Newspaper Articles

Newspaper Articles

Fire marshall issues warning concerning clothes dryers

TORONTO – Domestic clothes dryers may be convenient, even taken for granted by many consumers,  but they continue to pose a  fire hazard in North American homes, a Toronto fire expert said this week.

Marla Friebe, Acting information officer for the Toronto Fire Services, said Canadians need to be less lackadaisical about what’s going into, and coming our of their dryers.  Maintaining a lint-free unit is particularly critical in this country, she said, because of our tendency to over-use dryers during our long winters.

Friebe said the heavier woolen and fleece clothes Canadians love to wear in winter may be cozy, but the large amounts of lint they shed while being machine dried tend to pack tightly into dryer crevices and cavities, cling to exhaust hoses and pipes, and generally increase the risk of fire.

Failure to clean out lint traps in the main cause of dryer fires, according to Friebe.  When exhaust ports become clogged, the materials trapped in them can become “SUPER HEATED”, turning relatively innocent lint into a fire waiting-to-happen.

“In Canada, we use our dryers probable excessively, “Friebe said. “It’s very important to make sure the (dryer) lint trap is emptied, and the pipe is clear before every usage”.

Friebe recommends people use their vacuum cleaner to clear out any lint accumulated in the dryer and exhaust system.

There were nearly 13,000 clothes dryer fires in homes last year in the United States,  according to statistics published by the U.S. Fire Administration, fires that caused 15 deaths, more than 300 injuries and and statistics available for Canada,  Friebe said

There are about 12,700 clothes-dryer fires in residential buildings annually in the United States, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. These preventable fires caused 15 deaths, 300 injuries and about $88 million US in property damage.  There are no comparable statistics available for Canada.

Firefighters attend to a fatal fire at a home in East Gwillimbury on March 29, 2013

Toronto – An improperly vented clothes dryer and the lack of a smoke detector on the main floor of a home were the factors that led to a fatal fire that killed a family of four in a small Ontario town north of Toronto last March.

We were able to identify that the spread, fire, and smoke was sufficiently quick enough that by the time the second floor smoke alarm activated, the occupants were trapped.” Ontario Fire Marshal Ted Wieclawek during a press conference Wednesday morning.

A final report from the Office of the Fire Marshal revealed that the lack of an alarm on the main floor caused the delay in the fire department response time in the early morning hours on March 29, 2013.

Improperly vented clothes dryer cause of deadly East Gwillimbury fire.