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Overheated dryers seen as source of Hillsborough County jail fire

March 25. 2014 10:09PM

MANCHESTER — Clothes couldn’t be cleaned for two days at the Valley Street Jail, after a Saturday night fire caused by cleaning rags that overheated in the jail’s commercial driers, Jail Superintendent David Dionne said Tuesday.

Dionne said the jail has contracted with a Massachusetts company to launder the uniforms of inmates, and the first load of 270 duffle bags went out Monday. He said inmates had to go two days with the same uniform because of the fire.The fire damaged the driers and vents in the jail, which will have to be replaced, as well as some roofing. Water damaged a second-floor classroom at the jail, but classes were moved to other areas of the jail.The fire did not effect housing units.

On Saturday, Manchester fire officials attributed the fire to greasy kitchen rags and an accumulation of lint in the duct work.

But Dionne said the rags were cleaning rags, and the only chemicals used in cleaning are disinfectants and glass cleaner. He said they are washed before they are dried.

“I think it just got hot,” he said about the cause of the fire. Dionne said the duct work had been recently cleaned of lint. He said it will have to be replaced.

Manchester fire officials estimated the damage at $75,000. Dionne said an insurance adjuster visited the jail on Tuesday.

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