Tumble dryer warning after spate of fires

Fire safety officers are warning residents to properly maintain their tumble dryers after more than 40 fires started in Lancashire last year as a result of the electrical appliances.

Tuesday, 6th June 2017, 9:15 am
Updated Tuesday, 13th June 2017, 3:28 pm
The garage was seriously damaged during the incident

The fires, which took place across the whole of the county, accounted for more than 50% of blazes in private garages and garden sheds, warned Lancashire Fire and Rescue.

Steve Flitcroft, Community Safety Adviser said: "In Lancashire last year we had 44 tumble dryer fires which occurred in domestic premises.

"One of the main causes is the build up of fluff. The filters should be cleared after every use and clothing should be checked for scorch or burn marks. This can be a sign that there is overheating inside which could cause a fire."

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The garage was seriously damaged during the incident

One woman, who lives in Poulton had a lucky escape after her tumble dryer went up in flames just before Christmas.

Christine Thistlethwaite, 50, was horrified to discover the speed with which the fire spread around her garage.

The gym receptionist said: "We were all getting ready for Christmas. We took out a towel and some tea towels and put them into the tumble dryer.

"We heard a banging sound in the garage and a fuse went. We tried to flick it back on but it wouldn't come back on.

The garage was seriously damaged during the incident

"We thought the banging sound had come from outside. When we went out to look at the garage there some flames coming out of the door.

"There was black smoke billowing out everywhere. It all happened really quickly within minutes, we were really shocked."

The family closed the door to the garage and moved cars that were parked on their driveway away from the fire.

Christine added: "We were quite frightened, it was so out of control. We didn't want to affect the neighbours.

"The fire brigade were really good and came quickly.

"Having seen the speed that a fire can spread from a tumble dryer I would never leave one on and leave the house.

"It's shocking because we followed all the safety advice, but we still suffered a fire."

The Fire Service responded within minutes and managed to bring the blaze under control using a breathing apparatus and a hose reel.

Watch Manager Warren Topp said: "Every fire scenario has the potential to cause significant property damage and severe harm to occupants if not dealt with appropriately.

"Luckily In this case the occupant decided to close the door on the fire and call the fire service out immediately. This split second decision can sometimes be the difference between life and death and should never be taken lightly.

"Just a few breaths of toxic smoke from and electrical fire can easily render a person unconscious. This is why we always issue the advice to get out, stay out and call the fire service out."

Nobody was injured during the incident although the garage suffered serious damage following the blaze.

Safe Maintenance

-ï‚·Clean out lint and fluff from the filter and around the door after every use.

-ï‚· Watch out for scorching or burn marks, and check for loose or worn wires.

-ï‚· Have your dryer serviced annually by a qualified engineer.

Safe Use

- Never overload – take large or bulky items such as duvets to the dry-cleaners.

- Always allow each drying programme, including the cool down cycle to complete fully.

- Don't stop the dryer before the end of the cycle unless all items are quickly removed and the door is left open to dissipate heat.

- Leave clothes contaminated with combustible substances such as solvents, grease, oils or fats out of tumble dryers.

- Don't leave dryers, dishwashers and washing machines on overnight. If possible, unplug or switch off appliances at the socket overnight and when going out to avoid the risk of an electrical fault causing a fire.

- Tripping circuit breakers or burning smells could signal a serious issue. Switch off the appliance and call an engineer.