More than 14-thousand house fires start each year in a family's humble clothes dryer.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, clothes dryers and the fires from their malfunction, added up to a whopping 65-million dollars in fire damage last year, and seven deaths.

But there are common sense ways to prevent many of them.

Cherry Hill Fire Marshall Tom Shemeley says a lot can go wrong with this commonly-used laundry appliance. He says it can develop a mechanical problem or an electrical problem - even a gas leak.

But he says lint, clogging the dryer's vent and preventing it from exhausting heat, is quite frequently the culprit.

Shemeley says, "With the abundance of lint, it is a source of ignition for a fire."

The antidote is to keep the dryer vent clean and lint-free, either with a vacuum or by hiring a professional to clean it out. Also, clean out the lint trap in the dryer after every use.

Shemeley says it is also a good idea to keep a lot of other accumulated "stuff" away from the laundry room area.  Household storage items can add fuel to any fire that starts in the dryer.