May 17—Two Seattle Firefighters were shocked by illegal wiring inside the basement of a South Seattle home while fighting a house fire. The firefighters received minor shocks and were treated by medics.
At 11:40 a.m., the Fire Alarm Center received a 911 call reporting a chimney fire at a home located at 11400 block of 69th Place South. Engine Company 33 arrived first to find heavy smoke coming from a one-story home with a basement.
The home was locked up so firefighters had to forcibly enter the house. Once inside, firefighters found the fire was burning in the basement of the home and extended through the walls up into the upper floor of the house.
Firefighters made entry into the basement and had limited visibility due to the heavy smoke. While advancing with a hose line, two firefighters were shocked by head level wires strung across the basement. The insulation of the wires had burned off exposing the wires. The electrical shock was strong enough to bring one firefighter to his knees. Due to the electrical danger, firefighters retreated from the basement and fought the fire from the outside and from the first floor of the home.
A fire investigator determined the residents had illegally tapped into Seattle City Light Power lines by wiring around the home’s electrical meter. The cause of the fire is considered accidental, overheated electrical wiring in the basement that was powering a grow operation. A fire investigator estimates the structure suffered $60,000 in damage and there was $2,000 damage to the contents.
Seattle City Light crews turned off power to the home and investigated the electricity theft. Seattle Police Narcotic detectives were called to inspect and investigate the grow operation in the basement.
This is the second fire this week caused by electrical theft. Seattle City Light and the Seattle Fire Department teamed up to produce a Public Service Announcement regarding the dangers of electricity theft.
Here is a link to more information about electricity theft.