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Avoid These Unexpected – and Sometimes Ridiculous – Fire Risks

Most fires are caused by common things like cooking accidents, chimney fires, or electrical shorts, but there are some unexpected items and actions that could cause a fire in your home. 

house on fire with smoke and flames coming from roofSome things are downright silly (which, of course you would never do), but other fires are caused by items to which you never give a second thought. As fire restoration specialists, we’ve seen it all, and here are some interesting anecdotes from across the country.

An Unexpected Fire Risk

To follow the best fire safety practices, be aware of the following threats:

  • (Rubbing) Alcohol and cigarettes. An Ohio man was having trouble with bed bugs – they had infested his couch. He decided the best way to get rid of them was to spray the sofa with rubbing alcohol while smoking a cigarette. Not only did this create a house fire, the man was taken for treatment with severe burns.
  • The homemade ashtray incident. The actions some people take stretch believability and this is one of them. Rather than buying an ashtray or using a dish, an Oregon family decided to simply cut a hole in the floor of their family room so the ashes would go into the basement. This mind-boggling solution meant a basement fire that caused thousands of dollars in damage. While the real moral of the story is to not smoke, if you do, please use a proper vessel for your ashes.
  • Linseed oil – fire safety’s underrated enemy. Linseed oil is used to polish and protect wood, but it’s incredibly flammable. Once applied, it’s safe for your furniture, but those rags used to apply the oil can cause a spontaneous fire. This means no spark is required – the rags will just burst into flames because of chemical buildup. Dispose of rags in a metal can with a lid and seal it until you’re ready to dispose of the rags.
  • Glass jars on the window sill. This is one surprising hazard, as an elderly woman in South Carolina found out. When sunlight refracted through one of the glass jars she had lined up on her window sill, it was concentrated on her curtains and caused a kitchen fire. While unusual, refracted light through glass doorknobs, glass wind chimes and glass panes left leaning against walls can also cause fires.
  • Drying underwear in the microwave. When a teenage boy in Texas tried to dry his wet underwear in the microwave the elastic band burst into flames. This created a large fire and lots of smoke damage to the kitchen area. Microwave fire safety should be common knowledge, but it’s human nature to experiment. Do not put cloth, paper, metal or plastic in a microwave.
  • Plug-in air fresheners. They may make your home smell better, but there are a number of fire dangers associated with these plug-in marvels. They’ve actually been the cause of a number of house fires, and pose several different risks.  Many plug-in fresheners are made from very thin plastic and wall outlets can get extremely hot. If you leave them plugged in all the time, they pose a significant fire risk. If you use them, be sure to unplug them at night and when you leave the house.

While some of these incidents are worthy of Darwin Awards, fire safety education is critical. If in doubt about how safe something will be, call your local fire department.

If you do have home fire, call a restoration specialist right after your insurance company. This will allow work to get started immediately to get your life back to normal.

After a Fire, Call Complete DKI, the Fire Restoration Specialists

Complete DKI is a professional fire damage company specializing in comprehensive repairs.

We remove contents for cleaning after fire damage, eliminate smoke odor, and clean the entire structure. Our team takes pride in restoring residential and commercial buildings and personal belongings from fire damage.

We have a full team of licensed restoration contractors, with experience, expertise, and empathy for homeowners whose property has suffered from a fire accident, no matter what the cause. 

Complete DKI is your one-stop shop for all fire damage services and can help bring your property out of ruins to its original condition. 

For the best in restoration after a fire, contact Complete DKI 24/7.

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