Laundry fires are extremely common, not only from the build up of lint, the electrics in the machines, gas burners that have failed to ignite releasing unburnt fuel, faulty bearings causing hot spots.
Maintenance in laundries is absolutely essential, the flame failure devices must be checked at least once a week and in a big industrial laundry its not a bad idea to check these daily.
Lint build up is paricularly hazardous, needs to be shifted at least weekly, especially in laundries with large ironing machines and the like.
Sorry but not true.
As for material not getting hot enough to set fire, wrong, it certainly does, but as long as there is forced air circulating and the dryer drum is rotating, the hot spots are cooled just enough to prevent this.
Dryers are designed to have a drying cycle of X minutes, then the flame or heater is turned off (sometimes this control uses air moisture sensors instead of a timer). The dryer will continue running and air is still blown in under forced draught and this is the cool down period, all dryers have such a cycle.
One of the biggies for causing fires is that the operators try to get more production out by adjusting the cooldown period shorter, but the load must then be seperated quickly or the heat accumulates and self ignites.
What tends to happen is that workers forget to seperate the load properly because they are more intent on going home or off to mealbreaks, so the load sets on fire.
In industrial laundry, dryers do not rely only upon the ambient temperature sensors alone, there is a final safety cut out.Large industrial dryers will have bi-mettallic strip trip devices, when the heat gets above a certain level, the strip expands differentially and releases a catch, this drop a mercury filled switch from level to vertical on a hinge, and this breaks the flame device circuit.
It is also common to have emergency sprinkler systems in dryers too.
Thermocouples are designed to fail safe, that is, when they go wrong they read high temperature so the trip devices operate. It’s not unknown for the thermocouples to fail so that they read low, and the burner just keeps piling on the heat.
The reason I’m going on about all these safety devices is the reason for most of the fires, good maintenance is expensive, in down time, parts and also in wages for competant maintenance staff, margins are usually pretty tight in commercial laundries fo all sizes.
No safety device is effective if not kept well maintained and not bypassed by managers under pressure, so things get missed out, the clearing of lint is one, ignoring flame cut outs and relying instead on the last chance back up devices for normal running - thus reducing whole tiers of safety to one last resort.
The machine operators are selected usually on the basis of being prepared to accept low pay, so its not hard to see why fires would be common in laundries.