Saugus fire was caused by a combustion of rags on a deck

A three-alarm blaze tore through a home on Juniper Drive in Saugus on Tuesday and one firefighter was sent to the hospital. (Spenser R. Hasak)

SAUGUS — A fire that destroyed a single family home in Saugus Tuesday was caused by the spontaneous combustion of rags on a deck.

Workers had been in the 81 Juniper Drive home over the past few days painting and refinishing floors, said State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey in a statement. The fire started on the rear deck where there were supplies, including a pile of rags used to stain the back deck.

“It is important to dispose of oily rags by hanging or spreading them out flat outdoors,” said Saugus Fire Chief Michael Newbury. “Professionals should dispose of them in a listed oily waste container and do-it-yourselfers should put them in an airtight container with a lid like a paint can and cover them with a solution of detergent and water.”

The rags should be disposed of at a hazardous waste collection event, he said.

The fire broke out around noon on Tuesday and quickly escalated to a second, then third alarm.

Newbury ordered crews outside of the home when the roof became unstable.

Firefighters from Saugus, Malden, Lynn, Revere, Melrose, Wakefield. and the Massachusetts Port Authority then attacked the fire from the outside using ladder trucks.

Two firefighters were taken to an area hospital for heat exhaustion. The house was unoccupied when firefighters arrived.

The home was built in 1997 and was valued at about $627,000, according to Patriot Properties. Ostroskey said damages are estimated at $750,000.

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