Sprinklers douse Chapel Hill fire

Feb. 28, 2014 @ 03:38 PM

Firefighters credit sprinklers with extinguishing an apartment fire Friday morning.

Chapel Hill firefighters were called at 9:23 a.m. to The Point apartments at 127 Edisto Court and found that the fire started in the vent hose of a clothes dryer, said Capt. Mary Blevins, assistant fire marshal for the Chapel Hill Fire Department.

The fire caused damage to the immediate area before the apartment's sprinkler system activated and doused the flames.

Blevins said the dryer wasn't being used at the time of the fire, but recently had been.

The fire marshal determined that lint build-up in a curve in the flexible aluminum vent hose had begun to smolder during recent use of the dryer and ignited after the dryer was turned off.

No one was home at the time, and no one was hurt.

Battalion Chief Keith Porterfield said the complex was built after a town ordinance was passed requiring sprinklers at new apartments.

He said firefighters were on the scene about an hour.

Apartment maintenance workers were making repairs Friday afternoon.

Fire officials say vent hoses should be made of semi-rigid, fire-resistant material, and that the hose should not bend in a way that causes lint clogs.

Have your vent cleaned at least once a year (more for heavy use), and never leave any appliance running when you're away or asleep, they advise.