“Oh no, not again!” were my first words on hearing the news of two people who lost their lives in the apartment above the carpentry shop that caught fire. Before hearing the exact cause of the fire I speculated about oily rags. Sometimes we really don’t want to be right about our speculations.
The location was Villach Austria where our daughter and her family live. We heard the fire alarm early one evening last week while we were visiting them. A few minutes later, a second alarm. The next day, our son-in-law came home from the hospital where he works and told of how the efforts to save two burn victims failed. It was then that I learned they lived in an apartment above the carpentry shop and a fire in that shop was the reason for hearing the double alarm the evening before. The two people were elderly and did not get out of the building before it was completely engulfed.
Two days later we found the follow-up article in the newspaper:
“The fire was caused by spontaneous combustion of oil soaked cleaning material … that had been dumped in a dustbin in the carpentry shop.”
None of us knew the people who died, but all understand the tragedy of lost life from a preventable accident.
Please, please, please remember that oily rags can combust very easily. Always spread them out to dry, or better yet, immerse them completely in water. Never, ever, toss them into a pile or a container. Save some lives. Keep this accident from happening in your shop.
Spread the word. Tell everyone who might ever use oils for cleaning or finishing about the hazard. It is so easy to prevent and so sad to hear about.