Washing spontaneously combusts in south London

15:27 29 July 2014

The risk is most likely with clothes that have been contaminated with oil, such as kitchen cloths, tea towels, and chefs

The risk is most likely with clothes that have been contaminated with oil, such as kitchen cloths, tea towels, and chefs' whites [Photo courtesy of London Fire Brigade]

Archant

A fire that tore through a laundrette in Bromley was caused by a pile of tumble dried clothes.

Hot pants! Be careful with your tumble-drying, or this could happen to your home [Photo courtesy of London Fire Brigade]Hot pants! Be careful with your tumble-drying, or this could happen to your home [Photo courtesy of London Fire Brigade]

The blaze caused extensive damage to the shop on Bromley Road on Monday, forcing people to evacuate the flats around it.

Investigators believe the fire started when a pile of clothes were folded fresh from the tumble dryer just after the shop closed. They think the pile ‘self-heated’ and ignited itself. This process must have taken some hours, as the Brigade were not called until 4.27am on Tuesday morning. The fire was brought under control after an hour.

These types of fires are not as unusual as you might believe. London Fire Brigade say they attend about 20 such incidents a year, and that they often involve fabrics that have oil on them, most commonly linseed, massage and cooking oil on tea towels, tablecloths and chef whites.

Gary Pratt from the Brigade’s fire investigation unit said: “Sometimes when materials are cleaned, put in tumble dryers and then folded and stacked, the heat from the tumble drying cannot escape. This can result in a high enough temperature allowing it to build up to a point where it smoulders and eventually ignites.

“If you are washing and then drying on a hot cycle, always use the cooling cycle on the tumble dryer so it cools down and allow the heat to dissipate properly, before stacking laundered items together.”

Four fire engines and 21 firefighters and officers from Bromley, Beckenham and Orpington fire stations attended the incident.

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

Investigators and scientists have made an initial assessment of the launch site as they attempt to work out how the launch of a commercial resupply ship ended so dramatically. The team has taken a “cursory look” around the site with Nasa saying it will take many more weeks to understand and analyse the full effects […]

Read more

Perhaps it’s all the cash they have to splash but celebs really transform themselves for Halloween fancy dress.

Read more

Armageddon actress Liv Tyler dressed up her baby bump as a bun in the oven for Halloween.

Read more

Promotions

BT Home Smart Cam

When I was first told by my boss that I would be doing a review on the BT Smart Cam 100 I didn’t quite know what to expect. Before even looking at the product I was picturing it as nothing more than a web cam with a fancy name.

AGA Living Subscription

Every issue of AGA Living magazine is packed full of celebrity AGA owner interviews, interior and design features, ideas to inspire your culinary imagination, mouth-watering recipes and inspirational shopping ideas.

Armageddon actress Liv Tyler dressed up her baby bump as a bun in the oven for Halloween.

It’s cost Rio Ferdinand a £25k fine and a three-match ban, but what do people think of the word sket?

The fashion giant’s have been called out for promoting an unhealthy body image with their skeletal dummies.

Apple’s CEO has used an editorial piece in the US to come out as gay.

Quirky London