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updated: 3/25/2014 10:26 PM

Lint buildup in dryer causes Hoffman Estates fire

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A buildup of lint in a clothes dryer's ventilation chute caused a fire Tuesday morning that has left a Hoffman Estates townhouse uninhabitable.

A resident of 1775 Queensbury Circle called Hoffman Estates Fire Department at 11:20 a.m. to report their bathroom was on fire, but it turned out the fire started in a utility/laundry closet and burned through the floor joists, said Battalion Chief Richard Englund.

A man and a woman were home at the time. No one was injured.

The two-story wood-frame townhouse sustained about $50,000 damage, Englund said. An adjacent townhouse in the four-unit building had light smoke damage, he said.

It took firefighter's about 25 minutes to put out the fire. The smoke alarms were working, but the building does not have sprinklers, he said.

Englund said people should realize that it is not enough to clean the lint trap on a dryer when doing laundry. Periodically, one should detach the vent and remove lint from the back of the dryer and from inside the vent chute.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, failure to clean the machine and vent accounted for 34 percent of all dryer fires in homes from 2008 to 2010.

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