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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Freshly Laundered Clothes Start Kitchen Fire

07/09/2012

Crews from Hanley and Burslem were called to a kitchen fire on Highton Street, Milton in the early hours of this morning.

"We would urge anyone using a tumble dyer to ensure the appliance is kept in adequate working condition which includes removing fluff and cleaning the filter before and after use."

Station Manager, Mick Daniels

A family of three were safely waiting outside on arrival, after calling the Service at 1.20am to report a blaze involving clothes and two chairs.

Firefighters tackled the fire using one hose reel jet, the occupants were checked over at the scene by Ambulance personnel but did not require any medical treatment.

The fire started after clothes taken out of the tumble dryer ignited after being left in a pile on a glass table.

Station Manager, Mick Daniels said: "The family were incredibly lucky to get out safely this morning, as the fire was only discovered after the woman got up from bed around an hour after emptying the tumble dryer  to use the bathroom.

"She smelt smoke and went to investigate before alerting her family and calling us. There was a working smoke alarm on the stairway wall however it did not activate because it was in the wrong location and therefore did not detect the smoke from the fire.

"This property has not had a free home fire risk check from us so we would urge people who haven’t had one to book it now and if you are fitting your own smoke alarms please ensure they are fitted correctly and in a suitable location as described in the manufacturers instructions – they should always be fixed to a ceiling on each floor level and away from walls and be so located that they protect the escape route which is typically the stairway area. They should be tested weekly by simply ‘pushing the button’.

"The lady told us she had emptied the tumble dryer of a bundle of very hot clothes about an hour before going to bed which she had not separated.

"Clothing should not get this hot in a tumble dryer and if it does, this is usually a sign that there is a problem with the tumble dryer. We found a build-up of fluff in the filter, which is something that needs to be checked and cleared before each use. This would have caused the clothing to get very hot as the air is unable to circulate freely.

"The clothes were in a pile so the heat remained trapped and the clothes then began to smoulder. The cover of two chairs close by also ignited and the glass table they were on eventually shattered.

"We would urge anyone using a tumble dyer to ensure the appliance is kept in adequate working condition which includes removing fluff and cleaning the filter before and after use, we would advise that the appliance is switched off at the plug after use."

Firefighters left the scene at 2.15am and will return to the area in the coming days to offer free Home Fire Risk Checks to residents.