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22nd March 2017

Tumble Dryer Sparks House Fire

Leaving a tumble dryer unattended may save time, but the Cayman Islands Fire Service (CIFS) warns that it isn’t worth the risk.

According to Gov.UK statistics a dryer fire is the second leading cause of house fires, and last month one local resident learned just how dangerous it can be.

“We received a call about an appliance fire in a nearby residence,” Fire Chief David Hails said. “Upon arriving at the scene, the CIFS learned that the homeowner had placed clothes in a dryer and then left. Upon their return, the homeowner was alerted by smoke within the residence. After investigating the incident, it was determined that the fire originated from a tumble dryer due to lint that was trapped in the lint compartment.”

Chief Hails explains failure to properly clean a tumble dryer is the leading factor contributing to dryer fires.

“Tumble dryers are an everyday household item that can pose a serious risk of fire if they are not properly maintained,” he notes. “A tumble dryer operates by blowing hot air through a revolving drum. As clothes are dried, lint is produced as water is removed. Lint accumulation, in the dryer and in the dryer vent, can reduce airflow and create a highly flammable fuel source.”

The fire crew entered the residence with a hose line wearing breathing apparatus and the dryer was removed. The home was also ventilated due to the amount of smoke that had circulated in the air-conditioning system.

Chief Hails now urges all homeowners to follow the tips below to ensure the safety of their homes and families.
Simple Safety Tips to Prevent a Tumble Dryer Fire:

  • Keep dryers in good working order.
  • Do not use the dryer without a lint filter.
  • Make sure to clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry, as well as remove lint that has collected around the drum.
  • Rigid or flexible metal venting materials should be used to sustain proper air flow and drying time.
  • Once a year, or more often if you notice that it is taking longer than normal for your clothes to dry, clean lint out of the vent pipe or have a dryer lint removal service do it.
  • Make sure the right plug and outlet are used and that the machine is connected properly.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions and don’t over-load dryers.
  • Do not leave a dryer running if you leave home or when you go to bed.
  • Never dry items that have come in contact with flammable substances, such as cooking oil, gasoline, and paint thinner, or alcohol.
  • Keep the dryer area clear of things that can burn, such as boxes or clothing.
  • Check the outdoor vent to make sure it is not covered or obstructed.
  • Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
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