WITH VIDEO: A pile of greasy towels left to dry unattended in a tumble drier for almost an hour sparked a fire at a Brighton laundrette yesterday afternoon.
The customer came into Soapbox on Montreal Street, washed the towels then left them in the drier at about 4.30pm yesterday.
When he came back and opened the door shortly before 5.30pm, the fresh air sparked the smouldering towels into flames.
The laundrette quickly filled with smoke as staff called 999 and the customers and passers-by attempted to put out the blaze.
Fortunately, by the time firefighters arrived minutes later the flames were out.
Owner Ralph Fernando said: “I’ve owned laundrettes for 17 years and this is the first time I’ve had a fire.
“All the signs say don’t put greasy towels in the machines, but yesterday a chef used the machine, then put £5 in and left it unattended for an hour.
“When he came to pick it up, the air got in and the towels caught on fire.
“The staff called the fire engine, and everybody got out. Even people from the road came to help. The staff are still shaking.”
The incident has led East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, which sent two crews from Preston Circus to the blaze, to warn people not to leave electrical appliances running unattended, especially through the night.