The Sweet Home Fire and Ambulance District responded with 3 engines and 10 firefighters to the report of a structure fire today at 1685 Cedar Street in Sweet Home. The fire was called in by a neighbor who noticed smoke coming from the roof vents of a garage with an apartment over it behind his home. The fire is believed to have originated from the spontaneous combustion of some rags that had been used to treat furniture with “teak oil” and placed in a bucket that was left next to a freezer to be cleaned at a later time. The fire appears to have spread to the freezer and some materials in the garage and then up into the ceiling joists where the heat luckily caused some copper water lines to rupture and and spray down onto the fire, preventing it from spreading further into the structure. The remainder of the fire was extinguished by Sweet Home Fire personnel with the majority of damage to be from smoke.
Sweet Home Fire would like to remind everyone that spontaneous combustion of oily rags is still a very common occurrence especially as temperatures and humidity rise. If you are going to use rags to apply or clean up oils, especially seed based oils, there are some steps that you can take to reduce the risk of them catching fire.
1)Never store rags in a pile. Used rags should be spread out in a safe flat area to dry. If you lay them out on your garage floor or driveway, weight them down so the wind doesn’t blow them away. Once they’re dry, check with your city or municipality for disposal instructions.
2)Store the rags in an airtight, non-combustible metal container. If you plan to use your rags later, this step is critical. The metal container should be filled with a solution of water and an oil breakdown detergent.
3)Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Since manufacturers use different oils in their products, it’s important to follow their warnings and disposal instructions. They may differ from manufacturer to manufacturer.
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Spontaneous combustion believed to be cause of fire in garage