A kitchen fire that caused damage to a restaurant in Fitzrovia is believed to have been caused by freshly laundered towels folded into a pile and self heating before smouldering and catching fire.
Fire investigators believe the fire within the basement kitchen of the restaurant on Charlotte Place last week, was the result of self-heating within tea towels and aprons that had been laundered and folded into a pile before the premises closed.
These types of fires often involve textiles that become contaminated with oil, most commonly linseed, massage and cooking oil on tea towels, tablecloths and chef whites.
A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “Sometimes when materials are cleaned, put in tumble dryers and then folded and stacked, the heat from the tumble drying cannot escape. This can result in a high enough temperature allowing it to build up to a point where it smoulders and eventually ignites.”
Half of the basement was damaged by fire and there was heavy smoke logging on the ground of the premises. Firefighters took two hours to bring the blaze under control.
A smoke alarm sounded and residents living in flats above the restaurant self-evacuated before the Brigade arrived. The restaurant was closed at the time of the incident and no one was in the premises at the time of the fire. No injuries were reported.
London Fire Brigade advised restaurants that if they are washing and then drying chef whites and kitchen linen on a hot cycle to always use the cooling cycle on the tumble dryer so it cools down and allows the heat to dissipate properly, before stacking laundered items together.