Hot weather and oily rag lead to fire at home in Woolpit

The combination of the hot weather and a rag soaked in linseed oil has led to fire crews being called to a home in Woolpit.

The drama unfolded last night just before 9pm in Wrights Lane prompting crews to be called from Stowmarket, Bury St Edmunds, Elmswell and Ixworth.

The fire destroyed a garage and caused significant damage to the house after the occupants discovered their outside garage alight and alerted Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service.

The blaze started because of linseed oil on a rag in the garage which heated up and caught alight, setting off a gas canister. The fire then engulfed the garage and then spread to the house.

There were no casualties but there is believed to be significant damage to half the house, with the downstairs toilet, main bathroom and back two bedrooms all ruined.

Fire investigators were at the scene on this morning and Station Commander Mark Walker of Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said the most likely cause appeared to be the rag and stressed the importance of disposing of oil-soaked materials properly.

“Linseed oil, and oils in general, self-heat,” he said.

“If the oil is trapped in the folds and creases of a rag it can’t dissipate quickly enough and can lead to combustion, as would appear to have happened here.

“The safest thing to do is to lay the rag out flat and allow it to dry.”

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