According to the New York Post, the blaze was caused by a lint build-up in a dryer belonging to De Niro. It sent 12-foot flames out the windows and affected many apartments in the actor's building at 88 Central Park West.
It also apparently sounded alarms for dryer-owning New Yorkers.
BrickUnderground indoor air quality expert Maria Vizzi tells us her company has been fielding 10-15 calls a day from NYC apartment dwellers requesting inspections of their machines since news of the De Niro conflagaration broke.
"My phones are ringing off the hook," says Vizzi, whose company, Indoor Environmental Solutions, charges around $89 for an inspection and another $100 or so for cleaning.
If you have an outside-venting dryer, the further away your machine is from the exhaust point, the more concerned you should be, says Vizzi. But even non-outside venting dryers need to be looked at every once in awhile because "the lint has to go somewhere," she says.
She recommends annual inspections and cleanings every year or every other year, depending on how much use the dryer gets.
Interesting factoid: Many newer machines are equipped to shut down in the event of a fire, so if you're in the market for a dryer, you may want to add the "igniter" shutoff to your shopping list, as we have no doubt De Niro will do too.
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