24.9°C 03:00 pm

Cleaning rag starts fire

Tuesday, 24th March, 2009

A house fire in Morgan Lane yesterday morning caused about $180,000 damage and started after a rag soaked in linseed oil self combusted, according to the fire brigade. The rag had been used by the owner of the house to clean sporting equipment and had been put into a wardrobe and forgotten about.

While fire station officer Sue Collins said the fire was not considered suspicious, it was a lesson to others about using plant-based oils or cleaning products."People should be aware that if you're using those kind of oils you need to air the rags, don't put them inside a cupboard," FO Collins said.

"It's the same for some cleaning products. Make sure rags are washed out and not put in cupboards, draws or under sinks." The fire brigade was called to the house just after 11am after a neighbour saw smoke coming from one of the windows. FO Collins said the blaze broke out in the second bedroom of the house and spread."

When we got there the bedroom was well alight and the fire had got into the ceiling and was spreading quickly," FO Collins said. "Quick action by firefighters prevented the fire spreading throughout the house." The house suffered extensive damage from heat and smoke. No one was home at the time of the fire, but two pet dogs were rescued and have been since reunited with their owners, scared but unharmed. FO Collins said efforts to fight the fire could have been hampered by a car which was parked on top of a fire hydrant outlet.

Officers had to smash a side window of a vehicle and move it to get to the hydrant. "Don't park over hydrants or your car may end up damaged," she said. "You can get a fine under the Fire Brigades Act." Three fire trucks, 15 officers, police and ambulance attended the scene. Fire officers said the house had smoke detectors installed.

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