Oily rags spark Northwest Portland classroom fire

PORTLAND, Ore. - An early Wednesday morning fire at Chapman Elementary School was sparked by oily rags in a classroom that combusted, officials said.

Firefighters were called to the small fire at the school at 1445 N.W. 26th Ave. at about 6:15 a.m. After arriving, they saw smoke coming from the second floor. Firefighters found a small fire in the wall.

Portland Fire Lt. Rich Chatman said the fire was accidental and caused by the rags not being stored properly. A teacher was trying to prepare her classroom for the school year, he said.

Petroleum products on a rag can be combustible when they are exposed to air, Chatman said.

It was not clear if the classroom where the fire occurred was useable; the damage was mainly from smoke.