Dirty, Oily Rags bundled closely together can Spontaneously Ignite

7/14/202312 months ago

Recently, Engine 8 from the Taylor Square Fire House (group 1 on duty) quickly stretched an 1 3/4" attack line to extinguish a smoldering fire in a trash receptacle which was started by dirty, oily rags thrown into the trash.

Remember that rags used for natural oil paints, varnishes, stains and turpentine release heat when drying and if packed closely together can start to smolder and ignite a fire. When these rags are left in a pile or thrown into a box with little ventilation, they can spontaneously release heat.

Thankfully residents called Emergency Communications right away in this incident and Engine 8 quickly extinguished the fire in the smoldering rags before any serious damage resulted. 

For more good information about spontaneous combustion and the storage and use of oily rags, go the MA Department of Fire Services site.

Stay Safe and Help to prevent devastating fires! Keep our city safe!

For a fire (open flame or smoldering), smoke, or other emergency, call 911 right away.

As always, ensure that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working.

Oily rags - spontaneous combustion