[Update 9:40 p.m.] Spontaneous Combustion Garage Fire in Eureka

Humboldt Bay fire responded to a report of a garage fire in the 800 block of Madrone Avenue in Eureka before 7 p.m. today.

When fire crews arrived at the scene they found neighbors actively fighting the fire with a garden hose.

According to Humboldt Bay Fire Battalion Chief Kent Hulbert, the house and garage were being stained with an oil-based product. The rags used in the staining process were placed in a bucket, which then burst into flames in a case of spontaneous combustion.

Hulbert said the owner of the house had recently moved in, and she was in the process of remodeling it.

The structure did not sustain a lot of damage, but firefighters were at the scene removing charred contents of the garage.


A fire fighter talks to an excited kid after handing him two plastic fire hats.

A firefighter talks to an excited kid after handing him two plastic fire helmets.

The burnt contents of the garage sit outside the structure.

The burnt contents of the garage sit outside the structure.

UPDATE 9:40 p.m.: Press release from Humboldt Bay Fire:

Humboldt Bay Fire HBFAt 6:45 PM on 09-03-15, Humboldt Bay Fire Engines 8113, 8112, 8115, Truck 8181, Battalions 8104 and 8109 responded to a structure fire on the 800 block of Madrone Street. The occupant of the residence had been notified by neighbors and a passerby of a small fire in an unattached garage.

The neighbors and passerby took immediate action after dialing 911 by using a garden hose and they controlled a small fire inside the garage door.

Arriving fire crews removed damaged items, checked for fire extension in the roof area and extinguished hot spots.

The cause and origin investigation shows the fire was caused by spontaneous combustion of discarded rags used for staining a deck. The rags were stored in a plastic bucket just inside the door.

Damage was minor to the structure and to the contents.

Humboldt Bay Fire reminds all residents to ensure proper handling of oily rags. Spontaneous combustion is common in oily rags that are wadded together especially after soaking with linseed oil based products used for wood finishing. Place used rags in a metal airtight container or soak the rags in water. Never store oily rags inside a structure!


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