Oklahoma City firefighters warning residents about spontaneous combustion after house fire

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – While many Oklahomans are spending more time at home during the coronavirus pandemic, fire officials warn that you still need to take precautions against house fires.

On Friday afternoon, Oklahoma City fire crews were called to a home in the 1000 block of Westchester Dr. following a fire.

Investigators say oily rags from woodworking had been thrown into a trash can and caught fire through spontaneous combustion.

The flames spread from the trash can to a fence and then to two houses.

On Monday, the Oklahoma City Fire Department released helmet cam video of the fire.

” Spontaneous combustion can occur when certain materials auto-ignite (no need for external source of ignition). Common items that are prone to spontaneous combustion are hay and compost piles and oil-soaked rags (oil-based paints, stains, and varnishes). As these oily rags begin to dry out, they release heat. If conditions are right, such as being in an unventilated area such as a dumpster, this heat can build up enough to eventually cause a fire. To avoid this, do not place discarded rags in a pile. Lay them out flat on the ground, separated from each other, and allow to fully dry until they become brittle and stiff. According to the National Fire Protection Association, an average of 900 homes per years catch on fire when oily rags catch on fire (spontaneously combust),” the fire department said.

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