Family escape as clothes catch fire at house in Milton
A FAMILY had a lucky escape after a pile of clothes taken out of a tumble dryer caught fire.
Firefighters said the clothes were so hot they began to smoulder, and the fire then spread to two nearby chairs and shattered a glass table.
The homeowner, who had left the clothes on the kitchen table before going to bed, only became aware of the blaze after getting up to use the bathroom.
She alerted her family and the three of them got out of the house before firefighters arrived. No one was hurt.
Crews from Hanley and Burslem were called to the house on Highton Street, in Milton, at 1.20am yesterday.
Station manager Mick Daniels said: "Firefighters tackled the fire using one hose reel jet.
"The occupants were checked over at the scene by ambulance personnel but did not require any medical treatment.
"The fire started after the lady who lives at the house emptied the tumble dryer of a bundle of very hot clothes about an hour before going to bed, which she had not separated. They had been left on a glass table.
"Because the clothes were in a pile the heat remained trapped and the clothes then began to smoulder.
"The cover of two chairs close by also ignited and the glass table they were on eventually shattered.
"The family were incredibly lucky to get out safely, as the fire was only discovered after the woman got up from bed around an hour after emptying the tumble dryer to use the bathroom.
"She smelt smoke and went to investigate before alerting her family and calling us.
"The family of three were safely waiting outside on our arrival."
Following an investigation it appears the clothes may have got so hot because the tumble dryer's filter was blocked.
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has urged homeowners to check their own appliances.
Mr Daniels said: "Clothing should not get this hot in a tumble dryer and if it does, this is usually a sign that there is a problem with the appliance.
"We found a build-up of fluff in the filter, which is something that needs to be checked and cleared before each use.
"This would have caused the clothing to get very hot as the air is unable to circulate freely. We would urge anyone using a tumble dyer to ensure the appliance is kept in adequate working condition which includes removing fluff and cleaning the filter before and after use. We would advise that the appliance is switched off at the plug after use."
The fact that a smoke alarm at the property was fixed to a wall, instead of the ceiling, meant it had not gone off.
Mr Daniels said: "Smoke alarms should always be fixed to a ceiling on each floor level and away from walls, and be so located that they protect the escape route which is typically the stairway area. They should be tested weekly by simply pushing the button.
"This property had not had a free home fire risk check from us so we would urge people who haven't had one to book it now."
Firefighters left the scene at 2.15am and will be in the area in the next few days to offer home fire risk checks to residents.
To book a free home fire risk call 0800 0241 999 or go to www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk.