Firefighters warn against dryer fires

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It's a task almost all of us take on daily or weekly, the laundry.

However, next time you push the start button on your dryer, the Oklahoma City Fire Department wants you to think twice.

Last year five people were killed and fires sparked in dryers caused $35 million in damages across the U.S.

You throw in the clothes, start up your dryer.

It's a familiar routine, but Battalion Chief Brian Stanaland has seen it become dangerous when flames are sparked.

"Absolutely. Once the fire ignites, the fire can easily get out of the dryer and catch the walls on fire, extend up the wall into the attic," Bat. Chief Stanaland said.

Eight dryer fires in Oklahoma City alone last year caused more than $13,000 in damages.

What causes most dryers fires? Lint.

Firefighters said people aren't cleaning their dryers properly and the lint can catch on fire fast.

"Your dryer's obviously making a lot of heat and that heat can build up and lint catch fire," Bat. Chief Stanaland said.

For more than 20 years, Harry Seley has worked on dryers and said swiping the lint catcher is something many people don't do enough.

"I clean my lint filter every load," Seley said. "If you don't do that, let it go several load, and it build up, then you're getting more lint into the system and no cleanliness is going to be enough."

He said you also need to check the outside vent for build-up.

In fall and winter, dryer fires peak.

Bat. Chief Stanaland said one explanation could be that people don't go outdoors to check their vents.

The fire department is also urging everyone to check your fire alarms.

Firefighters said if you have one that isn't working, they will give you a new one and install it for free.

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