The cause of a fatal fire in the 2200 block of Haff in Sterling Heights on Feb. 27 has been determined to be electrical in origin.
A space heater connected to a small gauge ungrounded extension cord plugged into an unprotected four-way wall tap caused high resistance heating that ignited and resulted in a fast moving fire. At the scene, firefighters searched and quickly found an occupant reported by a family member to be in room where the fire originated. Unfortunately, the occupant had already perished. One other occupant was taken to Beaumont Troy to be treated for undisclosed injuries.
“The fire was ruled accidental, but it serves as an important reminder to use properly grounded and maintained electrical equipment in your home,” said Assistant Fire Chief Ed Miller. “We urge residents to remember to always plug space heaters directly into an outlet and leave them at least three feet away from anything combustible. Also, never use extension cords, wall taps or power strips because they aren’t rated for such use.”
The Sterling Heights Fire Department is committed to the preservation of life and property and recommends residents employ the following safety tips:
- Portable electric heaters should be plugged directly into the wall outlet and are not intended to run for long periods of time.
- Use correctly sized and grounded extension cords in the home and do not cover them with furnishing, carpets, blankets or any material. This retains heat and provides an ignition source.
- Check your smoke alarms. Fires grow faster than ever with synthetic fibers and materials found in homes. The sooner you have a warning, the more time you have to safely exit the home.
- Have an exit plan and a designated meeting place outside the home. Know how to contact the fire department.
For more information, please contact Assistant Fire Chief Edwin Miller at (586) 446-2991 or firstname.lastname@example.org.