Visalia, CA – Dryer fire at homeless shelter stopped by fire sprinkler activation; No injuries reported

Visalia’s largest homeless shelter had a close call after a industrial-sized dryer caught fire early Tuesday morning, according to Visalia Fire Department.

Thankfully the damage was minimal but Visalia Rescue Mission (VRM) will be in the market for a new dryer and possibly a fresh coat of paint. 

At 1:07 a.m., firefighters responded to a reported fire at the rescue mission, located at 322 Northeast First Avenue. The fire was reported in a laundry room toward the back of the men’s facility.

VRM offers meals and laundry services to many Visalia families and residents. 

When the first crew arrived, they didn’t see smoke coming from the building. Eventually, fire crews found the fire coming from a dryer in the laundry room, according to Battalion Chief Darrin Hughes.

The fire was contained to the laundry room. The fire caused a sprinkler to activate which stop the spread of flames, Hughes said. 

Mission staff and Visalia police helped evacuate those who were in the building. It’s unknown how many people were inside the building when the fire was reported.

No injuries were reported, firefighters said. 

Utilities to the facility were left on so the mission could operate normally, Hughes said.

The cause was “undetermined,” Hughes added. The fire caused more than $5,000 in damage to the dryer. Water damage was minimal. 

The property is worth approximately $350,000.

Finance Director Shon Baldwin encouraged anyone looking to support the mission in light of Tuesday morning’s fire to donate through the nonprofit’s website

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