Brighton blaze caused by '˜spontaneous combustion' of tea towels
Firefighters have issued a warning after a fire at a launderette in Brighton was caused by freshly laundered tea towels.
Brighton fire crews yesterday (September 24) at 3.47pm attended a fire at a launderette in Upper Gloucester Road, Brighton.
Two Brighton fire engines were sent to the business after reports of the launderette becoming heavily smoke-logged.
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Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used one hose reel jet to tackle the accidental fire, caused by spontaneous combustion.
An East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “Did you know that tea towels can spontaneously combust, if folded and left in a pile, after being washed and dried in the tumble dryer?
“When hot and moist laundry is stacked, the oil residue can start to self-heat, resulting from an exothermic reaction within the material, due to continued oxidation.
“When fabrics reach auto-ignition temperature, materials can ignite without the application of an external heat source, commonly described as ‘spontaneous combustion’.”
The fire service gave some safety advice and said:
- Ensure wash temperatures and detergents are suitable for the optimum removal of oil based contaminants
- Allow laundry to complete the cooling cycle in the tumble dryer
- Shake out laundry to ventilate before folding or place garments on hangers
- Ensure stack or pile is well ventilated
- Test your smoke alarm regularly