Electrical malfunction cause of fatal fire on Quiet Lane Friday

Quite Lane fatal fire.jpg

COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) - The Richland County Fire Marshal's Office have ruled that a fatal fire on Quiet Lane Friday was accident.

The fire marshal's office deemed that an electrical malfunction was the cause of the fire.

According to fire investigators, improper use of extension cords for an electrical device in a small family run started the blaze.

Richland County Coroner Gary Watts identified the victim as Johnnie Mae Newton, 76, of Columbia.

Watts said Ms. Newton died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation.

Fire crews responded to a house fire call around 5pm Friday off Decker Boulevard on Quiet Lane. Crews were able to put out the flames, but during a secondary search they discovered one person had died.

The Columbia Fire Department are using this unfortunate incident to remind citizens the importance of electrical safety.

Chief Aubrey Jenkins noted that 48,000 home electrical fires occurred from 2007 to 2011.

Those fires claimed 455 lives and cause more than $1 billion in damages.

Chief Jenkins supplied these tips to prevent electrical fires:

oHave all electrical work done by a qualified electrician.

oOnly plug one heat-producing appliance (such as a coffee maker, toaster, space heater, etc.) into a receptacle outlet at a time.

oArc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) are a kind of circuit breaker that shuts off electricity when a dangerous condition occurs. Consider having them installed in your home. Use a qualified electrician.

oUse ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to reduce the risk of shock. GFCIs shut off an electrical circuit when it becomes a shock hazard. They should be installed inside the home in bathrooms, kitchens, garages and basements. All outdoor receptacles should be GFCI-protected.

oTest AFCIs and GFCIs once a month to make sure they're working properly.

oCheck electrical cords to make sure they're not running across doorways or under carpets.

oExtension cords are intended for temporary use; have a qualified electrician add more receptacle outlets so you don't overtask extension cords.

oUse light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or fixture. There should be a sticker that indicates the maximum wattage light bulb to use.

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