Cleaning Rags Start Fire in Nursing Home

Press release from Humboldt Bay Fire:
Humboldt Bay Fire Department HBF Eureka

At 12:40 A.M. this morning, Humboldt Bay Fire responded to a reported fire alarm at Granada Rehabilitation and Wellness Center at 2885 Harris Street. While the two initial fire units and duty officer were responding, Humboldt Bay Fire’s Dispatch Center received additional information from staff that there was a fire in the facility. The incident was immediately upgraded to a full structure fire response, including two additional fire units from Humboldt Bay Fire and a unit from Arcata Fire to aid in coverage of other areas of the jurisdiction.

The first in fire engine found that there was a fire in a laundry room in the rear of the facility. The fire sprinkler system had activated and extinguished the fire in the room, limiting the damage to a table, wall, and ceiling above the area. Fire doors had activated and closed, separating the patients from the fire area.

Facility staff immediately evacuated patients to other sections of the building away from the fire area. By the time additional fire units arrived, facility staff had completed the evacuation. Fire personnel remained on scene for two hours to ensure the fire was completely extinguished and to aid in water removal from the areas impacted by the sprinkler activation.

The fire suppression system, quick actions of facility staff, and early notification helped to minimize damage to the facility and undoubtedly kept the patients from being injured. Patients impacted by the incident were moved to other rooms within the facility. The cause of the fire was due to cleaning rags that had been removed from a dryer without having sufficient time to cool. Humboldt Bay Fire encourages everyone to allow fabrics in dryers to go through the cool down phase of the drying process and to not place them in piles until they have cooled.



  • Whoa. From now on, I’m also going to wait an extra day or so to put away the dishes.

  • They take seriously the mission of killing all the germs on the laundry with high heat. Little pathogens don’t stand a chance! Fried.

    • using bleach in the wash cycle is safer and has a proven history. frying clothes shortens the life of the fabric significantly.

      • Have you seen how they treat homes with bed bug infestations? They seal up the house, Bring in heaters and cook the little buggers. Interesting how insecticides do not work on those anymore.

  • Spontaneous Combustion??? Hummm, wonder what they came in contact with…

  • Oily rags are known to spontaneously combust. That’s why they should be desposed of in a metal container, preferably outside.

    • These rags were supposed to have been washed already as well as dried which would or rather should have prevented “Spontaneous Combustion”!!!! Sorry but I’m NOT buying the “Official Excuse”, not even this much!!! Try again “Humbug Bay Fire”!!!

      • Yeah I would have to call B.S. on that Official excuse, Come on now.

      • Lake County Not So Bad

        It really does happen. Why do you think there’s a cool down cycle on your dryer? Google it or ask the first Official fire investigator you see.

  • I’ve always heard that this could happen but never really thought of it as a legitimate danger, that is, up until a couple months ago. My story is a tad different than this, but still relevant. My husband had washed some towels and didn’t screw the lid all the way back on the bleach, well, when the washer started spinning it fell off and went everywhere. I used an old sheet I didn’t care about to clean it up and left it on the floor in the laundry room, not even 5 minutes later I go back and it is smoking and extremely hot to the touch. I took that thing outside and hosed it down so fast. Now I’m extremely careful with chemicals and always make sure to dilute bleach properly 👍

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