Investigators: 'spontaneous heating' caused fire at Campus Gyro & Ice Cream

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The Cedar Rapids Fire Department said Sunday night's fire at Campus Gyro & Ice Cream started as a result of 'spontaneous heating.' The fire has been ruled unintentional.

The Cedar Rapids Fire Department is investigating what started a fire at Campus Gyro and Ice Cream on the southwest side Sunday night. (Courtesy: Joel Arthur Jayne / Facebook)

Firefighters got the call around 11:45 p.m. Sunday when an adjacent business owner reported fire coming from Campus Gyro & Ice Cream in southwest Cedar Rapids.

Laundered towels and aprons placed into a bag Sunday afternoon were still hot. The bag, which was stored in the kitchen, caught fire later in the evening.

Firefighters were able to contain the flames, but there was extensive damage to the business. It's closed until further notice.

The fire department said rags or towels which contain animal fats or greasy material should be placed in a metal container with a lid.

"If aprons, towels or rags are laundered, it is important to note that the detergent may not remove all of the animal fats or oils from the laundry. Care should be taken when the items are placed in the dryer to ensure that they are not dried at too high of a temperature that can increase the likelihood of spontaneous combustion. The laundry should also go through a thorough cooling cycle. Spontaneous combustion of oily laundry occurs when a flammable or combustible substance is slowly heated to its ignition point through oxidation," the fire department said in a release.