Monday, February 14, 2005, WDIV-TV
Deadly Dryer Fire In Rochester Hills, Michigan
Firefighter said a house fire that turned fatal in Rochester Hills started
from a clothes dryer.
Authorities responded to the fire at a home in the 2700 block of Venome
Firefighters removed a 57-year-old woman from the home. She was taken to St.
Joseph Mercy Hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.
Inspectors later determined that the fire was sparked by a clothes dryer.
Most recent national statistics show that more than 14,000 dryers caught
fire in 1998, causing 312 injuries and 19 deaths, Local 4 reported.
Authorities say that lint in dryers is combustible and dryers that have an
inadequate ventilation system can quickly catch fire when overheating.
"If for some reason, your clothes are taking twice as long to dry or
something like that, you need to have your dryer checked because that could
be a real cause," said Rochester Hills Fire Department Chief Ron Crowell.
Oakland County Sheriff's deputies said they do not know if the 57-year-old
woman died from smoke inhalation or burn wounds.
There were apparently no smoke detectors inside the home, officials said.
For more information, go to www.clickondetroit.com.
Consumer Product Safety Commission Report
Overheated Clothes Dryers Can Cause Fires
CPSC Document # 5022
Updated June 2003
The U.S. Consumer Product safety Commission estimates that in 1998, clothes dryers were associated with 15,600 fires, which resulted in 20 deaths and 370 injuries. Fires can occur when lint builds up in the dryer or in the exhaust duct. Lint can block the flow of air, cause excessive heat build-up, and result in a fire in some dryers.
To help prevent fires:
Clean the lint screen/filter before or after drying each load of clothes. If clothing is still damp at the end of a typical drying cycle or drying requires longer times than normal, this may be a sign that the lint screen or the exhaust duct is blocked.
Clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct periodically. Check the outside dryer vent while the dryer is operating to make sure exhaust air is escaping. If it is not, the vent or the exhaust duct may be blocked. To remove a blockage in the exhaust path, it may be necessary to disconnect the exhaust duct from the dryer. Remember to reconnect the ducting to the dryer and outside vent before using the dryer again.
Clean behind the dryer, where lint can build up. Have a qualified service person clean the interior of the dryer chassis periodically to minimize the amount of lint accumulation. Keep the area around the dryer clean and free of clutter.
Replace plastic or foil, accordion-type ducting material with rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal duct. Most manufacturers specify the use of a rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal duct, which provides maximum airflow. The flexible plastic or foil type duct can more easily trap lint and is more susceptible to kinks or crushing, which can greatly reduce the airflow.
Take special care when drying clothes that have been soiled with volatile chemicals such as gasoline, cooking oils, cleaning agents, or finishing oils and stains. If possible, wash the clothing more than once to minimize the amount of volatile chemicals on the clothes and, preferably, hang the clothes to dry. If using a dryer, use the lowest heat setting and a drying cycle that has a cool-down period at the end of the cycle. To prevent clothes from igniting after drying, do not leave the dried clothes in the dryer or piled in a laundry basket.
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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $700 billion annually. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard or can injure children. The CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals - contributed significantly to the 30 percent decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.
by Carol Marshall
More than 20 Troy firefighters responded to a house fire on Randall Street last week.
The call came at 11:20 a.m. Feb. 18. According to Assistant Fire Chief Dave Roberts, the fire had started in the clothes dryer.
"The house has extensive damage. It's up to the insurance company as to whether or not it can be restored, but the house is still standing. It's not a total loss," Roberts said. Damage is estimated at more than $100,000.
At the time of the fire, two teenage girls were home. They were treated for smoke inhalation.
When fire fighters from two of the city's six stations arrived, they found heavy smoke coming from the upper and lower levels of the tri-level house. The family had escaped the house before firefighters arrived.
One firefighter suffered a minor head injury when he fell at the scene.
"It was just terrible," said Jeanne Stine, who serves as the hotel liaison to the Troy Firefighter Women's Auxiliary. "They must have lost everything."
The message from the fire department is: Clean your clothes dryer lint traps.
Dryers must be vented to the outside and lint traps must be cleaned often. Be sure your home is equipped with working smoke detectors, and test the detectors regularly. Change the battery at least annually, and have an escape plan.