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Oily rags lead to commercial fire in Gainesville
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A fire damaged a woodworking shop on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard Monday, Jan. 23, 2023. (Photo provided by Gainesville Fire Department)

A fire damaged a woodworking shop in Gainesville on Monday, according to authorities.

Gainesville firefighters responded after 6 p.m. to the 1700 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, where they found smoke coming from the back of the building.

Firefighters forced their way into the building and found flames contained to where the fire started, Gainesville Fire Chief Brandon Ellis said.

“The building suffered mostly smoke damage with minor fire damage to a table with batteries and oily rags,” Ellis said.

The fire marshal determined the cause of the fire to be the oily rags.

Ellis said when these rags dry out, the oil releases heat.

“When those rags are in a pile and the heat can’t escape easily they will cause the rags to heat to a point of self-ignition,” he said. “This is very common in many businesses that use such oils, varnishes and paints that do not have adequate storage and ventilation.”

The fire chief said the fire did not extend to other surrounding buildings. 

“The building will be back operational after the repairs and smoke removal are completed,” Ellis said.