How to prevent electrical fires in your home this holiday season
SNOW HILL, Md. – On Monday, 47ABC learned more about an apparent electrical fire in Snow Hill that destroyed a one-story home.
The homeowner told 47ABC the structure was destroyed in just hours, and he said it seems an electrical malfunction was to blame, something that isn’t uncommon during the holiday season.
47 ABC met with members of Ocean City’s Fire Department on Monday to learn how you can protect your home as the nights and days get colder.
One of the biggest things they told us is to never overload your surge protector and on top of that, unplug your electronics and appliances when you’re not using them.
It’s important to take these tips seriously because if not, your home could end up like the home on East Martin Street in Snow Hill.
Elbert Davis, the homeowner said, “The kitchen is destroyed, the living room is destroyed, this is, you see, it’s in bad shape. Just about all the windows are busted out too.”
On Friday night around 10PM, Davis got a call that his home, which he was renting out to a tenant, was on fire.
Davis said, “Smoke was coming out of the front and out of the windows and thank god for the fire department right here too.”
It took firefighters hours to put out the blaze and we’re told they believe it may have been caused by a faulty wire.
Davis said, “There is a suspicion that that is what happened here at my house is an electrical fire.”
The devastating damage of this fire just goes to show how important it is to protect your home as the weather gets colder, and more electrical appliances get put into use.
Captain Josh Bunting with the Ocean City Fire Department said, “Making sure that your electrical system and your house or your home can handle the amount of lighting and plugs and extra features that you’re adding for the holidays is really critical.”
The Ocean City Fire Department told us it’s crucial to check all of your outlets and wires to make sure there is no fraying or sparking.
Captain Bunting said, “A lot of times with extension cords they’ll overuse, they’ll kind of shred the outside so we want to make sure that they’re in good shape making sure the plugs are in good shape, the blades in the plugs and then the outlets the same thing just making sure its in good working condition.”
On top of that, make sure you have no electrical appliances close to water.
Captain Bunting said, “If you don’t need your coffee pot plugged in [by the sink] actually having it plugged in in a location a little farther away from the sink is helpful.”
Perhaps the best thing you can do is ensure that you have a properly working smoke detector.
Thankfully, the Snow Hill home did have working fire alarms allowing those inside to get out safely.
Davis said, “We can get another house but we cant get another person, they’re still alive thank god for that.”
To check your smoke detector, make sure it’s up to date, check that the batteries in it are good, and test it to make sure it is working properly.
We’re told the best time to check smoke alarms is now before family comes over for the holidays.
If you don’t have a working smoke alarm, a lot of fire departments throughout the state of Maryland have programs where you can simply reach out to them to get one.
You can also buy smoke alarms at a local store near you.