Garden City, MI Residents Escape Potentially Deadly Dryer Fire

Two people escaped a potentially deadly incident about 1 p.m. Wednesday in the 33400 block of Donnelly.

A man and woman were sleeping in the basement at the time. The man woke up coughing and smelling smoke and called 9-1-1.

His brother had just thrown a load of clothes in a stackable dryer. Clothes in and outside of the dryer caught fire.

“There were no working smoke alarms in the house,” Garden City Fire Chief Catherine Harman said.

The two people made it up the stairs and out of the house with soot on their faces. They were treated at the scene.

Harman pointed out the precarious area of the home where the people were sleeping. There was one exit path — up the stairs and out the door. She also emphasized the importance of having a smoke detector in every room and that dryer lint traps should always be clean.

During a fire about 800 different chemicals can be released in a house, Harman said.

According to experts, lack of maintenance is the leading cause of dryer fires. Clothes dryers must vent hot air to the outside of the house. If lint builds up in the exhaust vent or inside and around the dryer, it can block the flow of air, causing the dryer to perform poorly. It raises the operating temperature of the dryer and causes overheating.

Insufficient airflow can also result from improper installation or a crushed exhaust vent.

If clothing is still damp at the end of a typical drying cycle or drying requires longer times than normal, the screen or exhaust duct might be blocked. Check the outside dryer vent while the dryer is operating to make sure exhaust air is escaping. If it is not, the vent or the exhaust duct might be blocked.

If using a dryer, use the lowest heat setting and a drying cycle that has a cool-down period at the end of the cycle. To prevent clothes from igniting after drying, do not leave the dried clothes in the dryer or piled in a laundry basket.

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Twitter: @SueSbuck

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