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Oil on towels in a tumble dryer caused a small fire at a flat in Devonshire Terrace, Paddington.
Paddington Watch Manager Andrew Redding, who was at the scene, said:
"The oil on the towels ignited in the heat of the dryer. The tumble dryer caught fire and caused a lot of smoke damage to the lower ground floor flat. The flat was empty at the time but neighbours in the property above smelt smoke and called 999."
“Cotton laundry can often be contaminated with oils that can self-ignite if dried.
“Make sure you do your wash at the right temperature with the appropriate detergent to remove any oil based contaminants.
“I’d also like to remind residents to make sure they have working smoke alarms and know their escape route in the event of a fire.”
Twenty people left the building as a precaution before the arrival of the Brigade.
The Brigade was called at 2236 and the fire was under control at 2346. Four fire engines and around 25 firefighters from Kensington and Paddington fire stations attended the scene.