Oily Rags to Blame for Another Structure Fire

Bend Fire and Rescue responded to a reported house fire Friday morning. First arriving crews found a fire on the exterior of the single-story home, spreading into the attic. The fire was quickly stopped.

The family was home at the time of the fire and awoke to the smoke alarms going off. They found the fire on the exterior of the garage. All three were able to escape without injury. With the quick response of the smoke alarms and early 911 call, the fire was kept from spreading into the interior of the home and the damage was limited to the garage and attic. The living space of the home was spared damage from smoke or flames, protecting all the family’s irreplaceable items such as photos and family heirlooms. Damage is estimated at $100,000 to the home and contents.

It was determined that oily rags were improperly disposed of into the trash last night after staining the deck. Spontaneous combustion of oily rags occurs when rag or cloth is slowly heated to its ignition point through oxidation. This is an accidental fire but this type of fire can be prevented.

Bend Fire and Rescue reminds everyone that when you’re using any natural stains and oils to treat decks, furniture, or any other wood projects to be sure to dispose of the cloth used properly. Use a container with a tight-fitting lid. A metal can is preferable but a plastic can or zip lock bag can work if nothing else is available. Place soiled and used rags inside and then fill the rest the way with water, seal the top and do not open it. This will prevent the oils from oxidizing, and thus keeping the rags from heating up and igniting. This will prevent the oil in cloth from starting its oxidation and heating process.

Courtesy of Bend Fire