The responded to a sponateous-combustion incident in the Sunset Park neighborhood on Saturday night.
Fire trucks, a battalion chief and hazardous-materials trucks arrived at a residence near 18th St. and Oak St. around 6:20 PM. After seeing smoke coming out of the rear garage, they forcibly entered the residence.
Firefighters discovered that an individual in the residence had been steaming wood with linseed oil. As they cleared out the smoke, they found that rags had started to spontaneously combust.
"When it reaches its ignition, there's a chemical reaction that starts a fire and starts burning the rags as it oxidizes," Santa Monica Fire Chief Capt. Judah Mitchell told Santa Monica Patch. "As it reached its ignition temperature, starting to put off a lot of smoke, [the firefighters] basically got to the rags before the fire started. If it had been one or two hours later, we would've had a full-blown structure fire."
After the firefighters dealt with the situation, they used a thermal-image camera and determined that there wasn't any flame or heat in the residence.
Santa Monica Patch first learned of the incident after receiving a tip from a reader.