January 11, 2014 in Washington Voices

Over-extended cords blamed for two fires

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Experts advise that a lot of things are fine in moderation, and the same applies to the use of extension cords. They should never be strung together, which two families learned the hard way this week.

A heat lamp started a fire in the 1700 block of North Woodruff Road the afternoon of Dec. 29, but not by tipping over and catching something flammable on fire. “The heat lamp was plugged into several extension cords, which caught fire,” said Assistant Fire Marshal Bill Clifford.

A heated water dish plugged into a string of connected extension cords was the culprit in a fire in the 1500 block of North Grady Road just before midnight on Wednesday. Using extension cords outdoors also has an increased risk if it is wet outside, Clifford said.

Other calls from Dec. 26 to Jan. 8:

Dec. 29: A Dumpster fire was reported in the 11100 block of East Third Avenue. A 4-year-old playing with a lighter started a mattress fire in an apartment at 2718 N. Bowdish Road.

Dec. 31: A head-on collision sent two people to the hospital in the 1900 block of South Dishman-Mica Road.

Jan. 3: Firefighters had to extricate a man from a car hit by a semi on Trent Avenue west of Barker Road.

Tuesday: A minor traffic accident punctured the gas tank of a semitruck on Evergreen Road near I-90. About 20 gallons of diesel fuel spilled.

By the numbers: Crews responded to 512 calls during the two-week period, including 421 emergency medical services responses. Other incidents reported included three illegal outdoor fires, 41 auto accidents and several people either locked inside their car or outside their homes.

2013 roundup: The department responded to 12,822 calls in 2013, which is up from 12,023 calls in 2012. The majority of the calls were for emergency medical services (10,135) and car crashes (883). There were 722 structure fires reported, which also includes downed power lines and illegal trash fires. Most of the 668 building alarms responded to were false alarms or for burnt food.

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