Appleton Fire: Oil-soaked rags cause dryer fire

oil rags.jpg
Posted at 2:20 PM, Jan 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-14 15:20:32-05

APPLETON (NBC 26) -- A dryer fire from the Outagamie County Administration Building on Saturday was the result of spontaneous heating in oil soaked rags, the Appleton Fire Dept. said Tuesday.

"This is an excellent example of how remnants of oil can survive the washing process and end up causing a fire," the department said on Facebook.

The dryer fire filled the basement and first floors on Saturday. Appleton Fire Department said clearing the smoke from the building was a challenge due to the construction of the building and location of the fire. With help from the building's maintenance personnel they were able to clear out the smoke with ventilation fans as well as the HVAC and exhaust systems in the building.

The Outagamie County Administration building houses the Outagamie County Communications Center and Outagamie County Jail along with a several administrative offices.

To prevent this type of fire, Appleton Fire Department says, rags contaminated with oil should be stored in metal containers with tight fitting lids. After laundering, they should be laid flat or hung to dry and cool. This allows the heat to dissipate. Rags left in a dryer or folded into bundles can create the potential for a fire.