Royal Oak Mayor Learns Lesson in Fire Prevention

Royal Oak Mayor Learns Lesson in Fire Preventiongallowaycollens1

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Jan. 18, 2014)

Royal Oak Mayor Jim Ellison and his wife Jodie learned first-hand the importance of keeping dryer vents clean, as a fire damaged their house Friday afternoon.  The Royal Oak Fire Department acted quickly to put out the fire, which stared at the dryer and spread to other items in the basement.

Ellison shared on Facebook that there is “some structural damage to the floor beams, a good amount of water damage in the basement, but the significant issue is the smoke damage throughout the house. Everything has HowesLocationbeen damaged by smoke.”

One of their pets, a cat named Paulie, did not survive.  Two other animals were taken to the vet to be treated for smoke inhalation.

“I cannot say enough about the professionalism and humanity of our Royal Oak Fire Department. These guys responded very quickly and were fighting the fire within minutes of the call. When we informed them that the cats were inside, they proceeded to search until all were accounted for. I have always bragged about our fire department, but I never thought that I would need their service in this way,” Ellison said.

He credits insurance agent Curt Luke for working quickly to find temporary shelter for the couple.  He sidebar016growsummed up the experience, writing “The effects of a fire in your home are devastating. Walking through the house and seeing all of our possessions damaged sure tugs at your heartstrings, but the reality is Jodie and I are fine, the pets with the sad exception of our little guy, Paulie are fine. We have heard from countless friends and, neighbors and family offering to help. We are eternally grateful to your expressions of support. We are going to be okay. Let this be a lesson…clean out the vent hose of your dryer…OFTEN!”

Ellison gave permission to share his story, stating “People need to know what they need to do to prevent this type of event.”

The National Fire Protection Association reports that “dryers and washing machines were involved in one out of every JudyPalmer0122 home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments in 2006-2010,” with 92% of those being caused by failure to clean dryer vents and hoses.

They have published the following recommendations to prevent dryer fires:

~Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.

~Do not use the dryer without a lint filter.

~Make sure you clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry. Remove lint that has collected around the drum.

~Rigid or flexible metal venting material should be used to sustain proper air flow and drying time.moderntax

~Make sure the air exhaust vent pipe is not restricted and the outdoor vent flap will open when the dryer is operating. Once a year, or more often if you notice that it is taking longer than normal for your clothes to dry, clean lint out of the vent pipe or have a dryer lint removal service do it for you.

~Keep dryers in good working order. Gas dryers should be inspected by a professional to make sure that the gas line and connection are intact and free of leaks.

~Make sure the right plug and outlet are used and that the machine is connected properly.

~Follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions and don’t overload your dryer.

~Turn the dryer off if you leave home or when you go to bed.

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