Customers were evacuated from the Plume of Feathers, Barlaston, after a ‘mystery’ burning odour was found to be emanating from the pub’s tumble dryer.
Firefighters removed the tumble dryer and ensured it was safe. They informed the pub’s staff that ‘exploding laundry’ due to essential oils not being properly washed out of kitchen towels had led to serious pub and restaurant fires in the past.
Morrissey said: “It’s very scary. I think if you ask 90% of publicans or restaurateurs, they would not know this. It’s a very serious issue.”
He added: “Our staff were diligent in protecting the customers but the fire service informed us afterwards there had been occasions where kitchen towels had been tumble dried and caught fire.
“If they’re not washed to the right temperature and oils remain in them before going in a tumble dryer and being taken out, they can catch fire once they’re folded up.”
Earlier this year the kitchen of the Seven Tuns, Gloucestershire, was set ablaze after towels were tumble dried.
Licensee Liz Henty told the BBC at the time the pub kitchen resembled “a Salvador Dali painting…everything is melted and destroyed.”
And in 2012, Brighton restaurant Terre á Terre became victim to the phenomenon when tumble-dried tea towels left in the kitchen overnight burst into flames.
The team at the Plume of Feathers had taken steps to ensure there was no possibility of this happening again in the future, Morrissey said.
“We had all our equipment serviced immediately the next day to make sure that we are washing at 90 degrees and secondly, when we take kitchen towels out of the tumble dryer now, we do one of two things.
“Either we let the tumble dryer cool down before taking the towels out, or we take the tea towels out and hang them up outside. And the tumble dryer is only on during the day, not at night.”