Oily rags blamed for fire that burned 2 SW Portland homes - KPTV - FOX 12

Oily rags blamed for fire that burned 2 SW Portland homes

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A fire burned two houses in southwest Portland on Monday.

Firefighters were called to the scene at about 2 p.m. after receiving reports that a transformer had exploded.

However, that turned out not to be the case.

Crews said they arrived to find heavy smoke and fire coming from two homes on Southwest Vesta Street.

Firefighters appeared to have the situation under control a short time later.

After further investigation, firefighters said the cause was not a blown transformer, but instead was due to the improper disposal of oily rags.

The rags were soaked in varnish that was applied to a deck. Investigators said the rages were left in a pile on the deck and they eventually ignited.

A couple of small propane tanks did explode, firefighters said, which is likely what the neighbors heard and reported to 911 as an exploding transformer.

A damage estimate was not immediately available.

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