Nasty fire in this area, last night. Appears one fatality.
Woman woke around 2.30 AM to hear 'popping noise, sparks and flames
from an outlet.
Managed to get herself and 12 year old out, but suffered smoke
Another young adult is missing; assumed dead.
No information yet whether anything was plugged into the outlet etc.
Or whether anything was wired non standard etc.
Indication so far seems to be that it was the outlet itself that was
House virtually total loss
Fire Commisioner's staff on site today to investiagte and probably
find remains of the missing person.
So recommend; anyone .......... if you suspect an outlet check,
immediately switch off that circuit and replace.
Man, when I was on the fire department those late night/early morning
alarms were the ones I dreaded the most. That was when most folks
without fire alarms were most likely to get killed in a fire. But over
the whole 10 plus years I served, we never had a fire fatality.
The back-stab outlets are the worst. I'm surprised code allows them.
They will melt, wires will fall out, but still, shooting flames even with
these would be unlikely.
If you dead-short zipcord on a 15 A circuit, how much flame/spark do you
get? Not a lot, really.
Not saying it doesn't happen, but it sure is perplexing as to exactly *how*.
The "how", as I see it, is this:
Strictly speaking, you *can* weld stuff with 15 A (ie, the breaker affords
no protection), but the wire/metal gauge visavis the current density has to
be just right, the arc length has to be maintained just right (or the arc
blows out), etc.
Not to mention that welding -- ie, maintaining a steady arc -- with 120 V/
15 A is not so easy to begin with.
To spontaneously have all these variables in an electrical perfect storm of
sorts seems unlikely.
But, it does happen, apparently, I'm just curious as to how.
Back to the original point, how a plug fits into an outlet is tell-tale. A
good fit is smooth, springy, tight.
Lousy fits, bespeaking loss of temper/spring from arcing, feels loose,
gritty, and often accompanies warmth emanating from the outlet, mostly from
If UL-grade outlets can cause fires, then these shit extension cords that
you have to wrestle the plug into to get any contact at all ought to be
outlawed, as well. These things are disasters waiting to happen.
At one time, in NYC, their housing law made it illegal for a tenant to use
any extension cords *whatsoever*. Never enforced, but inneresting.
> Managed to get herself and 12 year old out, but suffered smoke > inhalation.
First, how does something on a 15 amp breaker start a fire? Actually
it's very easy and surprisingly it doesn't happen more often. Inside
the suspected *unit* are small wires and parts that can start a fire
with less than a 1 amp draw. Luckily they usually burn out as fast as
they burn up.
Then there are the back stabbed wires. They don't need to short out.
Loose wires start fires.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.