Oily rag sparks small fire

HUDSON- A homeowner staining his deck Thursday wound up with a small fire in a garbage can in his garage.

According to fire officials, Wayne Harmon of Greenfield Drive was staining his deck with a penetrating oil finish for pressure-treated wood. Harmon put the rag he used to wipe off the brushes in a plastic trash can inside his garage. The rag generated enough heat to start a fire and spontaneously combusted in the trash can, Fire Prevention Officer Steve Dube said.

Someone in the house noticed a burning smell around 9 p.m., but didn’t notice anything after looking around the house. A neighbor later noticed heavy smoke and fire and contacted the Fire Department around 2:20 a.m. The fire was limited to the can, and the occupants doused most of the blaze with a hose and fire extinguisher. There was very little damage except for some minor heat damage, Dube said.

The department cautioned residents to soak oily rags in water in enclosed metal containers. Rags can also be washed with laundry detergent and laid on a cement surface to dry.