Cutting Street Fire Caused By Linseed Oil-Soaked Rags

The fire that nearly destroyed a home at 24 Cutting St. on Sunday was caused by a “spontaneous combustion” of linseed oil, according to the Jamestown Fire Department.

In particular, the homeowner, who was reportedly working on a project in his basement, left several rags covered with the oil in a bag.

“Over time, a chemical reaction occurred and (the rags) actually started to heat up,” said Sam Salemme, Jamestown battalion fire chief. “They heated up to a certain temperature where they actually ignited.”

Fire crews responded to the scene at approximately 1:30 p.m. and quickly put the fire out.

According to Salemme, the fire traveled through a stud duct in the basement to the attic, causing fire crews to open up walls and the ceiling on the first floor to make sure the fire was thoroughly put out.

“Fortunately for this individual, the rags were burning underneath some copper water pipes,” Salemme said. “(The fire) melted one of the welds on the pipe, causing the water line to burst and put out some of the fire. It acted like a sprinkler system.”

No injuries were sustained during the fire.

Due to a significant amount of soot and smoke damage to the home, the homeowner is reportedly staying with friends.

Firefighters said Sunday that the damage could have been much worse if the homeowner hadn’t returned to his home when he did.