Memphis Fire Investigators Warn About Electrical Fires

(Memphis) As the temps heat up, the risk of homes catching fire goes up as well.

“Kids are out of school they are watching TV. They are playing on the Xbox and Play Station. A lot more activity happens on the inside,” said Lt. Wayne Cooke.

This past week, Memphis firefighters battled 10 blazes across the city. Many of them were sparked by an electrical problem. This week is just a snapshot of what firefighters have seen in the last couple of months, not only here, but across the country.

“Electrical fires are ranked among the leading causes of fire,” said Cooke.

Lt. Wayne Cooke with the Memphis Fire Department says improper use of light fixtures and bad wiring in a house is to blame for those fires. Cooke says those types of fires can be easily avoided.

He suggests having a certified electrician check out your home’s system and “always go by the manufactured instructions. If it’s rated for a 60 wattage bulb, never exceed that,” said Cooke.

Cooke also points out many families may be dragging out more tools to entertain this summer and those need to stay plugged up. But Cooke says be careful before you do. He warns extension cords and power strips are only for temporary use and shouldn’t be overloaded.

“If you only have a 2 outlet wall receptacle that is what it is rated for,” said Cooke.

Thankfully no one died from the 10 fires this past week, but several families are homeless after the fires wiped out their homes.

“They reported to us they were asleep and unaware there was a fire in their home. Because they had a working smoke detector that detector had alerted them and they were able to escape successfully prior to our arrival,” said Cooke.

Cooke encourages everyone to follow their lead and install working detectors in your homes. The Fire Department offers free smoke detectors. Call your nearest fire station to get one installed.

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