Summer heat brings rise in electrical house fires

Thursday, June 16, 2011 - 10:44am

Firefighters have kept busy extinguishing flames across the area often times due to electrical cord overload from air conditioners.

Geneva Brown could only watch in disbelief from her Shreveport home across the street as flames quickly spread through her son's home in the 2500 block of Regent Street last week leaving behind a singed trail of lost belongings.  Fire officials say an overheated extension cord powering a window air conditioning unit is to blame.

Fred Sanders, Assistant to the Fire Chief, recommends homeowners should plug window air conditioning units directly into the wall outlet not an electrical extension cord.

Fire officials say this is a common mistake homeowners make, but making sure an extension cord is specifically rated for an appliance can help avoid a costly mistake caused from overloading.  "They plug too many appliances into an extension cord, which causes an increase in resistance into that cord and could cause a fire."

Clothes and rugs should be kept away from extension cords, which is a tough lesson Geneva's son had to learn.  "It was just unbelievable," she said describing the fire.  "We called 911 right away and that fire just swept through the house so fast."

Luckily, no one was in the house at the time, but she's hoping others will learn from their mistake as they pick up the pieces and rebuild.

If you want to make sure your home is safe from an electrical fire, you can call Shreveport Fire Inspectors at (318) 673-6740 to visit your home for a free inspection.

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