Spontaneous combustion is a frightening phenomenon we’ve been highlighting here at FireBuddy
As this latest fire demonstrates, the causes can be wide-ranging:
Grass clippings in a lawnmower that spontaneously combusted started a fire that gutted a Motueka garage.
Two fire crews were called to a home in the 400 block of High St near Courtney St about 7.30am on Wednesday.
Motueka fire chief Mike Riddell said the garage was well ablaze on arrival and it took more than 90 minutes to extinguish the fire.
“Because of the nature of the parapet and its construction it took a while to get that out.
“It was contained by the fact that it [the garage] was stucco on the outside and had, through a window, vented from the outside and released the heat.”
The fire was caused by lawnmower that had been stored with a load of grass clippings still inside from about two weeks ago, Riddell said.
“Grass usually has enough moisture that it will create its own heat over a long period.”
It was possible a plastic cap containing residual oil on top of the catcher might have contributed to the blaze, he said.
The detached garage was gutted internally and all possessions inside were destroyed.
No injuries were sustained.
Riddell believed the structure was probably unrepairable and said it was a timely reminder for locals to consider the safe disposal of combustible materials such as ashes coming into winter.
The Motueka Volunteer Fire Brigade attended several fires each year from compost heaps that were too close to buildings, he said.
“We recommend that you shouldn’t store clippings and mulch near combustibles and inside buildings.”
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