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Barking laundrette blaze caused by ‘self-heating textiles’

PUBLISHED: 11:17 28 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:31 28 October 2019

Six fire engines and around 40 firefighters were called to a fire at a launderette on River Road in Barking. Picture: London Fire Brigade

Six fire engines and around 40 firefighters were called to a fire at a launderette on River Road in Barking. Picture: London Fire Brigade

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Self-heating textiles are believed to have caused a fire at a laundrette in Barking at the weekend.

London Fire Brigade (LFB) has warned that stacked laundered items can potentially ignite if the material is not cooled down properly after tumble drying.

Part of a single-storey warehouse in River Road being used as a launderette was damaged after the fire broke out in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Around 40 firefighters attended after the brigade was called around 3.30am and had the fire under control by around 6am.

There were no reported injuries.

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Fire investigators believe the fire was accidental.

An LFB spokesman said: "These types of fires often involve textiles that have been contaminated with oil, most commonly linseed, massage and cooking oil on tea towels, tablecloths and chef whites.

"Sometimes when materials are cleaned, put in tumble dryers and then folded and stacked, the heat from the tumble drying cannot escape.

"This can result in a high enough temperature allowing it to build up to a point where it smoulders and eventually ignites.

"If you are washing and then drying on a hot cycle, always use the cooling cycle on the tumble dryer so it cools down and allow the heat to dissipate properly, before stacking laundered items together."

Six fire engines carrying crews from Barking, East Ham, Plaistow, Dagenham and surrounding stations were at the scene.


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