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UPDATE: Massive Berkeley Brush Fire Nearly…

Dryer Fire Damages Franklin Lakes Home

A Dakota Trail home suffered minimal damage to its first floor joist after lint caught fire inside a dryer vent pipe Sunday morning.

Fire departments from eight towns were dispatched to a Franklin Lakes home Sunday morning to fight a fire that started in a dryer's vent pipe.

Franklin Lakes Fire Chief Denny Knubel said a build up of highly combustible lint caught fire inside the pipe, which runs from the first floor into the basement and out the front of the Dakota Trail home.

Although the fire spread along the pipe's path, it stayed largely contained to the the 18-inch space between the dryer room floorboards and the basement entertainment room ceiling directly below it. The basement and its equipment escaped unscathed and the floor joist suffered only minimal damage, Knubel said.

"Just trying to get to the fire was the toughest part," he said, noting firefighters had to break through the brick and tile first floor and cut and pry through the basement ceiling to reach it. Crews extinugished the fire just before 11 a.m., about an hour after they received the emergency call.

The home's owner, Mike McEachern, said he was in his basement gym when his wife came downstairs to tell him she smelled smoke.

He soon discovered the source of the smoke -- his stacked washer/dryer on the first floor -- and attempted to unhook it from the gas line to see why it was smoldering.

McEachern said he eventually succeeded in unhooking the dryer, but by that point the smoke was becoming too thick. He called the fire department and evacuated his family and their dog from the home.

Knubel said the McEachern's home won't be livable tonight because the electricity and gas have been shut off, but neighbors have offered to house them.

In addition to Franklin Lakes, fire departments from Fair Lawn, Mahwah, Midland Park, Oakland, Ramsey, Waldwick and Wyckoff also assisted at Sunday's fire.

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Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Joseph M. Gerace at Joseph.Gerace@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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