Dryer fire victim has warning for others

Celina Rosiles left her dryer unattended when she went to work. There was smoke damage to 90 percent of the home. (News 4 San Antonio photo)

SAN ANTONIO - More than 15,000 house fires start in laundry rooms every year.

The News 4 Trouble Shooters teamed up with the San Antonio Fire Department Training Academy for a dryer fire simulation.

In a mock laundry room, a firefighter lit lint inside a vent hose connected to the back of a dryer. That is usually the most likely culprit in a dryer fire.

"Things are going to smolder for a while and it'll take a little time for it to heat up and catch everything," said San Antonio Fire Department Training Instructor, Bennie Marberry.

As predicted the fire was slow to start, but the smoke traveled quickly and spread fast.

"The fire is a very small percentage of what kills people," Marberry said. "It's the smoke. The smoke creates cyanides and gases that just put you to sleep."

Dryer fires do the most damage when left unattended.

"Don't start the dryer and go to bed," Marberry said. "Don't start the dryer and go to dinner."

Celyna Rosiles left her dryer unattended on a recent Monday morning when she went to work.

"Then I got a call from my Dad while I was at work around 8:30 that my house was on fire," Rosiles said.

Investigators told Rosiles there was smoke damage to 90 percent of the home. Despite this enormous loss, she is just thankful it didn't happen when she was home sleeping.

"The investigator did tell us that, if we open the dryer and our clothes are still wet, that's the number one sign, he said that something is wrong with your dryer," Rosiles said.

"The dryer is producing heat and as it does that it could ignite that lint that's caught in the system," said, Owner of Clear Visions Dryer Vent Cleaning, Ralph Cordero.

Most people know the importance of cleaning out the dryer's lint basket after each use, but experts will tell you, it's the lint you can't see that could be the most harmful.

"Lint accumulates in the transition hose and it accumulates in the dryer itself," Cordero said.

Cordero explained slinky hoses are the most common, but they are also the most flammable because they are made out of aluminum and paper.

He advises clients to us an all metal flex hose.

He also recommends having the dryer, the vent hose and the wall vent that leads to the outside of the home, cleaned annually.

It's a service that takes about an hour and costs range from $70 to $160.

Celina did not have homeowners insurance and is still in the process of remediating and rebuilding her home.

Celina's family set up a "Go Fund Me" account to help recover damages.

In response to our story, a local businessman wanted to share information about a dryer lint alarm.

It is an alarm that goes off, putting homeowners on alert when it's time to clean the lint out of the dryer.

For more information you can link to

April Molina can be reached via Facebook, Twitter, or Email.

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