Lint Buildup Fuels Fire at East Side Laundromat
A fire discovered at an east side laundromat was fueled by notable buildup of lint throughout the laundromat's venting system, complicating firefighting efforts, but no injuries to patrons or firefighters were reported. The incident serves as a reminder to have home and industrial dryer vents checked and cleaned regularly.
A patron at the laundromat was preparing to remove clothes from a dryer when he discovered flames coming from the appliance. He described seeing flames “dripping down” below the drum of the dryer. He was able to discharge two extinguishers prior to firefighters' arrival, but it wasn't enough to put a stop to the fire.
The Madison Fire Department arrived to 701 E. Johnson Street to find smoke coming from the front door of the laundromat. Firefighters also observed smoke coming from roof.
Ladder Co. 1 used a water can extinguisher to douse some of the smoldering clothes inside the dryer. Meanwhile, Engine Co. 1 reported smoke pushing from the roof vents above. As Engine 1 laddered to the roof, Ladder 1 searched the interior to identify the location of the duct work and ventilation path for the eighteen dryers.
Once the vent path was found, active fire was discovered inside. Engine Co. 1 pulled a hose line and shot water down the vent pipe from the roof. Ladder Co. 1 worked on opening the vents behind the dryers. Additional fire and smoldering lint were found throughout the vent system. Firefighters continued to overhaul the vent system and extinguish smoldering debris until all fire was fully extinguished.
The operation lasted about an hour. Firefighters shut down power to the building to eliminate electrical hazards that could result from the water used in the fire fight. After all fire and hazards were mitigated, the property was turned back over to the owner around 1:00 p.m.