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September 6, 2019

Firefighter opens fire-prevention business


A firefighter who survived a house fire as a child has launched a business to fix a common cause of residential blazes — clogged dryer vents.

Damian Bullock, a Bridgeport firefighter, recently opened a Dryer Vent Wizard franchise serving customers in New Haven County.

The fire that destroyed Bullock’s home wasn’t related to a dryer. When he was about six years old, Bullock was playing with matches and stomping on them with his new cowboy boots, but a fire ignited. Everyone got out safely, but the family lost all of their belongings, Bullock recalled.

The experience had a lasting impact on his life, and he said he grew up wanting to prevent and fight fires. 

“It’s the reason why I became a firefighter,” Bullock said. “I burned down my house, and I remember the firefighters who came and made me feel like everything would be okay.”

He said he wanted to provide others with the same reassurance firefighters gave him as a child.

“I’m excited to continue making a difference in my community by now preventing fires in addition to reacting to them,” Bullock said. 

Dryer Vent Wizard, founded in 2004, is a Michigan-based franchise system with about 95 locally owned and operated franchises around the U.S. and Canada. The company offers a range of services, including dryer-vent repair, replacement, cleaning and maintenance. 

Bullock, who also lives in Bridgeport, is currently running the business with help from a family member, though he hopes to expand. The mobile business operates from a van.

“I hope to build consumer awareness about the importance of dryer-vent repair and cleaning for fire prevention long-term,” Bullock said.

Bullock said he has responded to multiple fires caused by dryer problems, including clogged vents. Through his new business, he hopes not only to prevent fires, but educate people about the risk.

“It is extremely important to recognize the danger of dryer fires,” Bullock said.

The National Fire Protection Association estimates more than 15,500 fires are sparked in laundry rooms annually, with many dryer-related fires due to clogged dryer vents, which cause overheating. In addition to the fire prevention benefit, cleaning vents makes dryers run more efficiently, resulting in energy savings, according to the company.

Contact Michelle Tuccitto Sullo at

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