Structure fire in Kenmore caused by improperly disposed wood-refinishing rags

At 9:43 p.m. Saturday, the Northshore Fire Department responded to a structure fire in the 8400 block of Northeast Bothell Way. Firefighters discovered large amounts of dark smoke coming from an open door of a two-story, single-family residence. A small fire in the garage was located and quickly extinguished.

The occupant discovered the fire, safely evacuated and called 911. There were no civilian or firefighter injuries. Fire damage was limited to the garage with smoke damage throughout the structure.

A King County Fire Investigator determined the cause as accidental due to the improper disposal of oily refinishing rags. The rags burst into flames as a result of spontaneous combustion, a slow process that can take several hours of decomposition/oxidation with heat building up to a point of ignition.

According to Northshore Fire Department Public Information Officer Terri Jones, it is important to follow directions and handle rags contaminated with wood-finishing products carefully. Placement of the rags in a container of water after use is a recommended practice to avoid spontaneous ignition.

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