Over-extended Extension Cord Sparks Brief Electrical Fire
Firefighters responded to a home on S. Thompson Drive, where a resident reported that an electrical outlet in their house began to arc, caught fire, and then self-extinguished. Firefighters examined the outlet and noted fire damage to the outlet and to some of the surrounding drywall. Firefighters checked for fire extension inside the drywall and confirmed the fire was out.
Also nearby was a small, two-prong extension cord with a burned end. The resident stated the extension cord had been used to power a space heater in another room. The crew determined the electrical power needed to feed the space heater exceeded the capacity of the extension cord being used. This caused the cord to overheat, short out the circuit, and trip the breaker.
The occupant was not injured, and nobody was displaced as a result of the fire.
Safety Tip: Extension cords and power strips are designed to carry a certain current capacity depending on how they were manufactured. Extension cords are meant only for temporary use. Appliances such as fans, dehumidifiers, space heaters, etc. should be plugged directly into wall outlets. Power strips should only be used for smaller items such as light office equipment, TVs, etc., and should not be used for high-current or high-draw appliances. Refer to manufacturer instructions on your power strips and extension cords to know what types of devices may be used with them.
Cynthia Schuster (Public Information Officer)