Buyer Beware: Dryer fire danger

(National) Feb. 22, 2005 - John Welsh's house was destroyed in a fire that started with the clothes dryer, "My wife put laundry in about 11:15 at night. By 11:25 the house was ablaze."

Fire officials say lint that had built up in the dryer duct caught fire. Welsh says, "We lost everything that we had." Fortunately, John, his wife and daughter managed to escape.

Dryer fires are all too common, according to Consumer Reports' Jim Nanni, "As many as 20 people a year die in fires linked to clothes dryers. And, that's sad, because it's an avoidable situation."

Consumer Reports says flexible ducts made of foil or plastic pose the most serious problems. They can sag, letting lint build up at a low point. And, ridges can also trap lint.

Experts say flexible or solid metal ducts are far safer. They don't sag, so lint is less likely to build up. And, if a fire does start, a metal duct is more likely to contain it.

Consumer Reports says in addition to installing the right kind of dyer duct you should clean it regularly, so lint doesn't build up. Not only will this reduce the risk of fire, but it will also mean you'll use less energy, and your clothes will dry faster.

News 10 received an email on this story:

My name is Janene B. and I am a volunteer firefighter. Our house caught on fire November 14, 2003. It was caused by the dryer. Ours was not caused by the lint in the dryer, it was caused by the control. One great tip to put out for the people is, don't go to bed with your dryer on and do not leave the house with your dryer running. Thanks.

posted 6:00pm by Chris Rees

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