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Sad story - Smoke alarms save lives

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by Swedishchef, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    Hey guys

    On the weekend while at a ski resort I received word that friends of mine lost their house. During the night, the husband woke to the sound of smoke detectors. His wife was at work on night shift. He quickly grabbed the kids and got out in time. Everything is a loss. They had stated to my wife and I a week ago that they were very attached to the house and loved the renovations they had done.

    Initial inspection from the fire chief suggested it may be electrical.

    However their insurance inspector came by. The wife told him that she had been staining moldings with lindseed oil. She washed the rags and put them in a bag. He said he felt that was the cause of the fire.

    I didn't know that Lindseed oil can/will spontaneously combust! Check about it on the internet. If rags are relatively saturated and left in a tight ball/stuffed somewhere, the exothermic reaction of the oxidation of the oil causes it to get hot and potentially catch fire!

    Either way, good thing everyone is OK.

    Watch out for lindseed oil! I never knew about that.

    Andrew

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  2. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    But, she washed the rags.
  3. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    That is the story I heard. But something tells me that OIL will not be washed out properly by WATER. Oils are hydrophobic. And I believe that she may have placed them within 5-10 feet of the wood stove (?). Either way, the insurance inspector felt that this was the cause of ignition.
  4. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

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    ANY oil soaked rags can do this. Linseed, tung, etc.
  5. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    That is what I am finding out. I am certainly glad I put a ceiling heater and not a wood stove in my garage.

    And I will never put an oil soaked rag into anything. I never knew it oxidized that fast!!!
  6. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Here in Bangor we had a small garage fire thanks to spontaneous combustion of oil soaked rags . . . home owner was staining some exterior trim on his garage this past Fall (or maybe it was late Summer) . . . left the balled up stain covered rag on the tar driveway and went inside to get a bite to eat at lunch . . . next thing he knew the neighbor next door was knocking on his door to tell him the siding was on fire.

    A happy ending though . . . thanks to the alert neighbor he was mostly able to contain the small fire until we arrived . . . and honestly it was just a bit of mop up on our part.
  7. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    That said . . . hard to say if it was the rags or electrical . . . and I suspect it could be debated . . . depends a lot on the point of origin and expertise of the investigators . . . and even then one can see the cause debated.

    I will say one thing is very clear . . . and good . . . working smoke detectors save lives.
    Swedishchef likes this.
  8. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    +!

    I just never knew that LINDSEED rags can spontaneously combust! The oxidation gives off big heat that can cause a flare up!

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