Officials: Hot towels caused nursing home fire

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Fire officials say towels washed in an alcohol-based fabric softener started the fire that forced 170 residents out of a North Charleston nursing home.

The Post and Courier of Charleston reported fire officials said Tuesday the fire Saturday afternoon was caused by a combination of high heat and the fabric softener.

Residents have been staying in area hospitals and other nursing home while the Department of Health and Environmental Control reviews the clean-up effort. Crews are repairing a ceiling, seven sprinkler heads and a ruptured water line.

A fire department spokeswoman says the commercial dryers used at White Oak Manor operate at a higher temperature than machines in homes. She says the towels retained the heat, smoldered and ignited in a closed linen closet.

No serious injuries were reported.

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