A pair of roller-clad young women and more than 55 others stood in the noonday sun Wednesday after being evacuated from the Carson City Beauty Academy when a clothes dryer caught fire.
Susy Hurtado and Stacy Ward were on their way back from lunch when they saw and smelled smoke billowing from a vent on the west side of the cosmetology school at 2531 N. Carson St.
"There was so much smoke coming out of (the vent). It looked and smelled so bad," Ward said. "Susy and Marie ran into the building, opened the door (to the laundry room) and saw flames and called 911."
"The dryer was shut," Hurtado said. "You could just see flames all over. Instead of clothes, you could just see flames (through the glass door). It was kind of scary. We ran inside the office and told them, and they ran and got the fire extinguisher."
She said they turned off the gas dryer and told everyone to get out of the building.
Classes for the 55 students, their instructors and services to clients were suspended for the rest of the day. Things should be back to normal today, according to general manager Nicole Ferguson.
Ferguson said the items in the dryer were just the daily laundry, and that she was told a towel had caught fire in the machine.
"We don't know why yet," she said. "Nothing was damaged, just the dryer."
No injuries were reported.
Tasha Alliston, attending classes for the first day Wednesday, said "It's my first day of school, and it gets burned down. I didn't even get my manicure done."
Carson City Fire Capt. Ed Young said the cause of the fire, reported at 12:08 p.m., is under investigation by the department and Southwest Gas Co., which will check all gas lines in the area and the appliance.
"They may, or may not, find anything," Young said. "We don't know if it was lint that caught fire that caught the towels on fire inside, or a bad thermostat that regulates the temperature."
Young said the fire was contained to the inside of the dryer.
"The manager opened the door, hit it with a dry-chem extinguisher, and was able to knock it down some."
He estimates the dryer will cost $1,000-$2,500 to replace.
Enrollment at the school, which offers training in all aspects of hair care and styling, skin care, nails and massage, is 110 students.
Kelli Du Fresne is city editor for the Nevada Appeal. Contact her at email@example.com or at 881-1261.