Fire marshal: Oily rags sparked fire at Massachusetts State Police museum

GRAFTON, Mass. (AP) — A weekend fire at the Massachusetts State Police museum that heavily damaged a second-floor conference room was caused by the spontaneous combustion of rags.

State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey says workers were at the museum in Grafton earlier Saturday refinishing wooden molding in the room. The sawdust and stain-soiled rags were placed in a plastic bag and left in the room at the end of the day. Ostroskey says as the rags dry out, they produce heat that can start a fire.

Fire officials say artifacts from the agency’s 151-year history located on the first floor were covered, largely sparing them from damage.

The Massachusetts State Police Museum and Learning Center is located in a former barracks building that closed in 2006. Built in 1931, the building does not have sprinklers.

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