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Investigators: Floor sander sawdust caused fatal fire

March 20, 2019

WAPPINGER, N.Y. (AP) — Investigators say spontaneous combustion of sawdust in a floor sander’s dust collection bag caused a house fire that killed a 7-year-old boy last summer in upstate New York.

The Poughkeepsie Journal reports Dutchess County fire investigators ruled the August fire in Wappingers Falls was accidental. The fire killed 7-year-old Sean Burlingame.

The boy’s mother, Dina Pinera, told investigators she and her boyfriend had been working on refinishing the dining room floor and left the sander and cans of polyurethane finish in the living room, where the fire started.

Pinera, her four other children and her boyfriend escaped the burning house.

The report said the sander came with a warning to empty the dust bag to prevent spontaneous heating of sawdust, but the bag wasn’t emptied or removed from the machine.

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Information from: Poughkeepsie Journal, http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com