Friday, May 24, 2024


Oil-Soaked Rags Touch Off Laundry Room Fire

A Westport family was awakened by a smoke alarm early today after fire broke out in their home’s laundry room from oil-soaked rags used to clean outdoor furniture, a fire official said.

Firefighters quickly extinguished burning materials located on the floor of the second floor laundry room of the large, three-story home at 5 High Point Road, said Assistant Chief Eugene Maloney.

Fire damage was limited to some scorching of the exterior surface of the washing machine and water damage was minimal, he said. Firefighters used fans to vent smoke from the house. There were no injuries.

Maloney said the homeowner said her family was awakened by activated smoke detectors which led to the 5:02 a.m. 911 call.

She said her housekeeper had used linseed oil and rags to clean some outdoor furniture on Wednesday.

The rags were placed in a plastic wash bucket and set on the floor in the laundry room adjacent to the clothes washer, Maloney said.

“This incident highlights the necessity for operating smoke detectors in every home,” he said.

“Homeowners are advised that the only safe ways to store solvent or linseed oil-soaked rags are to place them in a closed, noncombustible container, or to put them outside in open air, away from combustibles.” 

The last unit left the scene at 5:58 a.m.

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