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Last updated: 09/07/2018, 6:18 PM

Twickenham – self heating towels cause leisure centre fire

25/01/2017 00:56
Richmond upon Thames
Fire at commercial property

A fire that caused damage to a leisure centre in Twickenham in the early hours of Wednesday (25 January) morning is believed to have been caused by towels recently removed from a tumble dryer.

Fire investigators believe the fire within the beauty spa and treatment rooms on Staines Road, was the result of self-heating within towers that had been laundered and folded into a pile before the centre closed yesterday evening.

These types of fires often involve textiles that become contaminated with oil, most commonly linseed, massage and cooking oil on tea towels, tablecloths and chef whites.

London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “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.”

Part of the ground floor was damaged by fire and there was heavy smoke throughout the building. A smoke alarm sounded and alerted a monitoring centre who called the Brigade. There was no one in the building at the time of the fire and no injuries reported.

Twickenham Watch Manager Guy Pedliham who was at the incident said:

“Fire crews were initially called to automatic fire alarm and while no fire was apparent, firefighters searched the gym to find a fire in the spa. We worked quickly to contain the fire and stop it spreading to other parts of the building. Incidents like this show how important it is to have a working fire alarm in homes but also businesses. The fire could have developed for longer and damaged much more of the building were it not for the early alert the alarm gave us.”

The Brigade was called at 0056 and the fire was under control by 0308. Firefighters from Twickenham and Feltham fire stations were at the scene.