FD: Stain-soaked sawdust in sander sparks Tumalo house fire

$100,000 damage to nearly finished home

TUMALO, Ore. - A fire that caused $100,000 damage to a Tumalo home under construction Tuesday morning was ignited by stain-soaked sawdust in a floor sander, Bend Fire officials said.

Firefighters responded around 6:40 a.m. to the fire reported by the homeowner in a home under construction in the 64900 block of Gerking Market Road, said Deputy Fire Marshal Dan Derlacki. 

Crews quickly put out the fire, preventing it from spreading, but it damaged the floor and ceiling area between the first and second floors of the nearly finished home, Derlacki said.

The cause was found to be ignition of stain-soaked sawdust in a floor sander, produced by the sanding of new wood floors. Derlacki said the sander was not emptied at the end of the day,.

It’s not known if the sawdust spontaneously combusted due to the stain or if the sander malfunctioned and ignited the sawdust, the fire official said.

The fire department reminded stain users to allow the manufacturer’s precautions carefully, to prevent the possibility of spontaneous combustion. 

Oil-soaked rags from deck or other staining projects are a frequent cause of fires. Natural oils such as stains and finishes can self-heat and ignite if not disposed of properly, he said.

More information on the proper disposal of such material can be found at

The Cloverdale Rural Fire District sent a mutual-aid water tender and the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office assisted at the scene, Derlacki said. The American Red Cross was not needed, as the family’s living quarters were not damaged in the fire. Smoke alarms also had not yet been installed in the nearly completed home.

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