LYNNWOOD — Bad wiring behind a clothes dryer caused about $50,000 damage to a home in the Lynnwood area late March 20 and displaced the family of seven that lived there.
The residents reported the fire at 11:29 p.m. at their tri-level home in the 19200 block of First Ave. SE. All seven family members safely exited the home.
“The residents reported smelling smoke and traced the smell to the laundry room. When they pulled the dryer away from the wall, they saw flames and called 911,” said Leslie Hynes, public information officer for Snohomish County Fire District 1.
When the first engine arrived from the Hilltop Fire Station, smoke was coming from the eaves of the home.
“There was fire in the laundry room and a crawl space behind the laundry room wall and beneath the kitchen floor,” Hynes said. “Fire damage was limited to this area, but there was smoke damage throughout the home, leaving it uninhabitable.”
Crews from Fire Districts 1 and 7 and Bothell Fire Department responded to the call. There were no injuries.
Investigator Ed Hardesty of the Snohomish County Fire Marshal’s office said the fire appeared to have been started by an electrical short in the wiring in the crawl space behind the laundry room wall.
The family stayed with neighbors the first night and was receiving assistance from the Red Cross. They were renting the home and have insurance, Hynes said.
While this particular fire wasn’t a case of dryer safety and maintenance, Hynes said, it’s important to note that clothes dryers accounted for the largest share of appliance and tool fires between 1994-1998, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
There were 14,300 clothes dryer fires in American homes in 1998, resulting in 19 deaths, 312 injuries and $67.7 million in direct property damage, according to the fire protection association’s 2002 Home Product Report.
“The leading cause of home clothes dryer fires was lack of maintenance (30 percent), followed by unidentified or unknown-type mechanical failure (11 percent) and part failure, leak or break (10 percent),” stated the report, “Clothing (not on a person) was the most common source of ignition in home clothes dryer fires, followed by dust, fiber or lint.”