Cause of house fire determined


Last updated 2/27/2024 at 10:13am

The February 15 fire that destroyed a house on Old Barn Court northeast of Sisters was caused by spontaneous combustion of oily rags in a garbage can.

Jeff Puller, community risk and fire safety manager with the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District, told The Nugget that two deputy state fire marshals investigated the fire, and determined that this was the accidental cause.

The home was undergoing an extensive remodel, and was unoccupied at the time of the blaze.

Units from Sisters, Cloverdale and Black Butte Ranch responded to a 2 a.m. call-out, and arrived to find the home heavily involved in fire, with flames venting through the roof of the structure. Part of the roof had already collapsed.

Property loss was estimated at $2.5 million. One firefighter suffered a minor injury due to a slip on ice, and was treated on the scene and released by paramedics.

Spontaneous combustion of oily rags is a common cause of house fires. Spontaneous combustion occurs when the oily material generates its own heat, reaches its ignition temperature, and bursts into flame without an external flame or heat source. To prevent such fires in the home, fire officials recommend storing oily rags in a non-combustible (e.g. metal) container with the lid closed. Prior to disposal, soak in water then spread them out in a safe outdoor area to dry.


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