Tumble dryer fire forces family out of their Cumbrian home
Last updated at 11:40, Monday, 12 September 2011
A family near Brampton have been forced to leave their home after a freak fire in the tumble dryer.
Neighbours came to the family’s aid and dragged the flaming machine out of their smoke-filled home at Low Row before the blaze had a chance to engulf the property.
But the “extensive” damage has left them staying with relatives in Haltwhistle and they say it could be up to a week before they are back at home.
The fire was discovered at 4.30pm on Tuesday when 38-year-old Melanie Aitchison was at home with son Matthew, 18, and daughters Laura, nine, and 13-year-old Emily. Emily’s friend Molly was also there and the girls were playing on a computer when Emily said she could smell smoke.
Matthew went into the kitchen to investigate. “I went into the room and you could really smell it,” he said. “Then I went on through into the utility room and the air was thick with smoke.”
Matthew went up to the tumble dryer and turned it off. He opened the door and saw that the fire was starting to spread.
“That’s when I ran around trying to open all the windows to help clear out the smoke,” he said.
Matthew realised at this point that the fire was serious so he decided to get everyone out of the house.
“I had to keep it all together because everyone was so upset. The girls were in hysterics,” he added.
Neighbours heard the commotion and were soon on the scene. Family members were given sanctuary in a neighbour’s house and one used a crowbar to enter into the back of the property. The flaming machine was hauled outside where fire extinguishers and buckets of water were used to put out the blaze.
Soon after the fire, the Aitchison family read the News & Star’s story about a similar incident involving an exploding washing machine in Cumwhinton near Carlisle.
They wanted to make other families aware of how dangerous such incidents can be in the hope of preventing similar accidents from happening in the future.
Their tumble dryer was a Zanussi TD-4113 and was around four years old. It had not shown any faults in the period immediately before the fire.
Matthew added: “We cannot live in the property because the curtains and couches are covered in soot.
“The fire brigade said that the furniture in the house may also contain poisonous gases after the fire. All you can smell is the smoke. It has all been such a shock.”
George Sansom, Carlisle Fire Service station manager, believes that members of the public have to be vigilant where home appliances are concerned.
“I would strongly advise people not to leave their homes when things such as washing machines and tumble dryers are in use,” he said.
“It’s always best if you’re at home to keep an eye on things.”
A Zanussi spokesperson said they would look into it “immediately”.
First published at 11:29, Monday, 12 September 2011
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
Have your say
My own dryer is modelled on a 1911 version. When the clothes are dry, I fold it up and put it away.
With fire cover cut beyond the bone in Cumbria it is probably safer to not leave your home unattended at all.
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