Family of 13 without a home after Lehigh Acres house fire

Reporter: Dannielle Garcia Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:

A family of 13, with 11 of them being children, are without a home now. A fire tore through a Lehigh Acres home on Saturday.

Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District told WINK News that a dryer is what started this fire. And, it’s more common than we realize.

In a matter of seconds, a home housing 13 people went up in flames due to a dryer fire.

Scott Mailhot owns a dryer vent cleaning business. “It’s a typical scenario when you have a lot of people using one dryer, and so that dryer is getting a lot of usage, and so it is going to accumulate quickly, and maintaining that vent is even more important,” said Mailhot.

The Lehigh Acres Fire Marshal believes that the vent specifically got clogged with lint. Mailhot is the owner of Lint Out Dryer Vent Cleaning. WINK News asked him what signs to look for. “If it takes a long time for your clothes to dry, that’s the indicator that you need to call somebody,” he said.

Another way to stay safe is by checking your dryer’s lint trap before clicking start on your cycle. However, lint can sneak past the trap and, in time, cause much more significant issues.

One way to fix this before it becomes a problem is by taking off the pipe connecting the dryer to the wall. Then, you’ll be able to make sure nothing is clogged in there. “It’ll collect in here, and it’ll also collect in the wall, and that’s where we’re gonna go next,” said Mailhot.

Now, you should consider calling in professional reinforcement for the next step. “Let’s see what we find in this one…”

Mailhot snakes through the pipe, which is several feet long. That is where hair, dust, lint and who knows what else can accumulate over time.

“In some houses we visit, you can get this much build-up of lint in just three or four months, so it depends on how many times you’re running your dryer,” Mailhot said.

If you’re using your dryer several times per week, you must check your pipe at least once per year.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, washer and dryer fires are the sixth-leading cause of fires, ahead of even candles.

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