No one wants to return home and find that their garage and everything in it has burned to the ground in their absence. The threat of a residential garage fire is real, yet few consider that it could happen to them — or that the source of the fire is lurking, right now, in their own garage — until the fateful moment of combustion. Of course by then it’s too late.
One seemingly innocent pile of stuff that could lead to your garage becoming a fiery inferno is a pile of rags. Often used for cleaning up spills or wiping hands, once discarded, oily rags become a potential fire hazard — especially if the rags are soaked with linseed oil-based products, like the kind used for wood finishing. A bunch of linseed-soaked rags wadded up together are likely to spontaneously combust. To prevent this, try soaking the used rags in water overnight, or store them in an airtight container — never inside a structure.
Another potential garage fire hazard arises when various container of flammable liquids aren’t stored properly, in a safe and organized fashion. It’s very important that all flammable liquids are correctly identified in order to avoid unnecessary confusion that can lead to accidents in the garage. To avoid a mix up, use a color coding system and special containers for all flammable liquids, and make sure each container is tightly sealed. Even a tiny spark can turn into a blaze if it makes contact with the vapors of gasoline or kerosene.
Lastly, toxic items don’t belong in the garbage when you’re through with them. Instead, find a hazardous waste disposal service in your area to haul away those pool chemicals, pesticides, and antifreeze that you won’t be storing in the garage anymore. And empty out your recycling bins while you’re at it. Especially if you usually store your paper-recycling bin in the garage — an overflowing paper bin is a perfect fuel source for a fire.