• Spontaneous combustion of rags nearly leveled Saugus home, fire marshal says


    SAUGUS, Mass. - Improperly discarded rags and other floor finishing supplies spontaneously combusted and sparked a massive blaze in Saugus Tuesday, according to the state fire marshal. 

    Massachusetts’ Fire Marshal Pete Ostroskey determined the cause was spontaneous combustion of rags used to treat and stain the back deck. 

    The Saugus home was nearly leveled by the blaze as the family was away. According to Ostroskey, work was being done to paint and refinish the floors and the back deck at the home. 

    “It is important to dispose of oily rags by hanging or spreading them out flat outdoors,” Saugus Police Chief Michael Newbury said. “Professionals should dispose of them in a listed oily waste container and do-it-yourself-ers should put them in an airtight container with a lid like a paint can and cover them with a solution of detergent and water. Then dispose of at a hazardous waste collection event.”

    The homeowners, a senior pastor and pastor at TDM Church in Malden, were honored on Wednesday with their 12-year-old son in front of pastors and parishioners from five other congregations.

    The family who owns the home was on a religious mission trip in the Amazon rainforest, and was supposed to be home on Tuesday around the time the fire started.

    However, they were asked to stay in Brazil a little longer to continue preaching, which they now view as a sign from above.

    The house was estimated to have around $750,000 in damage. 

    Two firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion while battling the fire. 

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