Freaky Fire Stories: Strange Cases from the SERVPRO Files
At SERVPRO of Northbrook / Wheeling / Glencoe, we usually take care of fire damage caused by the usual: kitchen, electrical, accidents with fire hazards, etc.; however, there are some strange cases that illustrate that such disasters can be completely unpredictable. In the spirit of Halloween, we’re providing some scary stories about fire hazards.
The mystery of the rogue microwave: One of the fires we set out to clean up was caused by a microwave. This isn’t necessarily a rare occurrence, but this case was particularly strange. Often, fires start in microwaves because someone put aluminum or a metal utensil in it, or if it was turned on without anything inside it can combust. This wasn’t what happened here. Although it was plugged in, the microwave wasn’t in operation. For some reason (probably electrical) it just decided to flare up, but we’re getting some 2001: A Space Odyssey vibes anyway.
Spontaneous Combustion of Towels: Another case was caused by some towels that decided to combust on their own, with no initial fire involved. While this might sound strange, we actually know the reason for this one. These towels were used to treat stairs with wood stain, and when they were left in a pile, they began to catch on fire. Towels that are soaked in grease or other materials can, if heated up, combust. This is more common if they’re put in the drier, but it can happen on an especially warm day too.
Some other strange incidents are caused by things that otherwise seem harmless. Collected sawdust, air-spray deodorant, and non-dairy coffee creamer can occasionally be culprits for fires. According to PA Media on indpendent.ie, there were several peculiar incidents that occurred in London, including “A teenage boy on his first date sprayed a can of deodorant on himself, then inexplicably lit what remained in the can, causing an explosion,” “A dog hit the controls of a toaster as it leapt on to a worktop to reach food, setting fire to a bag,” and “A pigeon dropped a discarded lit cigarette down a chimney, starting a fire in a bird's nest” (https://www.independent.ie/world-news/and-finally/bizarre-causes-of-fires-revealed-29868711.html). As you can see, there are many weird ways that fires can start, but with knowledge, many of these are preventable. Of course, if you have any problem, question, or concern please give us a call at (847) 498-8889.