Oh no, the tea towels exploded.
Another cafe has been hit by the strange phenomena of exploding tea towels.
Firefighters were called to Billie’s Cafe in Hampton Place, Brighton, at just before 7pm yesterday to a fire in the basement of the cafe.
It is believed that chemicals or fats still on the tea towels can cause the material to ignite when they are dried.
Back in October (unfortunately, we missed posting this story), there were two cases of combusting towels in one day. The warm towels from the laundry caught on fire. Odd.
Sounds weird but it’s real.
Here is a case of a serious fire caused by combusted towels in Washington restaurant.
The restaurant manager said the night of the fire that they used the dryer just before closing.
It was the second restaurant fire in Olympia in two years caused by towels in the dryer, and the fifth in five years to other businesses including hair salons.
The cleaning towels that were left inside the dryer smolder for hours and then spontaneously combust. The greases and oils used in the cleaning process apparently don’t all get washed out.
Also this restaurant in New York experienced a damaging fire when freshly dried towels were left in a plastic bag.
According to this industry informational piece [PDF], there are three kinds of spontaneous combustion:
Hay, grass or other organic substance will start to burn when heat is generated by bacteria, molds and fungi;
spot heating of trapped gasses and particles in a space, such as in coal mine fires; and reactive materials that burn where a heat source is not required as occurs in piles of laundry. Therefore, leftover oils on rags, towels or clothing may ignite if placed in a dryer .
When textile fires occur, the common factors found are a source of fuel, contaminants, and ambient
temperature is high enough with insulatation the heat reaction which does not allow for the generated
heat to dissipate, such as in a dryer, a plastic cart or plastic bag. Advice? Towels and other laundry should be washed thoroughly and removed immediately from a dryer and allowed to cool.