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"Green" cleanser cause of blaze that destroyed Somersworth mobile home

By PAT GROSSMITH, New Hampshire Union Leader
February 22. 2013 8:49AM


SOMERSWORTH - A mobile home was destroyed in a blaze overnight Thursday which fire officials believed was caused by chemical combustion involving a citrus cleaner.

Fire Lt. Kenneth Vincent said with the increase in people using "green" cleaning products, the number of chemical combustion fires is on the rise. He said there have been three fires over the past seven years in Somersworth caused by citrus or organic cleaners.

Thursday night's fire was reported at 11:38 pm. at 5 Short St. When firefighters arrived, Anthony Morse, his wife, son and a son's friend were all outside the home.

According to Vincent, Morse heard a "snapping" sound and saw flames coming from under the sink. He grabbed a shovel, went outside to get some snow and tried to put out the blaze while his son call 911.

He was unable to put out the fire and when firefighters arrived, the 12-by-70-foot mobile home was in flames.

Vincent said investigators believe the fire is accidental and started when a container of a citrus cleaner, stored underneath the sink, fell over. The cause may be carried as undetermined, however, because investigators may be unable to identify the other chemical that mixed with the citrus cleaner and caused the fire.

He estimated damage at $50,000 for the mobile home which was totaled.

Vincent advised that any cleanser, whether chemical, citrus or organic, should be stored inside a fire rated, metal container. It also is recommended that any rags used with citrus or organic cleaners first be soaked in water before disposing of them.


Public Safety Somersworth

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