Oilly rag disposal

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My wife and I are first responders and one of our duties is to respond to house fires to monitor the fire fighters for B.P. dehydration etc. We responded to a house fire recently and just learned the cause of the fire today. It started outside the home in a pile of rags that had been used by "professionals?" to apply a linseed oil finish to cabinets in the redone kitchen. The rags were piled next to the house, caught fire and the fire went up the cedar siding, thru the soffit and into the attic , where it spread taking out about 40% of the house. The house was not occupied and no fire fighters were hurt and the fire did not spread to other nearby houses.
This is not urban legend but straight up true story, Moral to this is be very careful with those finishing rags.
Russ
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Just last week someone in this area had an explosion caused by a gasoline soaked rag in their washing machine. Apparently fumes built up, the dryer was turned on and Boom. No injuries, but no doubt some extra laundry ...
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On Tue, 12 Apr 2011 21:31:45 -0700, "Lobby Dosser"

OMG! Who in hell was dumb enough to put a gassy article of clothing into a machine? No injuries? Darwin is disappointed, no doubt.
-- The United States of America is the greatest, the noblest and, in its original founding principles, the only moral country in the history of the world. -- Ayn Rand
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Who? An Oregonian? Probably not a native. Natives are too busy sharpening saws or welding.
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On Wed, 13 Apr 2011 20:18:59 -0700, "Lobby Dosser"

Huh? There's very little of that going on here. The farkin' tree huggers got laws passed to make cutting one damnear illegal, the Spotted Owl Union has the Feds in their pocket, etc.
-- The United States of America is the greatest, the noblest and, in its original founding principles, the only moral country in the history of the world. -- Ayn Rand
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Ahhh, that was Californians. Native Oregonians sharpen saws and weld as a matter of pride.
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"I'm the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo ..."


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Larry Jaques wrote:

Plenty of logging going on here in Lane County. Pretty much all of the old growth is gone at this point, so it's all reprod anymore.
I was out driving around this afternoon in the hills above Panther Creek and saw several clearcuts, each about a square mile or so in size. Probably at least the second time it has been harvested from those areas, and they still replant it for the next time.
It's a strange feeling to drive through a big chunk like that, the desolation is noticeable. Take a drive out in the coast range if you want to see some big logging operations, it's pretty much just a big tree farm at this point.
Jon
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Thanks Russ. This one is real easy to forget. More than once I've grabbed a rag that had been left sitting only to feel the warmth. Lucky I've never had a fire. When I am thinking I hang them to dry.

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message

Pay attention to your dryer vents too. phil
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It is also an old trick to speed up demolition of a building. AKA Gypsy Lightning.
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rt and the fire did not spread to other nearby houses.

Certainly not urban legend and the fairly harmless smelling Linseed oil is as volatile as many of the finishing materials we use.
Several years ago I was finishing a project with wipe on poly, which is an/oil poly blend. My practice was to put the rag in a zip-lock bag, push the air out, seal it, and throw it in the center of the garage floor until I got to a point of cleaning up. One day I forgot to pick it up and came back out that evening and noticed it was still there. The bag was VERY warm to touch. After that, they went to the back yard patio slap in a covered can.
RonB
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On 4/13/2011 1:40 PM, RonB wrote:

Remember there are other woodworking thing that can spontaneously combust. We nearly lost our garage when we moved in and it was full of cardboard boxes. We had had the upstairs hardwood floors sanded and refinished. When they came back to do the final coat, they placed the sandings in a trash can. Unfortunately in a fit of neatness and not knowing about the sandings, it ended back in the garage next to the boxes. We realized something was wrong when smoke started coming into the family room which is off the garage. Fortunately we caught it before it caught the boxes, and I was able to get the trash can out of the garage.
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Better practice IMHO is to spread them out flat and allow them to dry -- especially if you have a nice non-combustible garage floor to spread them out on. I've found it to be quite adequate to wring mine out, then drape them completely unfolded over a sawhorse. Spreading them out is really the key: allow access to free air, and the heat produced by oxidative drying is dissipated harmlessly. Problems occur when the heat cannot dissipate freely.
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wrote:

If it is sunny and dry out, I let them dry outside on concrete. If it is rainy or wet, I put them in a can and burn them up. Obviously not a solution if you have a lot of oily rags. But the occasional mini bonfire in my backyard is not noticed. It is hard to catch on fire if they are al burnt up!
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wrote:

Exactly, precicely, and all that . I toss the rag in question off by itself in an open spot on the concrete garage floor for a few days and then toss it when I take the trash out to the street.
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I just throw mine out the back door into the lawn. Can't do any harm there and, this being Seattle, it is likely raining.
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My "wake up" with spontaneous combustion occurred back in the late '60's. My Father had me refinishing a desk at his office with linseed oil. I was just tossing my rags into a paper bag, and then I went out to eat lunch. When I got back, the bag was already smoking. Nothing happened beyond that, but it didn't take long, and I never forgot it. Marty
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"Russ Stanton" wrote in message

When I know I'm going to be producing a bunch of rags like that I keep an old paint can full of water outside the garage and the rags go into that until I'm ready to dispose of them. If I have just one or two I lay them out to dry thoroughly on the driveway before they go in the garbage.
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Not spontaneous, but good nonetheless. I worked in the ER in the USAF hospital where I was stationed. In the ER office we maintained a glass covered board listing the names all the call people for the day written in grease pencil and the night staff (me in this case) was responsible for updating it. We also had a meeting between night and day shift to give report and transfer responsibility.
One morning I cleaned the board as usual with some 4x4 gauze sponges soaked in ether, penciled in the names for the day and tossed the gauze in the waste basket. At 8am I'm seated at the desk, the charge nurse (a major) is standing by the door, couple more corpsmen in the hall, and the charge sergeant is stand to my left by the waste basket. I hadn't gone through more than a couple minutes of report when the sarge decides to light a cigarette (an acceptable thing in those days even in a hospital). He lights a match and Drops It In The Waste Basket! Enormous gout of flame shoots up his arm and then he sticks a leg in the basket to stomp out the flame!
Fortunately he just lost all the hair on his arm and singed his pant leg.
We stopped using ether as a solvent. Whole hospital stopped using ether as a solvent.
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On 4/13/2011 9:13 PM, DGDevin wrote:

What he said. One of those 5gal BORG buckets, with a lid, half full of water is what I use, and thoroughly submerge the rags with a stick each time I add to it. Eventually the whole thing gets drained and tossed immediately.
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