(Update: Adding video)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – A dryer fire traced to a buildup of lint prompted the evacuation of residents Tuesday morning at the Vintage of Bend senior independent living apartments in northeast Bend, officials said.
A Bend Fire & Rescue crew was dispatched around 9:35 a.m. to a fire alarm activation at the four-story apartments on NE Bellevue Drive, Deputy Fire Marshal Cindy Kettering said.
While en route, firefighters learned there could be a fire in a laundry room, so the response was upgraded from a single unit to a structure fire response, she said.
Many residents already had evacuated the building when firefighters arrived. A small fire was found in a third-floor laundry room, and facility staff had tried to put it out with a fire extinguisher, holding it in check until crews arrived, Kettering said.
The fire was quickly extinguished,, she said, but there was a significant amount of smoke on the third and fourth floors, “requiring an extended amount of time and resources to ensure the air was clear before allowing residents to re-enter the building.”
Kettering said up to eight residents may be temporarily relocated until a restoration company can address the smoke odor and damage. She said losses are estimated at $10,000 to the building, primarily due to smoke damage on the third floor, and $5,000 to contents.
Upon investigation, Kettering said it was determined that "a significant buildup of lint was present beneath the filter assembly, next to the drum. This accumulation ignited and spread to the lint filter and contents of the dryer. The dryer was in operation at the time of the fire and had been operating continuously for approximately 45 minutes."
"Did you know the leading cause of clothes dryer fires is failure to clean them?" Kettering asked in a news release. "Bend Fire & Rescue encourages cleaning the lint filter every load of laundry, and cleaning the vents and housing around the dryer periodically to prevent lint buildup.
More dryer safety tips can be found here: https://www.nfpa.org/-/media/Files/Public-Education/Resources/Safety-tip-sheets/DryerSafetyTips.ashx