Oil-stained rags spark accidental garage fire in north Spokane - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Oil-stained rags spark accidental garage fire in north Spokane

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Firefighters say oil-stained rags caused a fire in north Spokane Friday Firefighters say oil-stained rags caused a fire in north Spokane Friday
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Commuters on their way home from work reported a column of smoke Friday evening in the 4900 block of N. Whitehouse in north Spokane. When firefighters arrived they found a large recycling bin engulfed in flames, and those flames were spreading onto the siding and up into the roof of a detached garage.

Investigators say the fire was accidentally started by paper towels and rags saturated with an oil-based stain that the homeowner had applied to a fence earlier in the day. The Spokane Fire Department reminds everyone to read the label of any product you intend to apply to your fence or deck, as many oil-based stain and waterproofing products present fire danger.

According to firefighters, tests have shown that heat produced in crumpled up rags is sufficient to start a fire in less than 15 minutes. For homes and small commercial shops, the easiest way to prevent a fire is to spread the rags in a single layer so heat can dissipate while the material on the rags is allowed to cure. Then the materials can be safely disposed of, either in hazardous waste collection sites or in the general landfill.

No injuries from the fire were reported and damage to the home was estimated at $5,000.

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