A fire in a bathroom fan sent flames through a hole in the roof of a Rochester home early Saturday morning.
Crews from Somersworth and Dover supported Rochester firefighters who responded to the blaze around midnight at the one-story Goldrush Lane house as fire and smoke billowed from the gable just below the roof, said Deputy Fire Chief Adam Hughes.
Firefighters brought the blaze under control within minutes, although it caused heavy damage to the ceiling and the resident was unable to stay in the house. An engine was left on the scene for an extended period to ensure the fire did not restart.
Hughes said the resident was unable to stay in the house due to damage to the ceiling.
Bathroom fan fires can occur for a number of reasons, but go undetected by residents, according to Dover Fire Chief Paul Haas, whose department responded to the Rochester fire.
The chief said generally the fans are on the second flood, an area with less foot traffic.
“If something starts up and it’s out of sight it’s obviously hard to be aware of. Bathroom fans aren’t working properly and if there’s a slow burning type or a burning type slow, no one will ever know because the heat and smoke increase, “Haas said. “If you had a smoke detector up there, it would eventually lead to it. But frequently, something in the ceiling space can smolder and burn completely without being seen by anyone in the house.”
Some tips for avoiding bathroom fan fires of American Family Insurance:
- Consider replacing the old fans. Many are used long after they should have been removed. If your exhaust fan looks really old, it’s probably time to replace it.
- Hear a scratching sound when you turn on your bathroom fan Over time, the framing and beams of your home may shift as the building sags, creating contact that can cause friction that puts pressure on your home. the engine under strain.
- Pay attention to whether your bathroom fan smells of smoke. If you smell a burning smell coming from your exhaust fan, turn it off and look for melted wires and clamps.
- Remove dust buildup to prevent bathroom exhaust fan fires. The small slits in most exhaust vents can quickly become clogged with dust or become completely blocked as material builds up over time.
- Wash the bathroom vents and let dry. Also wipe the inside of the fan housing with a rag.
- Clean the bathroom ventilation ducts. Accumulation of dust and dirt can cause the exhaust fan to overheat, posing a fire hazard.
- Use LED bulbs for your bathroom fans. These bulbs will decrease the electrical load placed on the circuit and the exhaust fan, which can help reduce the risk of a bathroom fire.
- Install a timer. Leaving the fan on for hours can really put the fan at risk of serious problems.
- Manage bathroom fan dust hazards with compressed air. You can minimize dust buildup with a few canned air blasts that is typically used to clean electrical equipment.
- Mark your calendar to check your bathroom exhaust fan.
Seacoast Current photographer Robert Nettles contributed to this report.