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Oil-soaked rags spark dryer fire in Appleton; serves as important reminder

APPLETON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Oil-soaked rags are to blame for a dryer fire at the Outagamie County Administration Building Saturday, Jan. 11. The Appleton Fire Department says the incident is an example of how remnants of oil can survive the washing process and cause a fire. 

According to the fire department, many times the cooking oils are overlooked as a source of spontaneous heating. Types of oil that can cause spontaneous heating include olive, safflower, peanut, flax, and many other natural oils. Of course linseed and natural staining oils can still cause spontaneous heating and should be handled accordingly.

The fire department says rags left in a dryer or folded into bundles can create the potential for a fire. Rags contaminated with oil should be stored in metal containers with tight-fitting lids. After laundering, the rags should be laid flat or hung to dry and cool.

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