Warning over common household mistakes after family's fiery close call

Homeowners are being cautioned about little-known hazards in their homes after a family suffered the terrifying experience of their clothes dryer bursting into flames.

The family were sitting in their lounge room on Sunday in Murrumbateman, about 30 kilometres northwest of Canberra, when the laundry appliance caught on fire while it was running unattended.

Flames protrude out of the door of a dryer on fire at a Murrumbateman home.
A family's clothes dryer caught on fire while they were in the lounge room of their Murrumbateman home. Source: Murrumbateman Rural Fire Service/Facebook

Simon McGrath from the Murrumbateman Rural Service told the Canberra Times the family luckily were not injured and leaving a clothes dryer unattended was “a common occurrence in Australia in winter”.

He said fortunately the family were able to quickly move the clothes dryer outside and extinguish it with a garden hose.

A spokesman for the NSW Rural Fire Service told Yahoo News Australia the local fire brigade wasn’t called, but posted pictures of the charred and flaming appliance to Facebook to urge homeowners to remain vigilant.

A man douses flames in a clothes dryer with a garden hose at the Murrumbateman home.
A family member doused the fire with a garden hose after pulling the appliance outside. Source: Murrumbateman Rural Fire Service/Facebook

Household hazards that may cause a fire

“A terrifying event for a local family,” the fire brigade wrote on its Facebook page.

“Please check lint filters. And never leave your dryer on overnight.”

The Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) also posted the pictures, saying it was an important reminder.

Many commented saying the homeowners were lucky the fire was extinguished so quickly.

“I never leave mine running at night or if I leave the house,” one said.

“Clean filter after each use,” another warned.

A scorched blanket is held above the charred dryer after a fire is put out at the Murrumbateman home.
Firefighters are warning people to clean out lint filters to avoid potential disasters. Source: Murrumbateman Rural Fire Service/Facebook

One said on RACQ’s Facebook post lint also leaked into the average dryer, causing a serious danger.

“They are often full of kindling in there, builds up over the years as the filters aren’t great,” he commented.

A woman admitted while she did clean out the filter daily, she did leave her dryer on overnight.

“My worst nightmare,” another said.

How to protect yourself from fire this winter

The RFS spokesman reiterated to Yahoo News Australia the importance of not leaving a dryer unattended and cleaning out the lint filter.

He said people should always call triple-0 during a fire and have working smoke alarms.

The RFS is also warning about other “hidden” fires that occur in the chimney during winter months.

“This photos shows the importance of cleaning your chimney every year,” Murrumbateman Rural Fire Brigade posted on its Facebook page last week.

“All this build up came from one clean. It is combustible and causes chimney fires.

“They are very difficult to see or notice, and obviously can have deadly consequences for your family.”

The terrifying clothes dryer incident comes a month after a mum’s appliance burst into flames just minutes after leaving her home in the NSW Lower Hunter Region.

A woman with six children said she had been left homeless after the house was destroyed by a faulty washing machine that had electrically combusted.

Do you have a story tip? Email:

You can also follow us on Facebook, download the Yahoo News app from iTunes or Google Play and stay up to date with the latest news with Yahoo’s daily newsletter. Sign up here.