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Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,691
SvenNYC Offline OP
Three New York City firemen were killed this weekend battling intense flames.

This is from the Monday, January 25, 2005 New York Daily News.

Deadly fires caused by extension cord, space heater


Originally published on January 24, 2005

The Bronx blaze that led to the weekend deaths of two veteran firefighters apparently started when sparks from an overheated extension cord ignited a mattress and bedding, the fire department said Monday.

And the Brooklyn fire that killed a third firefighter hours later may have been caused by combustible materials near an electric space heater, according to preliminary findings by fire marshals, the Fire Department of New York said in a statement.

Lt. Curtis Meyran, 46, and Firefighter John Bellew, 37, died after jumping from the burning building in the Bronx. Richard Sclafani, 37, was fatally injured at the Brooklyn blaze.

The three deaths made Sunday the deadliest day the fire department has seen since the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center killed 343 firefighters.

Meyran and Bellew were among a group of six firefighters who became trapped while searching for people inside the burning building on East 178th Street. All six men, faced with what Mayor Michael Bloomberg called a "horrifying choice," leaped from the fourth floor.

The four who survived remained in critical condition on Monday. Jeffery Cool, Eugene Stolowski and Brendan Cawley were at St. Barnabas Hospital; Joseph DiBernardo was at Jacobi Medical Center.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, two other firefighters, Thomas Brick, 30, and James J. O'Shea, 41, have died on duty in New York; a third, Christian Engeldrum, was killed while on active duty for the Army in Iraq.

[This message has been edited by SvenNYC (edited 01-25-2005).]

Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 790
I have a friend who suffered a house fire because of a space heater. Seems he thought it was shut off when he put it aside in the basement. Seems the thermostat/ off switch wasn't quite at off and it got cold in the basement. Turns on and ignites some flammable material next to it. Heavy damage, but everyone got out without any serious injuries.

I had a few space heaters but I threw them out (after removing some usable parts like the fan and the power cord) except the one that looks like an old fashioned steam heat radiator. No part of that one gets hot enough to ignite anything.

Many people dont realize why light duty extension cords with 18 gauge wire shouldn't feed space heaters. "The plug fits...". And that assumes that it's really 18 gauge and not something thinner from the dollar store.

Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,691
SvenNYC Offline OP
Rob, you're saying that your friend didn't UNPLUG the heater before he set it aside??? [Linked Image]

I have two space heaters at home. One is a small fan-forced type with the nichrome heating element (about the size of a desk-top radio speaker) and the other is one of those oil-filled radiators. The only one I use now is the oil-filled radiator.

However, even if you use these "safer" heaters, you should still excersise logic and make sure that it's in good condition physically and electrically and not near anything that could melt and overheat.

And most importantly, don't plug it into a stump of #18 or #16 LAMP CORD!!!!!!!

Hell, even those heavy-duty #14 extension cords for appliances and air conditioners get warm when powering a heater for a short while.... [Linked Image]

Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,492
Had a nice experience with one of those radiators back when I was a little kid. We spent a weekend on a pretty rundown old farm and we had such a radiator in our room. It was missing one foot and I think put up on some books. Maybe it was bricks, not sure about that. Suddenly it fell over (I think somebody tripped over the cord) and it plunged the entire floor into darkness...

Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 790
Rob, you're saying that your friend didn't UNPLUG the heater before he set it aside???

That idea was in the back of my mind. I would have unplugged it too. I unplug my Weller soldering gun when I'm done with it, even though it has a trigger style power switch (it might get pushed up against something and get turned on....). At the model railroad club I belong to, we unplug when we leave for the night the plugs mounted on the layout table to avoid problems of soldering irons left on and such.

Hell, even those heavy-duty #14 extension cords for appliances and air conditioners get warm when powering a heater for a short while...

Similar must happen to the #14 romex in the wall. And those stab and pray outlets...

[This message has been edited by wa2ise (edited 01-25-2005).]

Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 375
I guess the UL listing information and maximum current/time curves should be printed on extension cords.

Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 456
I have one beside my desk to take out the chill.
It is fourtunately plugged directly into the wall, plus is used in the 750W mode.

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