Greensboro, NC-- A vent in a clothes dryer destroyed a home on Saturday in Caldwell County. A fire captain shares home fire safety tips that could save your home and your life.
Many times, it starts in the kitchen, but this time it was in the laundry room.
The fire in Caldwell County started inside the dryer. You might think as long as you clean off the lint screen regularly, you're safe. That's not the case and if you use dryer sheets, just cleaning off the lint screen isn't enough.
"They release by heat and it becomes like a glue to the filter screen when it cools back off and it can clog your screen without you really being able to see it," said Fire Cpt. Mike Simmons of the Greensboro Fire Department.
About once a month, Cpt. Simmons recommends actually cleaning off the lint screen with soap and water to remove the leftover residue from the dryer sheets.
"When the air can't ventilate, it just keeps building up heat," said Cpt. Simmons.
Pulling the dryer out from the wall and getting behind there with a vacuum is key in fire prevention. Don't be afraid to vacuum out the hose either. For a family of four, vacuuming behind the dryer twice a year is recommended.
Cpt. Simmons told News 2, "You can do it yourself. You can take the front and back off of a dryer and vacuum the dryer out to remove the lint from it."
Don't run the dryer when no is home. If it overheats, not having someone there to turn it off could cost you your home.
Although, a dryer caused the fire on Saturday in Caldwell County, Cpt. Simmons told News 2, the most common cause of house fires start in the kitchen due to unattended cooking. If you need to step away, turn the stove off and move the pot off the burner.
Even if you have a newer home, don't get too comfortable. Cpt. Simmons explained that age of a structure doesn't guarantee safety.
"No matter how old it is, if you don't take care of it and you don't have a good fire safety program, you're no better off in a new home than you are an old one."
The same rule applies to dryers. A general maintenance plan will keep you safer than just buying new dryers every few years.
Cpt. Simmons told News 2 that it gets between 200 and 300 degrees in your dryer. The more lint, the hotter it can get.
For more fire safety tips, click here: Greensboro Fire & Life Safety
WFMY News 2, Greensboro Fire Department