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UPDATED: Improperly stored soiled linens cause of Nelson Fire Rescue call

Nelson Fire and Rescue Services responded to a report at 12:38 p.m. Wednesday of a burning smell near the alley of 500 Block of Josephine. — Submitted photos

Nelson Fire and Rescue Services are reminding the public to safely store soiled linens following a potentially dangerous call Wednesday afternoon in the 500 Block of Josephine Street.

Nelson Fire and Rescue Services responded to a report at 12:38 p.m. Wednesday of a burning smell near the alley.

The first member arriving noticed a strong smell of smoke and elevated Carbon Monoxide levels.

“The odor was strongest in a furnace room that serviced a different business in a different part of the building,” Nelson Fire and Rescue Services said in an emailed press release.

“Additional members were called to the scene.”

“The crew’s primary objective after clearing the unaffected rental units in the building was to prepare for a breach and attack on the suspected rental unit,” the press release added.

Nelson Fire and Rescue Services said after gaining entry to the locked unit, the crew found a smoldering laundry bag of tightly packed oily linens from a massage therapy business.

Once on scene, firefighters removed a bag of improperly stored linens that was extinguished on the street. — Submitted photo

Nelson Fire and Rescue Services said once the bag of linens was removed from the unit to a safe location, firefighters watched the bag fully ignite in less than three minutes.

“There are a lot of scenarios where this could have ended up as a major commercial building fire, but thankfully the contents the laundry bag started smoking when an employee of an adjoining business was at work and noticed the smell,” Nelson Fire and Rescue Services said.

“Had this happened after hours the end result would have been far more serious."

Nelson Fire and Rescue Services said three firefighters responded to the incident with one fire engine, one utility vehicle, and one personal vehicle.

No injuries were reported as a result of this incident.

Nelson Fire & Rescue Services would like to take this opportunity to educate private citizens and business owners alike.

  • Process soiled linens immediately and do not store for extended periods of time.
  • If you must store linens prior to washing, store them outside and away from other
  • combustibles, preferably in a metal container with a metal self-closing lid.
  • Most spontaneous ignitions occur in washed and dried linens containing residual material.
  • Completely wash the linens at a high temperature of at least 104° F prior to drying.
  • Avoid large stacks or piles of linens. Separate them into smaller piles.
  • Dry the linens on low heat (below 125° F) to avoid the oil’s flashpoint.
  • If you must stack linens, spread them to allow for ventilation and cooling.

Nelson Fire quick to respond to Josephine Street call

Nelson Fire and Rescue Services responded to a call of a possible carbon monoxide leak in the 500 Block of Josephine Street Wednesday afternoon.

Once on scene, firefighters focused on the business at 527 Josephine Street, where crews discovered smouldering material that was quickly removed and extinguished.

This story will be update once more information becomes available.