Fire Department Warns Against Extension Cord Fire Risks - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/18/03

Fire Department Warns Against Extension Cord Fire Risks

On Tuesday night an extension cord is to blame for a fire that destroyed a home in central Lubbock. When fire fighters arrived to the 2500 block of 63rd St., the house was fully engulfed. Fire destroyed half of the house and heavy smoke damaged the rest.

No one was home or injured in the blaze, but according to the fire department the cause could've been avoided. The resident had a window unit heat and air cooler plugged into a light weight extension cord and according to the fire department the cord melted.

"What happens is as it heats and cools and heats and cools what happens is that wire will eventually break down the rubber insulation around the wire itself," said Dan Reid, Fire Investigator Inspector. That means your hot extension cord is like a hot coil laying on your carpet.

Fire officials say the house was also lacking adequate smoke detectors, we'll get to that just in a minute, but first there's a lesson to be learned with extension cords.

One thing everyone needs to know is that extension cords are for temporary use only. No matter if you have a light weight cord like a white or brown one or a heavy duty orange one, they are only good temporarily.

For instance a lamp is plugged into an extension cord, but the residents only turn the lamp on at night, then they turn it off. You wouldn't want to plug anything constantly needing energy like a refrigerator or an air conditioner into an extension cord.

But there is an exception, a surge protector with an on off switch means it has a circuit breaker inside. Fire officials say these are fine for more permanent use. But you aren't supposed to plug an extension cord into a surge protector, that defeats the purpose.

Fire officials want us to get one more warning out there: Smoke detectors are our best defense against a fire, they react faster than anyone human can. So remember to check your smoke detectors and place them throughout your house.

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