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Spontaneous Combustion Blamed for Cedar Rapids Fire

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Firefighters believe spontaneous combustion is what caused a house fire in Cedar Rapids, Friday afternoon.

Around two, a passerby noticed smoke coming from 551 10th Street Southwest and reported it to authorities.

Once fire crews arrived they found flames on the first floor of the house and knocked them down.

Investigators believe the fire was caused by a wood finish called linseed oil. They said the chemical was used on rags to clean kitchen cabinets. The rags were then thrown into a bathroom hamper where they heated up and spontaneously ignited.

The fire caused significant damage to the home but no one was hurt.

“Perhaps a total loss when you consider the heavy fire damage on the first floor and extensive smoke damage on throughout,” said Greg Buelow, the city’s public safety spokesman.

The family of three was displaced by the fire. They’ll either be staying with relatives or receive shelter through the American Red Cross, according to fire officials.

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