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#37762 05/06/04 06:28 AM
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 169
News article about a fire. "Officials say the cause is unknown but it was probably electrical".

#37763 05/06/04 06:46 AM
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,291
I was told by a local firefighter that "probably electrical in origin" was more or less the "default setting" for their reports.
Whenever they don't have a valid explanation, that seems to be where they go.

#37764 05/06/04 07:30 AM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 840
When the cause is "electrical" in nature, aren't fires actually caused by the building wiring system extremely rare?

I am under the impression that most "electrical" fires are caused by improper use of extension cords, power strips, christmas lights, faulty appliances, heaters etc.

Can anyone confirm or deny this, or are hard numbers even available?


#37765 05/06/04 10:10 AM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,148
The information cited in support of the AFCI rule said that about 40% of the residential electrical fires originate in the building electrical system. Note that this information is derived from the same fire reports that are being discussed in this thread.

#37766 05/06/04 10:56 AM
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 402
I saw a tv proram once about this. There was a resteraunt that cught on fire. They blamed it on the electrical that had been done the day before. Then 3 monthes later someone found the survailence tape in the burnt up VCR. It was still playable. It turned out the waitress cleaning tables had dump some hot cigarette butts into the trash can under the new receptacle.

#37767 05/06/04 12:12 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 2,527
Second-hand story… in early 1976, while under restoration for the bicentennial, a historic building in the northeast caught fire and quicky burned to the ground. The ‘official’ report stated: “The cause of the fire could not be determined because the building was not wired.”

#37768 05/12/04 08:02 PM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 840
Don, Sorry for the extremely late response, but I do not believe for a second that 40% of fires are caused by the building wiring system.


#37769 05/12/04 08:51 PM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 2,233
That was one of my biggest pet peeves is when the "firemen" would always say, "It was an electrical fire." Now don't get me wrong I love fireman, ( My dad was a volenter fireman for 20 years.) But I just wish that these officials would just look a little deeper to see if they can get to the root of the fire. Just don't dismiss it as an "electrical fire" just because they didn't do their job correctly.

#37770 05/12/04 10:41 PM
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 394
Well, the origin was electricity but the cause was the IDIOT who plugged six space heaters into two extension cords on the same duplex!
I'm afrais that message will never get across.

[This message has been edited by Big Jim (edited 05-12-2004).]

#37771 05/12/04 10:53 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,143
Well, as one of the "firemen" on the board, IIRC (from an investigator's point of view) that less than 9% of all the fires currently listed as "electrical" in origin really are.
(get it? It's an electrical pun! Y'know...currently... electrical? Oh, never mind)

I think I've seen maybe 6 or 8 that started due to electricity - including the wintertime 30A fuses feeding space heaters on extension cords under carpets one, and the summertime 20A window A/C 'pigtailed' to a 16 awg lamp grade extension cord one.

The investigator on our shift has a really hard time calling any fire electrical in origin - she calls it a "lazy determination".

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