Fire Chief: Spontaneous combustion caused fire at Poplar Bluff Dairy Queen

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KAIT) - Fire officials believe a fire at the Dairy Queen in Poplar Bluff on October 17 was caused by spontaneous combustion.

Poplar Bluff Fire Chief Ralph Stucker says oily rags were piled up in a container and caused the combustion.

He also says employees were taking these rags out of the dryer and placing them in a hamper in the kitchen and believes that heated oily rags were the ignition source for the fire.

Stucker did some research and found a study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission stating that towels containing less than 3 percent residue of vegetation oil after normal laundering could still generate spontaneous combustion.

The restaurant will be closed for the foreseeable future after a fire damages the interior of the building.

According to the Poplar Bluff Fire Department, the fire was at the Dairy Queen at 2730 N. Weswood.

Stucker says the fire started around 1:30 a.m. in the kitchen area of the restaurant.

Employees left the store two hours prior to when firefighters arrived.

There is extensive interior damage to the Dairy Queen from both heat and smoke.

Chief Stucker believes the fire put itself out when a water filter busted.

Store manager Kerry Isbell says all of the food is lost except what was in the freezer.  This food could be salvaged but according to Isbell could be donated to charity.

The Dairy Queen hopes to be reopened by Christmas.

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