Spontaneous Combustion Cause Of Fire At Falconer School

Spontaneous combustion of mineral oil-soaked rags was the cause of a small fire early Thursday at Falconer Central School. No damage was reported at the school, which had a two-hour delay to clear the smoke. P-J photo by Eric Tichy

FALCONER — Falconer Central School was on a two-hour delay Thursday after spontaneous combustion of rags in a garbage can caused a small fire in the school’s basement.

No damage was reported after heavy smoke was found by firefighters when they arrived shortly after 1:30 a.m. to a report of a fire alarm at the 220 East Ave. school. Several surrounding volunteer fire departments were summoned for assistance to help locate the source of the smoke.

According to Chautauqua County fire investigators, the fire was the result of spontaneous combustion of mineral oil-soaked cotton rags in a plastic garbage can. The fire — which was ruled accidental — was contained to the custodian’s work shop in the school’s basement, fire investigators said Thursday.

The school was placed on a two-hour delay in order to clear the remaining smoke from the early morning fire, a Falconer school official said. School activities went on as normal for the rest of the day, the official said.