Fire caused by dryer not ventilated to exterior

Fire caused by dryer not ventilated to exterior

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Milton Street fire
Lebanon firefighters exit a home on Milton Street to retrieve ventilation equipment after a dryer caught fire at the home on Feb. 18. (JEFF SMITH/Lebanon Express)

A small fire in a house at 141 Milton St. caused $150 in damage to a dryer and the clothes in it.

The blaze was confined to the dryer, which is located in a basement with poor ventilation, said Fire Marshal Mark Wilson.

Eleven firefighters responded to the scene at 2:25 p.m. on Feb. 18. A few remained at the scene for a little more than an hour.

Smoke was confined to the basement, but it took some time to ventilate the area and make the basement safe enough to re-enter, Wilson said.

Because the dryer was not properly vented to the exterior of the structure, it built up excessive heat — enough to ignite the small amount of lint that was accumulating on the lint trap during operation, he said. The dryer had been on for about 15 minutes before the occupants noticed the smoke.

The burning lint ignited the clothing inside the dryer, creating a smoldering fire.

Wilson said the damage was confined to the interior of the dryer because the occupants called 911 right away and put water on the smoldering clothes.

Wilson said the house is occupied by Angela Esqueda, her husband, five children and two dogs. No one was injured. Some of the children were at school when the fire started. Everyone was out of the home when firefighters arrived.

Linn County records indicate the property owner is Michelle A. Schoning of Corvallis, he said.

For the safety of the firefighters, Milton Street was closed for about an hour while the fire apparatus were on the scene.

He said it is important that clothes dryers be properly vented to the outside and kept clean of lint build up. A build up of lint can potentially block the vent and create excessive heat just as an improperly vented dryer can.

“In this case the family did a great job of keeping the lint trap clean but it was the improper venting that caused them the loss. Fortunately it was minor in comparison to what it could have been,” he said.

City building official Jason Bush said when he is notified of structure damage from a fire, regardless of cause, he walks through the house and talks to the homeowner about what repairs will be made and the permits needed.

When the city inspects a new or remodeled home, it always makes sure dryer ducts are properly installed.


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