The S. Family


At approximately 2:45am on February 13 we were awakened by our alarms. My first thoughts were not about fire but to quiet the alarm before it woke up the kids. I entered the garage through the kitchen and momentarily confused by the circumstances.

I had turned the light on but could not see it. The only light I could see was a faint orange glow at the opposite end of the garage. Also, it was very difficult to breathe and the heat was intense. I re-entered the kitchen and closed the door leading to the garage. By now my wife was rousing our children and I went outside to see if I could see how bad the fire was.

I was surprised to see that it had already burned through our fiberglass garage door and was fanning out along the soffit and curling up over the fascia board. Fortunately, we have a garden hose located at this area of the house so I turned it on and started spraying the soffit and garage door. This allowed me to spray water through the burned out hole in the garage door, directly into the fire.

The fire was confined to two metal shelving units where I kept my portable power tools, paint and painting supplies, wood finishing supplies, portable gas cans, gas powered weed trimmers, etc. Basically everything was quite flammable.

Because of the size and nature of the fire I did not expect to be able to put it out with the garden hose but hoped to at least control its spread.  By the time the fire department arrived the fire was confined to one or two of the lower shelves which I could not spray directly because of the angle which I was spraying from. I believe the cause of the fire to be spontaneous combustion of some rags I had used earlier that night in applying an oil finish to a piece of furniture. As I was doing this, I was distracted by our small children and put some of the oil soaked rags on one of the metal shelves, so they would be out of reach of the children. I completely forgot about disposing of the rags.

We are very fortunate we have had a Crossfire Heat Detector in the garage area. The warning gave us ample time to get all the family members out of the house before they were exposed to any danger. IT also allowed the fire to be extinguished before major structural damage could be done to the house. Thank you for a very fine product.