Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My Dryer Caught On Fire!
Yesterday was a whirlwind. I literally thought that we were going to loose our home.
Here's the story...

It was a typical Monday. Laundry Day at our house. I had my washing machine doin' its thing. I was changing loads from the washer to the dryer, etc. We had to run out on a quick errand and then we came home for lunch and naps. I had added a little bit of some essential oils (the cheapo Walmart brand) to a load that wasn't smelling fresh like I wanted (some musty towels and wet beach stuff). Just a few drops was all.

I then put the clothes into the dryer, turned it on high and left it to finish up lunch and get kiddos down for naps. I finally got my last little one down, when I was walking into the kitchen and smelled burning. Strong burning. I checked the oven and stovetop as we had been baking cookies earlier. Nope. Nothing. I started to clean up a few things around the house when I noticed the smell getting VERY strong. I walked out into our backyard and I saw smoke. I thought, "Maybe our neighbors had a fire or something. I'd better go see what's going on." I immediately saw smoke coming from our garage. {PANIC!}

As I looked in our garage, I saw that our dryer was on FIRE! Flames taller than myself were flickering and fast. I ran back around and grabbed our fire extinguisher from the kitchen. Then, I felt the door to see if it was hot. I opened the door, stood back and sprayed everywhere. The smoke was so thick that I couldn't tell where I was spraying or what, but I just kept spraying. The flames went down, but I couldn't tell if they were still ignited in the dryer since it was closed. What I did notice was that our circuit breaker box was located above our dryer and that worried me. Great. An electrical fire is even worse. I knew I needed help and couldn't get this out on my own so I called 9-1-1.

(possible cause: washcloth stuck in lint tray)

After we hung up, I called Rob at work and told him to get home quickly. I was now starting to see smoke fill up the house. The smoke from the garage had made it into the attic and was spreading quickly through the air vents in every room. I heard the firetrucks as they were racing down our street and thanked God that they had gotten there when they did. My fire extinguisher was out. I then thought about Norah napping in the room right next to the garage and quickly ran in to move her. I carried her into Avy's room and told the girls to read books together quietly. I remained calm outwardly even though I wasn't inwardly. The firemen came in in full gear and were able to tend to the fire in the garage, but then the rest of the house began filling up with smoke. I thought our attic was on fire! I grabbed all four children (sleeping and not) and raced outside telling the firemen that it has spread to the attic. That's when thoughts of loosing our house set in.

I thought, "Okay, Lord. We haven't had a serious trial in awhile and this is it. My test. Am I going to praise You as I watch my house burn or not?" The firemen were on it though and I was trusting them. My neighbor heard what was going on and was awesome to come grab the kids for me. They went to her house and swang on the swing on her porch while I was talking with firemen and praying that my husband would be home soon. I finally heard his truck and a sigh of relief fell over me. The fire was put out and although we lost a load of laundry and our dryer, the fire chief said that we were "lucky". I corrected him and said that we were "blessed". He said that if we hadn't have been home, we would have come home to ashes.

Part of me thinks that this (above) may have been the culprit, but the fire chief says that this kind of stuff happends all the time. Sometimes, it the lack of cleaning out the lint. People turn on their dryer, leave the house or go to sleep and the fire is out of control. Houses and lives are lost. I never knew how dangerous a dryer could be! I've always turned on our dryer and left the house to come home to fresh, dry clothes. We turn it on before we go to sleep at night and leave it. Yikes! For now, we are line-drying our clothes and it may take awhile to convince me to actually buy another dryer knowing what I know now. I've always loved line-drying our clothes, but it does take time and isn't as convenient as a dryer. However, after the day we had yesterday, I'm perfectly fine with a little inconvenience. :)


EricsMom said...

I am so glad everyone is okay. You are blessed.


Rachel E. said...

You are blessed indeed. It is scary, isn't it? I think about that risk every time I put clothes in the dryer. I wonder if the lint is clogging the vent, or if something is stuck. I also wonder if all those synthetic materials might actually encourage the combustion! Who knows, I do know you are very blessed. There is no doubt God's hand was in this...holding and protecting your family.

Matthew and Valerie said...

Whoa! So glad you and the kiddos are ok! Definitely a blessing to just lose some clothes and a dryer.
I'm sure you don't want to hear this now, but I just pour some vinegar in the wash when clothes don't come out smelling fresh (and they don't come out smelling like vinegar either!).

Dobson Family said...

Wow, I had no idea when I came on Wed. Glad everyone is OK. We have been line drying our clothes for a little bit now since our dryer leaves rust stains on things. If you do decide to get a new one make sure that you also clean out the hose vent thing that goes from the dryer to outside. That's where a lot of the fires start. If you need anything let us know.