding afterwards.
As a fire rages, it transforms and destroys everything in its path. Things inside your home that you'd never consider safe to burn – plastics, insulation, carpet, rubber, paints, solvents, pesticides, glue – release pollutants like PCBs, mercury, lead and dioxins as acrid smoke fills the air and ashy particles rain down. Contaminated water used to fight the fire runs off into storm drains and nearby streams. And all that charred debris? It's likely headed for a landfill.
Of course, there also are carbon emissions from the fire itself (whether it's a forest or a home, burning releases carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide). And if all that weren't enough, fire suppressants used to knock down the flames can contribute contamination, too.
The only "good" house fire is one that never happens. You can help protect your home and family
by choosing fire-resistive building materials whenever possible (like cement board siding, metal roofs, double-pane windows, tile, brick facing and metal core doors) and checking out these 10 ways to prevent a house fire