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UPDATE: Structure Fire - 1200 block of Elevator Road

For immediate release: September 21, 2020 - 9:18am
20-12144

The investigation into a fire that occurred on September 20, 2020 in the 1200 block of Elevator Road has concluded. A fire investigator has identified the cause to be accidental as a result the spontaneous combustion of improperly disposed of soiled applicators. The applicators, which had been soiled with a stain product, had not been given ample time to dry in an open-air environment before they were improperly stored for future disposal.

Rags, towels, and other applicators that have been soiled with combustible products, such as oil-based paints, stains, and finishes release heat while drying; if that heat is trapped and has access to an oxygen supply, it will build up and create an ideal environment for a fire to start.

The Fire Prevention and Investigation section reminds members of the public of the following tips for safely using, cleaning, and storing or disposing of soiled applicators:

  • Allow adequate drying time by hanging soiled rags in an open-air environment and away from combustible materials,
  • Never bundle soiled rags together or leave them in a pile; this can create a chemical reaction allowing them to self-heat and spontaneously combust,
  • Once dry, place the soiled rags in a metal container with a tight-fitting lid to limit the amount of oxygen,
  • Keep the metal container in a cool place and out of direct sunlight, and
  • Never store soiled rags or the containers that they are in near a heat source.

Damage resulting from this fire has been estimated at about $30,000.

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At approximately 8:57 p.m. on September 20, 2020, the Saskatoon Fire Department received a 911 call reporting a detached residential garage to be filled with smoke; the caller notified fire dispatchers that one vehicle remained inside the garage and that they were unsure what might be on fire. Three fire engines, one rescue unit, one aerial ladder truck, one fire investigation unit, and one battalion chief responded.

Upon arrival, firefighters located an oversized double detached residential garage with a significant amount of smoke emanating from it. Immediately connecting to a nearby hydrant and using hydraulic rescue tools to breach the overhead door, fire crews made entry into the structure and brought the flames under control in less than 30 minutes from the time of the first fire engine arriving on scene. Searches of the structure using a thermal imaging camera confirmed there to be no occupants or pets inside at the time of the fire. There were no injuries reported as a result of this incident.

A fire investigator is working to identify a cause and assess the damage; an update will be provided upon review of the investigative findings.