Unseen dangers that could start a fire in your house this summer

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The scorching heat could be putting your family at risk of a house fire this summer.

Electrical overloads are a very real danger during the hottest months, especially in older homes.

Fire officials said if you were not careful, flames could overtake your home before you even know a fire has started.

This summer, it was all about trying to stay cool, but depending on how you accomplished that, Memphis Fire Lieutenant Wayne Cooke said you could easily overload your home’s electrical system.

“For older wires, they will deteriorate over time. So, they break down, and when they break down there is the potential for sparks. Those sparks will ignite and will cause a fire,” he said.

In the winter, space heaters could spark a fire in a matter of minutes.

Cooke said things like box fans, cooling systems and overuse of power strips could do the same thing.

“Check those appliances. Check the power cords to those appliances,” he advised. “If they’re hot to the touch, it’s time to either replace that cord or replace the appliance.”

While you know smoke and burning smells are signs of trouble, Cooke said a fire could start in your home without you seeing it, that is until it is too late.

“There is a void space in every wall, and a lot of times it is open throughout the attic. So, there can be a fire there, and you never know it until it has advanced throughout that wall and even to the attic area,” he said.

When it came to electrical fires, Cooke said we have been fortunate lately.

“In the last few weeks I cannot recall any electrical fires in this area, but it is prone to happen,” Cooke said.

If a wall or outlet in your home does feel hot, you are urged to unplug everything and call MLGW or an electrician.

If you think there is any chance there is a fire, call 911.

Cooke recommended having a certified electrician come out and check your system regardless if you live in an older home, just to make sure everything has been wired correctly and the system can withstand your family’s power usage.

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