Two homes were saved on Tuesday after Marion County Fire Rescue firefighters put-down two separate fires caused by faulty appliances.
At 4:52 p.m. dispatchers received an emergency call reporting the first home fire at 17380 SE 66th Ave., in Summerfield. Firefighters were on scene within eight minutes and were able to contain the fire, which was started by the dryer, to the laundry room. The homeowners, who made the emergency call, were safe and outside when crews arrived. The fire was under control in less than 10 minutes.
The second residential fire was called into 911 by the homeowner at 9537 SE 38th Ct., in Belleview, at 6:17 p.m. MCFR was on scene five minutes later. A faulty hot water heater ignited this fire, and since crewmembers had it under control in just six minutes, the mobile home received minimal damage.
No one was injured in either fire. To handle both incidents, MCFR utilized approximately 30 firefighters plus command staff.
In FY 2012-2013, appliance malfunctions caused 22 of the 622 house fires to which MCFR responded. According to a U.S. Fire Administration report, “an estimated 2,900 clothes dryer fires in residential buildings are reported to U.S. fire departments each year and cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss.”
The U.S. Fire Administration provides the following tips for dryer safety:
- Have your clothes dryer installed by qualified personnel.
- Clean the lint filter before and after each cycle. Do not forget to clean the back of the dryer where lint can build up. In addition, clean the lint filter with a nylon brush at least every 6 months or more frequently if it becomes clogged.
- Inspect the venting system behind the dryer to ensure it is not damaged, crushed, or restricted.
- Outside wall dampers should have a covering that will keep out rain, snow, and dirt. Do not, however, use wire screen or cloth as these can collect lint and clog areas of the dryer vent.
- Make sure the outdoor vent covering opens when the dryer is operating.
- The interior of the dryer and venting system should be serviced and cleaned periodically by qualified service personnel, especially if it is taking longer than normal for clothes to dry.
- Replace coiled-wire foil or plastic venting with rigid, non-ribbed metal duct.
- Have gas-powered dryers inspected by a professional annually to ensure that the gas line and connection are intact and free of leaks.
- Check periodically to make sure nests of small animals and insects are not blocking the outside vent.
- Make sure the correct electrical plug and outlet are used and that the dryer is connected properly.
- Read manufacturers’ instructions and warnings in use and care manuals that accompany new dryers.
- Keep the area around the clothes dryer free of items that can burn.
Additionally, the National Fire Protection Association provides the following tips for electrical safety:
- Replace or repair damaged or loose electrical cords.
- Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets.
- Make sure your home has tamper-resistant (TR) receptacles.
- Consider having additional circuits or outlets added by a qualified electrician so you do not have to use extension cords.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for plugging an appliance into a receptacle outlet.
- Avoid overloading outlets. Plug only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time.
- If outlets or switches feel warm, frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuits, or flickering or dimming lights, call a qualified electrician.
- Place lamps on level surfaces, away from things that can burn and use bulbs that match the lamp’s recommended wattage.
- Make sure your home has ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in the kitchen bathroom(s), laundry, basement, and outdoor areas.
- Arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) should be installed in your home to protect electrical outlets.