Faulty electrical wiring could be the cause of El Dorado house fire, officials advise residents on fire safety

Arkansas News

EL DORADO, Ark. (10/10/19) Faulty electrical wiring could be the cause of a house fire in El Dorado this week.

The homeowner and her son are counting it a blessing to be alive after that fire completely destroyed their home Tuesday afternoon. All that’s left are questions as what exactly sparked the blaze.

The owner believes it was bad wiring. Investigators aren’t ruling that out.

“More times than not we go in and find that the circuits were overloaded,” El Dorado Fire Chief, Chad Mosby said. “Homes that were built in the 40s and 50s were not designed for the electrical load that we have today.”

The owner said she moved in the home in 1997 and was told the house was built in the 60s. The occupant of the home prior to her had issues with the electrical wiring but wasn’t sure if it was ever fixed.

“Homes that were built in the 40s and 50s were not designed for the electrical load that we have today,” Chief Mosby said. “We have a lot more electronics and a lot more appliances that draw heavy electrical loads.”

If your home was built more than 30 years ago it’s best to replace that old electrical wiring for safety to avoid fires.

Here are list of warning signs that you may have faulty electrical wires:

  • Frequent circuit breaker trips
  • Flickering, buzzing or dimming lights
  • Frayed or chewed wiring
  • Discoloration or scorch marks on your outlets
  • Burning, smokey or odd odors near outlets

“A lot of time people will try to bypass that because it’s annoying and inconvenient but your home is telling you that there’s a problem” Chief Mosby said.

With temperatures falling, many may want to pull out their electrical blankets and space heaters. Chief Mosby advises residents to not misuse extension cords and power strips for such reasons.

“You don’t want to use extension cords or power strips,” he said. “Power strips are typically designed for small appliances.”

They’re especially not used for multiple appliances and most times should only be uses temporarily.

Devices plugged into power strips in a room should never exceed the wattage recommended for the strips that are found in the room.

Instead of using the extension cords and power strips, Mosby advises residents to just plug their appliances into the wall.

“If you can’t plug it into the wall, it’s a good rule of thumb that you have more than you need pulling on that electrical system,” he said.

The homeowner and her son weren’t home at the time of the fire but Mosby said it’s always important to have an escape plan and to practice it. It only takes a few minutes for a small fire to turn deadly.

“Minutes really do count in that amount of time and being efficient in your escape plan is very important,” Chief Mosby said.

Mosby said to be sure to test your smoke detectors and change it if it’s been more than 10 years. The fire department is giving out smoke alarms for any resident that need it.

If you have any questions about fire safety contact the El Dorado Fire Department.

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