Monterey Mills fire caused by lint buildup

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Neil Johnson
Wednesday, August 9, 2017

JANESVILLE—A dryer clogged with lint ignited and sparked a fire that spread to the roof at Monterey Mills in Janesville on Tuesday night, damaging the roof and prompting evacuation for a few hours, authorities said.

Deputy Fire Chief Bill Ruchti said a passerby spotted fire on the roof at Monterey Mills' fabric manufacturing plant, 1725 E. Delavan Drive, shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday.

Workers at the plant reported lint had built up inside a dryer tub. Burners that power the dryer ignited the lint, Ruchti said. Workers extinguished flames in the dryer, but burning material traveled up exhaust vents and the fire moved to the roof, Ruchti said.

A fire crew extinguished flames on the roof, and then spent more than an hour venting smoke from inside the plant.

Ruchti said workers in Monterey Mills evacuated, and no one was hurt. A haze of smoke lingered in the upper reaches of the building late Tuesday. Ruchti indicated the smoke forced the plant to shut down production for at least a few hours late Tuesday.

Monterey Mills on Wednesday morning estimated the fire caused just under $10,000 in damage, but the company was continuing to evaluate damage to the roof and vent system, Ruchti said.

Last updated: 10:23 am Wednesday, August 9, 2017

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