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Spontaneous Combustion of Buffing Lint

Q. I am working on a buffing facility and we just recently had a fire on a roll-off container that we use to dispose our buffing lint. The fire started by itself. Can anybody tell me where can I find information about spontaneous combustion of buffing lint and ways to prevent it? I think that the risk of another fire still exists.

Carlos Delgado
- Mexicali, BC, Mexico

A. Carlos,

Surely your local fire department would be a good source, an 'alluminating' source of info, eh?

Lemme hazard a guess that thar buffin' lint weren't perfect an' had some oils of some type in it.

Try linseed oil [affil links] and rags! ... or buffing lint, that's if you want to be a wannabe pyromaniac! Sure will catch fire one of these days!

You have 2 remedies. l) burn the damn stuff and don't leave it to self-ignite. 2) Keep it nice and wet...


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Freeman Newton [deceased]
(It is our sad duty to advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).


"Dust Explosions in the Process Industries"

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Q. Spontaneous combustion of sanding dust from the finishing of hardwood floors: I'm a fire investigator and am currently investigating a fire that is most probably due to improper disposal of sanding dust. The hardwood floors in the house were being sanded and the dust was collected in a vacuum cleaner, which was left in the house. Several hours later there was a fire that originated in the area were the vacuum cleaner was stored. Any information pertaining to this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Albert Spencer
engineering - Nashville, Tennessee

A. It certainly sounds possible, Albert; the more so if any resin was involved. But your situation is outside of my experience and tangential to the focus of this industrial metal finishing site, so I can't promise that helpful responses will be forthcoming. Good luck.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

A. In the safety sections on two separate dust collectors we have specifically list buffing lint as one of the hazardous dust that could be collected.

Kirk Chambers
- Louisville, Kentucky
November 11, 2010

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