Towels in an industrial dryer caught fire and generated a large amount of smoke Saturday morning at a linen supply company in Petaluma.

Firefighters from Petaluma, Rancho Adobe and Cal Fire responded to the 11:19 a.m. alarm at Lace House Linen Supply on Lindberg Lane off Payran Street.

Inside the 103-year-old business, firefighters “found a very large commercial dryer that was full of burning towels,” Assistant Petaluma Fire Chief Jeff Schach, said in a press release. “Employees had used several fire extinguishers” in their efforts to battle the flames.

Fire crews extinguished the fire and pulled a huge heap of burned towels from the dryer, a blue box-like machine that stands at least 9 feet tall.

As part of the heating mechanism, the dryer has its own “burn chamber,” and a towel somehow had entered the chamber, “causing it to ignite and then ignite the other towels that were in the dryer barrel,” Schach said.

Damage was limited to the dryer and estimated at $10,000. No one was injured.

You can reach Staff Writer Robert Digitale at 707-521-5285 or On Twitter @rdigit.