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Hilton Sedona Resort & Spa evacuated guests Monday, March 26, for approximately an hour after a dryer caught fire.
By Trista Steers
Larson Newspapers

Hilton Sedona Resort & Spa evacuated guests Monday, March 26, for approximately an hour after a dryer caught fire.

Sedona Fire District received the call at 5:02 p.m. By the time crews arrived on the scene five minutes later, Hilton staff had extinguished the fire.

?Their staff did what they are suppose to and it all worked out right,? SFD Fire Marshal Will Loesche said.

A Hilton employee used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire in one of three dryers used by staff. The fire wasn?t big enough to activate sprinklers.

?We knew very quickly what the source of the issue was,? Hilton General Manager Lynn Ericksen said.

Loesche said the dryer had a very large load of towels in it, which most likely contributed to the fire.

The fire was contained to the dryer but produced smoke that filled the hotel.

Hilton staff evacuated guests until the smoke could be cleared and elevated carbon monoxide levels lowered.

The laundry room is located on the second floor in the middle of the building, which made it difficult to clear the smoke, Loesche said.

The Hilton poses the largest threat to the district in terms of danger to human life in the event of an emergency, according to Loesche. More than 200 hotel rooms and large meeting areas make it possible for more than 800 people to occupy the building at once.

?The potential is there and that?s why we send a full complement of units on a call like that,? Loesche said.

Eight emergency units, 17 firefighters, Loesche and SFD Fire Inspector Gary Johnson responded.

Ericksen said it is peak season at the hotel and Monday?s occupancy was high. Luckily, few guests were actually at the hotel when the fire occurred.

?Most of them were up scampering on the red rocks,? Ericksen said.

Only two to three dozen people had to be evacuated Ericksen said. Meeting facilities weren?t busy Monday and the restaurant was empty at 5 p.m.

Those who did evacuate were understanding, Ericksen said.

The Hilton uses residential dryers rather than commercial dryers. Johnson said residential dryers aren?t designed to handle consecutive large loads like commercial dryers are, which may have contributed to the blaze.

Remnants of cleaning supplies on towels can trigger dryer fires as well, Loesche said. Detergents aren?t strong enough to remove all oil from fabrics during washing and can cause rags to spontaneously ignite while drying.

Johnson said four fires in the district have been related to oil on fabric spontaneously igniting.

SFD estimated a $500 loss from the fire for the cost of the dryer.

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