A father of two loaded the clothes dryer before driving the kids to summer camp, a 15-minute trip. He returned to find emergency responders dousing flames. The family lived elsewhere for several months while workers repaired damage and cleaned away smoke and soot throughout the house.
FACT: Home clothes dryer fires cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million USD in property loss annually.
Across town on the same day, a man cooked a delicious meal on his gas grill and neglected to turn off the appliance when he carried the food inside. He smelled smoke shortly thereafter and discovered a rapidly spreading blaze in his garage. Firefighters prevented the flames from spreading but the garage required extensive restoration.
FACT: Peak months for house fires sparked by barbecue grills in order of frequency are July, June, May, August.
Unfortunately, these customers experienced two of the most common causes of structural fires in homes during the warm months. Paul Davis assists homeowners with mitigation and restoration after these devastating events. The company passes on key facts and precautions to help customers avoid these tragic outcomes.
“Most dryer fires are caused by a clogged dryer vent packed with lint,” says Andrew Golkin, President of Paul Davis of Suburban Virginia. “This material is so dry and flammable that campers bring it along to start campfires! He had a few clues that something wasn’t right before the fire. We talk with customers about some of the clues he noticed so they can take precautions.”
What were the warning signs of the dryer fire threat? The man noticed that laundry took a long time to dry and the clothes often felt very hot. Sometimes, the dryer itself felt hot. Most important, he could not remember when he had last cleaned his dryer vent: it stretched behind a wall so he didn’t think about the hidden danger.
FACT: Failure to clean the dryer or vent causes a third of all home dryer fires.
“Barbecue fires are a threat that homeowners can easily manage,” Golkin continues, who adds that five of every six grills implicated in home fires were fueled by gas. “Grills will always present a fire risk because you are using and storing flammable substances near or in your home. But customers can dramatically reduce their risks by taking smart precautions.”
What are the precautions that Paul Davis recommends? Never use the grill inside any part of the structure, including garages. Grill at least 10 feet away from any material that can burn. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby and never leave a grill unattended. Finally, keep the grill clean.
FACT: Accumulated dirt and grease fueled the flames in a third of structural fires sparked by grills.
“We all want to have a great summer as we emerge from COVID restrictions,” Golkin concludes. “But the last thing homeowners should do is throw caution to the wind with these two hazardous home appliances.”