Spontaneous oily rag combustion, hood grease fires

Page 1 of 3  

Awl --
Any thoughts on this, esp. on how likely this all is? Anyone with personal experience?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spontaneous_combustion says Yea on the possibility, for *uncovered* Linseed oil soaked rags. Also large Q's of pistachio nuts -- no foolin....
But what are the likelihoods? wrt to various oils, grease? Motor oils?
A very cautious shop-type friend says this happened to him, burned down part of his house.
Grease fires in vents are a little more understandable, given their proximity to exhaust heat and poss. sparks, but still seems like a long shot. But something to consider, esp. in an old house. I wonder what the buildup is like, with good modern filters. With old mesh washable filters, I saw no buildup in vents that had to be over 30 years old, altho not sure of the cooking hours on these vents.
But I do know that if I were freezing in the wilds with my oily rags and kitchen grease, hell would freeze over before I would be able to ignite this stuff. heh....
--
EA, not yet PV'd in this regard.



Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

A problem generally with "drying" oils -- oils that oxidize and generate heat. Especially the nut- and seed oils used for finishing wood; most vegetable oils, fats, and some others. The recommended storage for linseed-soaked rags used to be to keep them in a covered metal can.
--
Ed Huntress



Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The only factoid I remember. Is that petroleum oils are exempt from this. It's only natural oils like linseed which are a problem. Cooking grease is a maybe. Motor oil and wheel berring grease, not an issue.
--
Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I've heard that spread out flat is acceptable also. Such as hung over a clothes line, with plenty of exposed surface.
The metal can sounds like it would keep the heat in. Being actually more likely to combust.
--
Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 12/9/2009 9:08 PM Stormin Mormon spake thus:

No. The reason one puts oily/solvent-soaked rags in a covered can is so there's not enough air to cause outright combustion, even if they do get hot enough to spontaneously do so.
The only time I witnessed spontaneous combustion was waaaay back when I was a temp worker at Standard Brands (anyone remember that chain?) in Tucson, when someone had thrown something oily or, more likely, soaked in paint thinner, into a dumpster, and it started smoldering. Of course, it gets pretty hot there. As someone else noted in this thread, not likely to happen in cold weather (but maybe it can happen even then?).
--
I am a Canadian who was born and raised in The Netherlands. I live on
Planet Earth on a spot of land called Canada. We have noisy neighbours.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 10 Dec 2009 00:33:16 -0800, David Nebenzahl

I have read of damp charcoal briquets stored in a locker on a boat spontaneously combusting.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Oxygen deprived -- that does make sense. Thanks.
--
Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Dec 10, 8:36am, "Stormin Mormon"

The culprit is oxidation of unsaturated fats: http://shippai.jst.go.jp/en/Detail?fn=0&id=CC1000070 &
Unsaturated means a pair of carbon atoms double-bonded to each other rather than being connected by a single bond and having hydrogen attached to the other bonds. The double bond is less stable and oxygen can attack it, slowly at room temperature and faster as it heats up. If enough oxygen gets in but the heat doesn't dissipate the reaction can run away.
This dismisses cholesterol concerns and I don't believe all of it, but it does describe unsaturated fats in simple terms. http://www.coconutoil.com/ray_peat_unsaturated_oils.htm
Natural products are exempt from strict regulations on unproven advertising claims.
jsw
jsw
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

One of these days I'll have to regale all with stories from my days as a fire investigator. The serial kitty litter arsonist that wasn't or the working fire IN the swimming pool.
--
To find that place where the rats don't race
and the phones don't ring at all.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Sure, work them in here. They sound like good ones.
Also, I'd like to hear someday from one of the firefighters who helped extinguish the Cuyahoga River fire in 1969. Putting out a burning river must stick in one's memory. <g>
--
Ed Huntress



Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
As a former vol FF, I'd sure enjoy reading of your experience. Mine were rather boring. Most of my FF experience was pumping cellars after rain storms, and things like that. Not being a 150 year old exempt, and not being in the department 20 years, they didn't issue me a belt pager. I found about the fire calls by reading the small town news paper.
--
Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yes There are two different processes being discussed. When the hay in a barn or compost heats up it is due to thermophyllic bacteria or fungi. Without those critters it wouldn't happen. And the process in order to work needs a certain balance of nitrogen and carbon containing material. So piss on some rags and put them in a pile and you might get some heat but just wet rags won't work. Once the temperature and and volume reach a critical mass the oxidation of simple hydro carbons (like methane) take over and the living critters that started the process get fried. Eventually (as in a barn fire) the heat gets to the point all the hydrocarbons start to burn.     Varnish soaked rags are strictly chemical reactions (no living critters involved).

Yeah I have tried high nitrogen fertilizer (30-10-10). I found it doesn't produce as good results as 10-10-10. No real proof of that other than how it seems to work better in the garden. Typically in the spring I can take a half a dozen bales of hay and a half pickup load of wood chips/bark/sawdust and if I get the mix just right I can turn it into nice black compost in about 10-14 days (turning it over every 3-4 days).
-jim

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I'll keep that in mind. Frankly, the fertilizer that goes into the compost pile is whatever was left over from other things. My friends at the Rutgers Master Gardener program disapprove of my use of chemical fertilizer in compost. <g>
I don't use much -- just enough to get the pile going on its own. We have a very small yard but a lot of old maples and oaks around, so I get more leaves than I need for compost. And the grass clippings usually are enough to warm up the pile.
But not this year. Too many leaves, too little grass.
--
Ed Huntress

>
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ed Huntress wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Wish to God that it were.
--
Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 10 Dec 2009 00:08:28 -0500, "Stormin Mormon"

The metal container has to be one that shuts tightly to also deprive it of oxygen. Being metal, it would also contain any fire that started.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Existential Angst wrote:

Only spontaneous combustion I ever saw with my own eyeballs was a big mound of bagged grass clippings, that were cut a hair on the damp side. A day of Indiana sun cooking them, then around 10 pm that night, a neighbor pounding on the door....
I'm sure it occurs elsewhere, otherwise they wouldn't sell all those red safety cans with the spring lids.
-- aem sends...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Hay Barns are famous for burning down shortly after a load of slightly damp hay is loaded in.
When I was young, we had a house fire that started via spontaneous combustion of damp clothing in a metal clothes hamper that was installed flush in a wall. That was when I heard the term for the first time as my father was informed by the fire department as to the cause.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.