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Firefighters Extinguish Flaming Dryer

Lint trap the likely cause, firefighters said.

Palo Alto firefighters subdued a flaming washer-dryer unit Friday afternoon before the flames could spread through the single-family home.

Emergency teams responded to the call at approximately 4:37 p.m. and arrived at 920 Moreno Avenue to find smoke billowing from the home's front door. Firefighters met the resident outside, entered the home and found the stack-model appliance in flames. They quickly extinguished it without injuries, Acting Battalion Chief Doug Conn said Saturday.

"The front of the dryer was scorched black and flames were showing," he said.

Firefighters then removed the ruined unit from the house, a loss of roughly $1,000 to the resident, Conn said. The home also suffered an unknown amount of smoke damage, Conn said. 

A preliminary investigation revealed that the fire likely started under the dryer's lint trap, Conn said.

"Whatever had caught fire in the dryer was already burned up by the time we arrived," he said.

Conn said similar fires happen roughly twice each year. A clogged lint trap is often the source, he said. But older models can be problematic as well, he added. Another cause is clogging in the dryer's ventilation system, a pipe that leads from the appliance to the home's exterior. He said residents should check for clogging regularly.

"This is a maintenance issue," Conn said.

The response included three engines, a ladder truck, the battalion chief, medics and police.

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