Despite losing his Alexis Creek home and all its contents to a raging fire earlier this month, Neil Miller is thankful for his community and his life.
“It could have been worse. I could have gone up with it,” Miller said when the Tribune called to check in on him after the fire recently.
The cowboy said he was shocked to learn the cause of the fire, which was determined by a fire investigator.
“My dryer caused the fire,” Miller said. “It’s scary. I shudder to think what would have happened if I was at home asleep.”
Learning of the danger of built-up lint in clothing dryers has prompted Miller to warn others.
“You should take the back off your dryer and remove the lint that builds up. I didn’t know that.”
Miller said he turned on his dryer the evening of April 4, Easter Sunday, and then went to his girlfriend’s house. He arrived back around 8 p.m. to find his home fully engulfed in flames and members of the BC Wildfire Service on scene.
For Miller, losing all his cowboy art as well as a collector’s saddle he’s had since 1977 has been tough, but he’s thankful to have his camper to live in, his beloved horses and his neighbours.
“The people here have been amazing – lots of support.”
Williams Lake Fire Chief Erick Peterson said the lint trap on a dryer needs to be cleaned before each use to avoid it becoming a fire hazard.
“Make it a habit,” said Peterson, who didn’t investigate the Alexis Creek fire, but just last week did attend a dryer fire in Williams Lake.
“It’s quite common, unfortunately. Lint buildup is the cause of quite a few fires in the region and across Canada.”
Peterson recommends homeowners also clean their dryer vent line at a minimum once a year either themselves or by hiring a qualified contractor. He said the line can be disconnected and vacuumed out.
A plugged vent can trap heat and impede the airflow of the dryer. Regular lint trap and vent cleaning allows the heat and air flow to move through the dryer properly.