Officials say deadly Mt. Vernon house fire started by dryer lint - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Officials say deadly Mt. Vernon house fire started by dryer lint

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The fire broke out around 12:30 a.m. in this house on Mulberry Street in Mt. Vernon. The fire broke out around 12:30 a.m. in this house on Mulberry Street in Mt. Vernon.
MT. VERNON, IN (WFIE) -

Officials confirm the deadly Mt. Vernon house fire back on January 4th started in the dryer. 

27-year-old Amanda Robb, her daughter, Aubrey, and nephew, Bailey, all died of smoke inhalation that day. 

The fire investigation into the house fire revealed an unlikely culprit, lint.

Fire Chief Wes Dixon says lint buildup in the dryer hose sparked, causing the blaze. 

"It's not what I would call a common occurrence, you know. We don't see it every month or two, but I have seen several. So, it is a problem," Chief Dixon said. 

Chief Dixon says the dryer wasn't running when the fire began, but that it had been used earlier that night. 

"The dryer had run about five hours, I believe, prior to what looked to be the start of the fire," Chief Dixon said.

The dryer in this home used a flexible vent. Something experts say isn't a good idea. 

"You want to use a straight, metal vent and you want to use as least turns as possible. Cause every turn or sag or whatever will gather the lint," said Tom Hagan, owner of Tom Hagan & Sons Appliance Repair.

Tom Hagan & Sons Appliance Repair has been serving the Tri-State for over 40 years. Hagan offers a few tips for proper dryer maintenance, beyond removing lint from the tray.

"You might turn your dryer on and go outside and make sure you got a real good flow of air flow coming out," Hagan suggests. 

If not, it's probably clogged. Hagan says shorter vents can be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner hose. Those that are longer should be looked at by a professional. 

"Always keep track of that, because it should come out real easy," Hagan said.

A change in drying time should also be a red flag. 

"If it's not drying right, or it takes too long to dry or something of that sort, which is always an indication that the vent is not properly installed," Hagan tells 14 News.

One additional tip would be to pull the dryer out of its place every so often, and vacuum underneath. The fire chief says he has seen fires started because of it.

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