Yea but the circuit was turned on. That was the cause. No fault to the operator or the person who stored the junk. It's the breaker's fault. It should have known better than to let itself be turned on.
The people who write headlines seem to never actually read the story. I also question a lot of these "electrical" fire reports. You know this one was reported as electrical, not stupidity. That skews the statistics and allows groups like NFPA to justify dumb stuff like the AFCI requirement.
$ 3.5 mil in damages added into the running totals of 'electrical fires'. I question the fire reports that I see that are 'electrical', of which 99 to 100% are 'stupidity' that no AFCI/GFCI/TR/WR would prevent. Next code cycle, perhaps we may have a mandated "SFCI".
Along this same line I remember an editorial in EC&M back in the 70's complaining about poor fire cause attribution. It cited a report where the fire investigator said that the source of the fire could not be determined since the building did not have electrical service.
Tinkerer, I was on scene the morning after a fatal fire in a hotel room. My job was to 'make safe' the electrical.
This fire had been so intense that the couplings had melted off the EMT. Still, the point of origen was fairly clear; there was little left of the bed but the metal parts of the box springs. Chalk one up to smoking in bed.
This all aside, the adjuster from the insurance company was just determined to attribute the fire to 'electrical.' This was despite the scene having already been dissected by the crime-scene folks (there had also been some indication there might have been foul play).
I am another one who thinks "electrical" is a quick way out without actually finding the cause of a fire. Unless they can actually tell me some story that makes sense they are just throwing a wild guess out there that nobody will dispute. The more fires that get attributed to some nebulous "electrical" cause, the more plausible it becomes. The down side of that laziness is how easy it was to justify things like the AFCI requirement.