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Firefighters discover the cause of last night's blaze that tore through the Lincoln Building in downtown Spokane.
We've had a history of recent fires downtown...the Mars Hotel, the El Toreador Restaurant. This time it was an office building, and the cause: spontaneous combustion. Fire crews responded to the call just after 10:30 last night, they had the fire knocked down within about an hour. The fire was contained to the second floor. Once investigators could look through the mess this morning, it didn't take them long to figure out what started the blaze. "Basically we've determined the cause of the fire to be spontaneous combustion."
Lieutenant Zambryski says a maintenance crew was using "tung-oil" on the wood paneling in the office, they put the rags in another room, but the tenant wanted to use the room, and put the rags back into the room where the maintenance crews used the tung oil. Zambryski says there wasn't much ventilation in the room, and there were other factors that helped the rags ignite. "They had some paint thinner in the room and a rolling tray, so again you have more vapors, and once it ignited it took off." Spontaneous combustion isn't something that Zamryski has come acrss often. He's seen it about four times in a career of twenty-three years. But he has seen it enough to know that it can happen, and wants people to be aware. "I would caution homeowners to read the directions on any of these products like this tung oil, linseed oil, and follow the instructions to take those rags and get rid of them, wash them, lay them outside, because this could happen."
This isn't the first time there was a fire on the second floor of the Lincoln Building. Only a couple of years after it was built in 1962 a fire swept through the second floor, but like last night, it was kept from going further.
Flames poured from the second story window