VERO BEACH — A dryer fire that could have quickly engulfed a house when no one was home Tuesday night was put out by Indian River County Firefighters.A neighbor of the home at 1075 20th Avenue smelled smoke and called in the fire. Firefighters from Stations 1, 3 and 4 responded with a three engines, a ladder truck and an ambulance, as is standard procedure when they do not know the cause or extent of a structure fire. The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office gave assistance by closing off 20th Avenue in front of the house to all but the neighbors.
Lt. Brian Nolan, spokesman for the Indian River County Fire Department, said the call came in at 8:30 p.m. and that firefighters entered the home, picked up the dryer, moved it outside and extinguished the flames inside to avoid spreading the fire and water-damaging the home. They found one cat and secured it in a room while they cleared out the smoke, which had already spread throughout the house. “You can have fire spread through a room in 30 seconds to a minute,” Nolan said. “Once a fire breaks out and starts igniting the combustibles around the room, it can go quick.”Crews off the scene and the street opened to traffic by 9:15 p.m.Nolan said these fires happen periodically when people do not thouroughly clean out the lint trap every time the dryer is used. “It’s never a good idea to leave any appliance unattended, whether it be a dryer, an iron or a coffee pot,” Nolan said. “Newer appliances have safety features on them, but if they fail, you’ve got a fire.”