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August 19, 2020

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Public Information Unit, 303-441-1500

Structure fire on Apple Valley Road

The fire was likely caused by discarded paint rags

Boulder County, Colo. - At approximately 2:45 p.m. on Aug. 18, the Boulder County Communications Center received a report of a structure fire in the 1,000 block of Apple Valley Rd. in Lyons, Colorado.

Upon arrival first responders discovered a small fire that had started on the outside of the residence. The cause of the fire is believed to be due to the homeowner discarding oil paint rags, which later caught fire. The homeowners were home at the time, but fortunately there were no injuries.

The fire damaged the external portion of the north side of the residence. Firefighters believe that the flames may have reached as high as the attic area. Thermal imaging was used to ensure that the fire was completely contained and extinguished. The home is still inhabitable at this time. There were no threats to any surrounding structures.

Here are some safety tips for safely disposing of oil paint rags:

  • Do not pile or ball rags soaked with oil paint into a tight mass or toss them in the trash while they’re still wet.
  • A safe disposal method is to fill a watertight metal container (like an empty, clean paint can) with the rags and cover with water to prevent any possible combustion. Tap its edges with a hammer to seal it tight. Bring the container to the Hazardous Materials Management Facility (HMMF). More information on that facility can be found here:
  • Another option is to allow the rags to dry thoroughly before disposal. This method is not preferred when it is very hot outside due to combustion concerns. Spread out or hang the oily rags in a single layer in an outdoor area that is out of the sun and is well-ventilated. Be sure to lay them on a noncombustible surface, such as bare soil or concrete; do not lay them on your recently oiled deck, for example.

Further investigation into the fire will be completed by the Multi-Agency Fire Investigation Team (MAFIT).

The following agencies assisted with this incident: Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, Lyons Fire Protection District, Lefthand Fire Protection District, Hygiene Fire Protection District and AMR Ambulance.

The associated Boulder County Sheriff’s Office case number is: 20-3665.


Carrie Haverfield, Public Information Specialist