Richmond fire starts over dryer, a common source of annual destruction

Posted at 6:32 PM, Dec 04, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-04 18:52:51-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- Residents of a Richmond apartment building are safe tonight after a dryer fire forced one man to push his neighbors burning machine right out the front door.

When the fire started Tuesday night, no one could find an extinguisher to put it out.

Ty Dejoinville, who lives in the upstairs apartment, said that smoke filled the hallway and he realized he would have had to run right past the downstairs apartment that housed the dryer fire.

He said his anxiety kicked in when he realized there was no fire extinguisher handy.

“Why don’t we have them in our apartments?” he asked, as he noted that other states he has lived in required landlords to provide one. Virginia’s fire code doesn’t require the extinguisher in living spaces.

Lt. Robbie Hagaman explained that new residences might be zoned so that they require additional smoke detectors. Older places might have been built before certain requirements had been made.

He emphasized the importance of having one on site, regardless of whether it was provided or not.

An estimated 2,900 clothes dryer fires in residential buildings are reported to U.S. fire department each year. Said dryer fires are the cause of an estimated five deaths, 100 injuries and $35 million in property loss.