Staining rags blamed for Penticton house fire

Cloth rags used for staining may have been responsible for a fire which gutted a three-level home on Spiller Road on the July long weekend.

This was all that remained of a three-level home on Spiller Road following an early-morning blaze this month. The cause of the fire is believed to be the spontaneous combustion of material which had been used for staining.

This was all that remained of a three-level home on Spiller Road following an early-morning blaze this month. The cause of the fire is believed to be the spontaneous combustion of material which had been used for staining.

It appears some cloth rags used for staining may have been responsible for a fire which gutted a three-level home on Spiller Road on the July long weekend.

Chief Wayne Williams of Penticton Fire Rescue said this week it’s believed the rags spontaneously combusted in the container which was left outside the building near the garage.

Once ignited, the fire jumped to the building and the vinyl siding eventually spreading to the main structure.

“We’ve had this sort of thing happen before so it’s not unusual,” said Williams. “That is why we recommend you get rid of these things in airtight containers so no air or oxygen can get to them and feed the fire.”

The department received a report of a structure fire at the residential building just after 1 a.m. on July 1 and by the time they arrived the flames were already shooting out of the roof.

The owners of the house were away, however, there was a tenant living in the lower level who was home at the time.

He managed to escape unharmed.

Steve Boultbee lives about 100 yards away from the structure and when he heard the siren from the approaching fire truck he came outside and saw the building in flames.

“As I walked towards it, it was bright and it was going like hell,” Boultbee previously told the Penticton Western News. “I could feel the heat, but it was strange because it was so quiet.”

At the time the flames were already threatening to spread to the surrounding stand of pine trees and the initial attack crews had to battle both fires.

Both fire officials and others credited the wet conditions the previous month for the situation not becoming considerably worse.

The fire department’s large tender truck was eventually called in but crews were hampered by the distance between the house and the nearest fire hydrant which was about three kilometres away.

The firefighters on scene had assistance from the Naramata Volunteer Fire Department and the BC Forest Service.

Since then there has been a review of procedures and the matter of providing better availability of water has been raised with elected city officials.

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