San Rafael fire may have been caused by spontaneous combustion

SAN RAFAEL (BCN) — The San Rafael area recorded what appears to be another spontaneous combustion fire Thursday, according to the San Rafael Fire Department.

Firefighters from Marinwood, San Rafael and Novato responded shortly after 10 p.m. to a fire in a garage of a one-story home in the 200 block of Mt. Shasta Drive in Marin County, fire officials said.

Crews found smoke and fire rising from the garage and were able to stop the fire from spreading to the rest of the home, according to the fire department. But the fire damaged the garage, an exterior wall and a fence.

Fire officials estimate the amount of damage at more than $50,000.

All civilians and firefighters left the home uninjured, according to the fire department.

Fire officials said the cause of the fire is under investigation, but it appears to have started spontaneously. Spontaneous combustion occurs when an object chemically heats to its ignition temperature.

Fire officials said the fire may have started when oily towels used in a wood deck refinishing project ignited. Someone left the towels beside the house, fire officials said.

More than a dozen fires in the San Rafael area in the past several years have started spontaneously when someone disposed of oily towels or materials improperly, according to the fire department.

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