Weird rash of spontaneous combustion fire calls offer lesson in safety, say fire chiefs

  • Source: Wausau Daily Herald
  • Published: 09/10/2019 06:07 AM

A recent rash of fire calls caused by spontaneous combustion has area fire officials shaking their heads at the rarity of several in a row. The act itself seems mysterious and complicated — a fire starting with no apparent source of ignition — but it's all very scientific. Combustion happens when a fuel combines with oxygen to produce heat from a recognizable source, like a match. However, in some circumstances, the trigger that ignited the fire has no definite source. Spontaneous combustion is the process of a material catching fire by itself. It can happen in a pile of compost or to oily rags in bin or even clean towels taken out of a hot clothes dryer. According to the National Fire Protection Association an estimated 14,070 fires occur annually from spontaneous combustion. Area fire chiefs are warning residents to be aware of how these types of fires start and how they can be avoided.


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