The cause of a mid-morning house fire was determined to be accidental in nature, started by oily kitchen towels. The towels had been used to soak up cooking oil, then washed and placed in the clothes dryer which heated them enough to start a fire, according to VRFA Fire Investigators. Fortunately, no one was injured and the damage was limited by both a quick-acting neighbor and the efficient work of firefighters.
Multiple callers reported smoke and flames coming from a two-story home in the 3500 block of Orchard St. SE in Auburn just before 11 a.m. When firefighters arrived, they saw smoke coming from the home and found a neighbor applying water with a garden hose, likely slowing the spread of the flames.
Fire crews were able to contain the fire quickly and limit damage to an upstairs bathroom and bedroom. The VRFA received assistance from Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority, South King Fire & Rescue, Renton Regional Fire Authority and King County Medic One.
The VRFA reminds everyone to use caution whenever laundering towels or rags containing oils. A little known fact is that oils cannot generally be removed in one wash and may ignite when placed in the clothes dryer. It is recommended to either dispose of these towels in a sealed metal container or wash them multiple times to ensure oils are removed. Do not place these towels in the dryer, instead hang them to dry.
The above is a press release from the Valley Regional Fire Authority. The Auburn Examiner has not independently verified its contents.