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9/17/2012 - Clothes dryers a frequent source of home fires

Dryers are the source of many residential fires.

A new study is providing details on the number of home fires that have resulted from clothes dryers in recent years.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Fire Administration, an annual average of 2,900 residential clothes dryer fires were reported between 2008 and 2010, resulting in 100 injuries, five deaths and $35 million in property insurance losses.

These types of fires occurred more frequently in the cool weather months, as dryer fire incidence levels peaked in January at 11%.

As for what components of the dryer that were the most likely to have ignited, dust particles and fibers accumulated on lint traps was a leading cause, as were clothes within the dryer itself. The government agencies further indicated that these fires occasionally spread to other parts of the residence but they were usually confined to where the dryer was situated.

The report, "Clothes Dryer Fires in Residential Buildings," notes that cleaning dryer vents on a regular basis can reduce the risk of a fire.

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