A Berkeley resident learned an old lesson the hard way Saturday.
Firefighters have long preached the gospel of proper storage of rags used for staining wood, given that stains invariably contain easily ignited compounds that can self-ignite under the wrong circumstances.
And it was spontaneous combustion on a hot summer afternoon that ignited stain-soaked rags outside a home in the 2500 block of Martin Luther King Junior Way, reports Berkeley Deputy Fire Chief Gil Dong.
The rag fire spread to nearby and summer-dry plants, thence to a fence, which was aflame when firefighters arrived shortly after 3 p.m.
Their prompt response kept the blaze from spread-ing and held damage to under $2,500, said the deputy chief.