Nearly $100k in estimated damages from fire started by dryer in Burlington

BURLINGTON, N.C. — Almost $100,000 in estimated damages — all because of a dryer.

Burlington Fire Department Deputy Chief Michael Willets said that’s what caused an early morning fire at a home on Westchester Drive in Burlington. Willets said two children and two adults were inside the home when the fire started shortly after 1 a.m. Monday but all four were able to escape the home without injuries.

Lt. Jay Mebane, who works in fire prevention for the Burlington Fire Department, said dryer fires are the second most common type of residential fire, second to cooking fires.

Lt. Mebane said there are three steps every person should take to reduce the likelihood of his or her dryer being a fire hazard.

The first — clean out the lint trap every time before using the dryer.

Second — clean out the dryer’s exhaust hose at least once a month. Lt. Mebane said this can be done with a vacuum cleaner.

“You want to make sure there’s not a crimp or anything that’s obstructing the exhaust to be dissipated,” he said.

The third — clean out the outdoor vent trap.

“Stick your hand in there, take a quick peek, clean it out,” he said.

Lt. Mebane added that you should always turn off your dryer before leaving the house.

Red Cross is assisting the four residents of the Westchester Drive home. Willets said damage was estimated at $85,000 to the structure and $10,000 to the family’s belongings.

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