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Residential fire in Wedgewood neighborhood ruled accidental

SEATTLE – The Fire Alarm Center received a 911 call at 1:20 a.m. on January 9 reporting a fire in a residential home at the 2500 Block of Northeast 92nd Street. Engine 40 responded from the Wedgewood Fire Station and saw flames coming from the front and sides of the single-story structure. All occupants had safely evacuated prior to SFD’s arrival on scene.

Firefighters fought the fire from outside of the structure, and then transitioned inside to push fire out. The fire was under control by 1:41 a.m. The American Red Cross was called for five displaced adults. There were no injuries to members of the public or firefighters.

Fire investigators ruled this fire as accidental, and set the total estimated loss at $350,000. The fire was caused by an overheated cell phone battery charging unit that was plugged into a full strip multi-outlet extension cord, which was plugged into a second full strip extension cord, which was plugged into the wall outlet.

SAFETY TIPS: Here are a few tips to prevent fires caused by overloading outlets and cords:

  • Avoid using extension cords and plug adapters.  Extension cords are designed to provide a temporary power source.
  • Make sure extension cords are not tacked to walls, run under rugs, or through doorways.
  • Utilize power strips with internal circuit breakers instead of extension cords to prevent overheated electrical extension cords.
  • Consider having a licensed electrician add an outlet if needed.
  • Never use an extension cord with a portable heater.
  • If an appliance produces heat (like toasters, rice cookers, coffee makers, kettles, portable heaters, irons, etc.) unplug it when not in use.
  • If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.