Dryer lint is being blamed for a townhouse fire. On Sunday, September 10, at approximately 2:13 a.m., units were dispatched for a reported fire in a townhome in the 6000 block of Ticonderoga Court in the Burke section of Fairfax County.
Units arrived to find a two-story, middle of the row townhouse with smoke showing from the roof. Firefighters located a fire in the basement of the home and quickly brought it under control. No injuries were reported, but a dog was found dead inside the home.
A smoke alarm woke up an occupant of the home who then discovered the fire. That occupant alerted the other occupants of the home. All occupants evacuated prior to fire department arrival.
Fire Investigators determined that the fire was accidental in nature and started in the laundry/utility room in the basement. The fire was caused when lint inside a dryer vent ignited due to restricted air flow.
A total of five occupants were displaced as a result of the fire. Red Cross assistance was offered and accepted.
Damages are estimated to be approximately $62,500.
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue would also like to remind all residents about clothes dryer safety:
- Clean the lint filter before or after each use. Don’t forget to clean the back of the dryer where lint can be trapped. Remove accumulated lint around the drum.
- Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
- Do not operate the dryer without a lint filter.
- The interior of the dryer and venting system should be cleaned periodically by qualified service personnel. If you notice the drying time is longer, clean the vent system thoroughly to ensure proper airflow.
- Replace plastic, vinyl, and aluminum foil venting with rigid or flexible metal venting.
- Ensure the air exhaust bent pipe is unrestricted and the outdoor vent flap opens when the dryer operates.
- Make sure the right plug and outlet are used and the machine is connected properly.
- Do not leave a dryer running if you leave home or when you go to bed.
- Do not dry clothing/fabric on or near anything flammable (alcohol, cooking oils, gasoline, spot removers, dry-cleaning solvents, etc.). Flammable substances give off vapors that could ignite or explode.
- Keep the dryer area clear of things that can burn, such as boxes or clothing.
- Keep dryers in good working order. Gas dryers should be inspected by a professional to ensure the gas line and connection are intact and free of leaks.