Aaron, age nine, was instrumental in preventing a full house fire when he smelled smoke. He said that he thought he smelled something burning and saw the smoke coming from behind the dryer. He alerted his family and instructed them to crawl on the floor to avoid getting the smoke into their lungs.
After calling 911, the family was safely outside of the home awaiting the fire department to come help save their home. The Loris Volunteer Fire Department and Horry County Fire and Rescue were dispatched to the home. Upon arrival they proceeded inside the home to investigate the smoke. It was determined the smoke came from the clothes dryer vent.
This family was fortunate to have had Aaron who was aware and had a plan of escape. Aaron said he learned fire safety at Loris Elementary School earlier in the week which helped him to alert family members and lead them to safety.
Dryer vent fires are not uncommon; taking a few steps in prevention will help to avoid a catastrophe. The primary cause of a dyer fire is lint build up, behind, beneath and around the dryer. It is suggested to maintain and service the dryer annually to prevent build up of lint. Keep flammables away from the dryer such as cleaning the dust and lint around the dryer and keeping the area clear of clutter.
Clean the filter before and after each load of laundry is placed in the dryer. This can sit within the dryer cavity which is close to the heating elements where temperatures can reach 550 degrees. Also wiping down the interior of the dryer will remove excess lint build up. Never run a dryer without a lint filter.
Venting should be the rigid or flexible metal material which is behind the dryer providing air flow and lint. Yearly maintenance will deter clogged vents and prevent fire and assure there are no tears or rips in the material leading to the air vent. Another helpful tool is to not overload the dryer with wet clothing; preventing the drum belt, spindle bearings and pulleys to work overtime producing higher than average temperatures. When this happens the friction can ignite a spark and cause a fire.
Never run the dryer when sleeping or when leaving the home as early detection can prevent a house fire.
Aaron learned from a school fire drill how to escape a house fire. He and his family will practice escape routes and what to do if they have a fire in their home. Thanks to Aaron’s quick response his home was saved.