Disinfectant Wipes May Be To Blame For Apartment Fire

Written by on May 20, 2020

There was a fire yesterday afternoon inside a unit of the town apartments in Kahnawake. It began at around 3:45 PM. Kim Mcgregor says her 14 year old daughter first noticed the smoke coming from the upstairs bathroom. Luckily Kim, her daughter, their 2 dogs and a cat were able to get out unhurt.

“We feel lucky that it was just the bathroom and not the whole house, and that nobody got hurt,” she said. “We lost our furniture and stuff but that can all be replaced but we can’t be.”

Kahnawake Fire Brigade Chief David Scott says that chemicals from an everyday household product may be to blame.  

“it still needs to be investigated a little bit further, but it looks like it was a spontaneous combustion in the waste paper basket in the bathroom,” Scott said. “From wipes that were used on a Friday and thrown in there and covered with tissue paper.”

Mcgregor says she had no idea it could be a problem. “I was like, what, wipes caused this? And then he(Scott) explained to me that when it’s covered and it holds the heat it catches fire.”

Scott recommends rinsing out the wipes and then discarding them in a bag and placing them outside as soon as possible. But he says do not flush them down the toilet.

There is some water and significant smoke damage in the apartment and they will not be able to return for quite some time. Mcgregor says they stayed with family last night. She says the Kahnawake Housing department is working on temporary housing for them until repairs are made and they can safely return home.

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