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Fire Suppression Efforts at Senior Living Center Results in Water Damage and Potential Mold Concerns

EMSL Analytical offers indoor environmental quality testing services and provides inspection tools to help identify water damage, microbial growth and other exposure risks.


A kitchen fire at an apartment complex for seniors in Winter Haven, Florida recently caused the evacuation of over 200 residents as firefighters and the building’s sprinkler system put out the fire. While little damage was caused by the actual flames, water damage was reported in approximately 50 units.

The senior residents of those units will be temporarily displaced until their homes are once again habitable. Making sure all the water and moisture is properly removed is essential as significant water damage in a multistory building can impact large areas of the structure as the water seeks its way to the lowest level. This type of water incursion can be visible, but may also occur in areas that are out of sight, such as behind walls, ceilings, cabinets and under floors. Moisture that remains for more than 48 hours often results in the growth of mold. Once mold begins to grow, even when it is in areas that are not visible, it can impact the indoor environmental quality (IEQ) of the building.

“Exposure to elevated levels of mold can cause a host of health effects for people who live or work in a contaminated building,” said Jason Dobranic, Ph.D., Vice President of Microbiology and Life Sciences at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Senior citizens and others with a weakened or suppressed immune system are often at greater risk than others. Mold can cause allergies and be a trigger for some suffering from asthma. It also acts as an airborne irritant and can make it more difficult to manage conditions like COPD. Some species of mold, such as various types of Aspergillus, can even cause infections in vulnerable populations.”

EMSL Analytical, with sixth locations in Florida and dozens more across the United States and Canada, provide IEQ testing services for mold, all of the sampling supplies needed, and even easy-to-use test kits. Their laboratories also offer testing for asbestos and lead-based paints, two all too common hazards encountered in buildings undergoing repairs and renovation activities. EMSL even carries a line of inspection tools to help assess water damage that could lead to mold growth, including moisture meters, infrared cameras and more.

To learn more about water damage and mold or other property damage, indoor air quality, environmental, occupational, health and safety testing services or for access to building inspection tools, please visit, call (800)220-3675 or email . For IEQ test kits, visit

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories with over 45 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP 797, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA LAP, LLC. (AIHA EMLAP, AIHA IHLAP, AIHA ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.

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