Waterbury, CT – Fire at lumber business caused by improperly discarded oily rags suppressed by sprinkler system

Ed Bushka’s American Millwork and Lumber remains open after a backroom caught fire early Thursday.  At about 12:20 a.m., firefighters responded to the business at 625 Wolcott St. for an automatic fire alarm.  The first firefighters on scene saw smoke coming from the building and upgraded the call to a structure fire, Fire Chief Dave Martin said.

The fire occurred in a back area of the shop, where workers had finished wood with an oil-based urethane, Martin said. The fire was contained to that room.  “The sprinklers did their job and we were able to extinguish the little bit of fire that was left,” Martin said.

The cause of the fire was traced to rags containing urethane that were discarded in a plastic garbage can, Martin. The rags emitted volatile organic compounds, causing a spontaneous combustion, he explained.  The blaze was found to be accidental.

The fire department recommends discarding rags containing oil-based products in a metal container with a lid, preferably outdoors. Also, soak them in water to prevent a chemical reaction.  American Millwork and Lumber is open for business today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *