Oily rags spark fire at Bend sports performance studio

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Oily rags spontaneously combusted Sunday evening at a cycling and sports performance studio in Bend, causing about $110,000 in damages, according to Bend Fire & Rescue.

Firefighters responded around 6:30 p.m. to Bowen Sports Performance at 2nd Street and Lafayette Avenue where flames were seen coming through the roof.

Deputy Fire Marshal Cindy Kettering said crews were able to quickly knock down the fire and keep it from spreading to nearby businesses.

Two other buildings were located immediately next to the fire building, but the concrete masonry construction coupled with high parapet walls above the roofline ensured that the two adjacent businesses had no fire or smoke damage.

Bowen Sports Performance did receive substantial damage; about $50,000 to the structure and $60,000 to the contents.

Upon investigation, Kettering said the cause of the fire was determined to be spontaneous combustion of oily rags from a staining project that had been placed into a storage mezzanine just below the roof.

Oil-based paints, stains, and varnishes are commonly used for residential & commercial projects, but they can start a fire if not handled and disposed of properly.

The oils in these products release heat as they dry, and if that heat remains trapped within the material in cloths or rags, it can reach ignition temperature.

Bend Fire & Rescue would like to remind the community to always put oil-soaked rags in a metal container, fill it with water, and close the lid.

Contact your local garbage and recycling company for information on proper disposal of the containers.

For more information and safety tips, visit our website.

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