COLUMBIA — Improperly disposed painting rags caused a small residential fire Friday night in southwest Columbia, according to a Columbia Fire Department news release.
Two children and their baby sitter were inside the house at 2206 Port Townsend Court when the fire started, but they were safely across the street by the time the firefighters arrived.
According to the release, the baby sitter was downstairs when she smelled an odor and saw smoke coming from the garage door. She found a small fire inside the garage, evacuated the children and called 911. The smoke alarm was sounding when they left the house.
When the firefighters arrived, Assistant Fire Marshal Sean McCollum found several used cans of stain and solvents and painting rags where the fire had started. The Fire Department determined the improper disposal of the painting rags was the cause of the fire.
There were no injuries, and the Fire Department estimated the damage at $10,000.
The Columbia Fire Department encourages residents to use approved containers to store oily rags and install smoke alarms throughout the house, according to the release, and provides free smoke alarm installation if you call 874-7556.