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.
Peter, 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. Don
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.
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.”
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.
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".