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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Why Do Fire Fighters Open the Roof?

4/14/2022 (Permalink)

image of hole in roof with caption "Why do fire fighters open the roof?" Vertical Ventilation opens up the roof, allowing these toxic gases and smoke to be removed from the property.

If your property has experienced a large fire, you may have noticed the firefighters cut a hole in your roof. You may wonder, "why would they cause this type of damage to a person's property?" Why do firefighters open the roof during a fire?

Vertical Ventilation

This tactic is called Vertical Ventilation and is a common essential firefighting tactic. The science behind the tactic involves the smoke and how fire travels. 

As a fire burns, toxic gases & smoke begin to collect and travel UP! This collection of smoke and gas can cause two things to happen, 1) Backdraft, and/or 2) Flashover.

  • Backdraft is when the air combines with the unburned fuel, rapid ignition can occur with devastating force. - USFA FEMA 
  • Flashover is a thermally-driven event during which every combustible surface exposed to thermal radiation in a compartment or enclosed space rapidly and simultaneously ignites. - USFA FEMA

A Flashover or Backdraft can cause massive amounts of damage to the property and possibly threaten the lives of the firefighters. That's where Vertical Ventilation comes in.

Vertical Ventilation opens up the roof, allowing these toxic gases and smoke to be removed from the property. This tactic can save a property and neighboring properties from further fire damage. This tactic is not random, but an organized and effective way to preserve and save a property.


When a disaster strikes, SERVPRO® is here to help. Call SERVPRO® of Downey for your disaster recovery needs. From Fire and  Water Damage to sanitization, we are there to assist you. Call us at: (562) 392-3007

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