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Forum staff reports, Published April 24 2013

Moorhead cabinet shop fire blamed on stain rags

MOORHEAD – Fire investigators have determined a fire that damaged a Moorhead cabinet shop last week was accidental, caused by spontaneous combustion of stain rags that ignited nearby combustibles, Moorhead Fire Chief Rich Duysen said Wednesday.

Friday morning’s fire at Mill Creek Custom Cabinets started in a plastic garbage can near a saw in a woodcutting area of the shop at 2828 24th Ave. S., Duysen said.

It appeared the fire burned most of the night, Duysen said, adding there was no fire alarm or suppression system in that area of the shop.

Spontaneous combustion of stain rags is a common cause of fires at cabinet shops that use fast-drying, oil-based stain, he said.

“It just evaporates so fast that it heats up, and then as it’s heating, if it’s insulated at all, it’ll build up enough heat to start the rag on fire,” he said.

Stain rags should be stored in a metal container with water in it, he said.

A damage estimate is still being prepared by the company’s insurer, he said.