Portland Fire Investigators have determined the cause of three residential fires that have occurred in the last week to be related to electrical problems.
Each year in the U.S., electrical problems cause 68,000 home fires and 500 deaths. A fire caused by a faulty electrical system or electrical issue can destroy a home and everything in it within minutes. Therefore, PF&R urges citizens to exercise caution when doing home remodeling work – especially when placing fasteners or nails near electrical wiring – and to consider having your home's electrical system inspected by a qualified professional when buying, selling, or renovating a home.
On October 20th, firefighters responded to reports of a residential fire at 8365 NE Thompson Street. Fire Investigators determined that the cause of the fire was due to a staple that was stapled too tightly against a Romex electrical wire, which caused it to overheat and catch on fire. Damage to the home is estimated at $25,000.
On October 22nd, firefighters responded to reports of a residential fire at 4647 SE 97th Avenue. The cause of this fire was determined to be from a nail that was driven through electrical conduit, which caused electrical arcing and the resulting fire. Damage is estimated at $5,000.
On October 24th, firefighters responded to reports of a residential fire in a vacant two-story house at 855 NE Rosa Parks Way. A Fire Investigator determined that the fire started near the electrical panel. Damage is estimated at $30,000.
Portland Fire & Rescue reminds homeowners:
• Not to overload extension cords or wall sockets
• To replace worn, old, or damaged electrical cords right away
• To call a licensed electrician if you have a burning smell coming from appliances, notice warm outlets or wall switches, have flickering lights, or see sparks coming from an outlet
• That a residential electrical permit is needed from the City of Portland's Bureau of Development Services to:
o Install, change or repair any hard-wired electrical system o Run additional wiring
o Put in an additional electrical outlet or light fixture
o Change your fuse box to circuit breakers o Install or alter low voltage systems such as security alarms, stereo, computer, or phone systems
o For additional information on permits needed, or to apply for permits related to your home's electrical system online or at the Development Services Center, visit www.portlandonline.com/bds/res/electricalpermits, or call Residential Electrical Inspections at (503) 823-4735.