Release date: 1 December 2020
Residents and business owners are urged to take care when using their tumble dryers this winter after a pile of folded, stacked, tumble dried tea towels self-ignited in the early hours of Monday morning.
West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service has issued the warning after being called out to a business premises on Langley Drive, Crawley at 1.56am on Monday after the property’s smoke alarm alerted residents and staff to the fire.
Upon arrival, firefighters from Crawley, Horsham and Turners Hill fire stations found the fire in a ground floor kitchen and firefighters wearing breathing apparatus quickly got to work using two high pressure hose reels, two covering jets and two CO2 fire extinguishers to put out the fire.
Station Commander Lee Walton attended the incident. He said: “As this property had a working smoke alarm system in place, all occupants in the building were given plenty of time to evacuate the building and there were no injuries sustained.
“Investigations suggest this fire began after a pile of freshly washed and tumble dried tea towels were stacked. By doing this, the heat is unable to escape, and in some instances – as we believe the case to be here – this creates temperatures that are hot enough to start a fire.
“We urge everyone, whether you run a business or are at home using a domestic tumble dryer, to always use the cooling cycle on your machine or to let clothes and linen air properly before folding and putting them away. This allows the heat to disperse and substantially reduces the risk of fire.”
WSFRS is reminding residents of some easy steps to follow when using tumble dryers to ensure they stay safe.
- Make sure that washing temperatures and detergents are appropriate for the best removal of oil based contaminants
- Let laundry complete its cooling cycle in the tumble dryer
- Shake out laundry to ventilate before folding or placing garments on hangers
- Thoroughly clean tumble dryers on a regular basis
- Don’t place warm laundry in polythene bags, plastic containers or in poorly ventilated areas
- Don’t leave freshly laundered fabrics stacked overnight
- Don’t forget to test your smoke alarm – only working smoke alarms give an early warning to a developing fire.
For more information see the West Sussex Fire & Rescue section of our website.