Dryer Vent Fire Causes Woman to Vacate Home

GREENWOOD, Mo. - A Greenwood, Mo., woman needs to find a new place to live after a fire gutted her home. Firefighters say the home went up in flames in seconds and started in the clothes dryer.

The woman at 1305 Tyler Lane told police when her dryer ignited Sunday night, she rushed outside, and within moments, she was homeless.

Clothes dryers cause 15,000 fires a year, more than any other cause.

Brien Pippen runs a company in Belton called KC Appliance Care Company, which cleans out dryer vents and other home vents.

On Monday, Pippen worked inside a  Leawood, Kan., home, snaking out a huge amount of lint from the family's dryer vent.

Pippen says lint can easily build up inside your dryer and vent, and when you add heat from the dryer, that's when things turn dangerous - especially because lint is extremely flammable.

"It's crazy because as a Cub Scout or Boy Scout, one of the things they teach us is to light a fire for a campfire and they have us collect and bring our lint out of a dryer, and you can ignite lint with just a teeny tiny spark and it instantly goes right up," Pippen explained.

Pippen says if your dryer takes more than one cycle to dry, more than likely, you have a problem.

"They don't think about it. They throw their clothes in the dryer, hit the button and walk away. They come back and if their clothes are dry, great. If not, they'll restart the dryer. That's the biggest clue. If you started your dryer and your clothes are still wet, you've got a problem," he added.

Pippen suggests cleaning out the lint from your dryer vent and coil at least every 18 months.

He also says it's essential to clean the lint trap after every load of laundry.