Folded linen fire warning issued

Julie Fear, owner, and chef Stuart Harmer at The Boat House in Littlehampton, where folded linen ignited, sparking a fire
Julie Fear, owner, and chef Stuart Harmer at The Boat House in Littlehampton, where folded linen ignited, sparking a fire

Folding hot clothes straight from the tumble dryer could cause a fire, people have been reminded.

West Sussex Fire and Rescue wants to alert residents again, having had three such fires to deal with in just a few months.

Station manager Simon Foster, business fire safety, emphasised the need to be vigilant of the risks: “Folding and stacking hot clothing or linen straight from the tumble dryer means the heat cannot escape. In some instances, the heat can create temperatures that are hot enough to ignite a fire.

"We urge everyone, whether you run a business or are at home using a domestic tumble dryer, to always use the cooling cycle on your machine or to let the clothes and linen air before folding and putting them away. This allows the heat to disperse and the risk of fire diminishes.”

There was an incident in Littlehampton in September, in which folded linen ignited sparking a fire, and further incidents in Crawley and Hurstpierpoint, where it is suspected fires started within clothing and linen that had been tumble-dried.

No injuries were caused by the recent blazes but both resulted in significant heat and smoke damage to the premises.

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service advice:

Do:

• Make sure that washing temperatures and detergents are appropriate for the best removal of oil based contaminants

• Let laundry complete its cooling cycle in the tumble dryer

• Shake out laundry to ventilate before folding or placing garments on hangers

• Thoroughly clean tumble dryers on a regular basis

Don’t:

• Place warm laundry in polythene bags, plastic containers or in poorly ventilated areas

• Leave freshly laundered fabrics stacked overnight

• Forget to test your smoke alarm – only working smoke alarms give an early warning to a developing fire