The Houston Fire Department was dispatched to a house fire in the 8100 block of Ithaca in southeast Houston about 12 p.m. , Monday, January 2, 2011. Firefighters arrived within five minutes and found fire and smoke coming from the second floor of the home. Approximately 30 firefighters responded to the incident which was tapped out about 12:30 p.m.
The fire appeared to be caused by old style wiring in the void space between the first and second floor. The damage, estimated at $65 thousand, was contained to the majority of the second floor with some fire, smoke and water damage to the first floor. There were no reported injuries.
The second leading cause of structure fires in the City of Houston is due to electrical issues; this includes overloading electrical outlets, frayed wires and malfunctions. Most of these can be prevented by following some simple safety tips provided by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
Safety tips from the NFPA
- Always have a working smoke detector.
- Replace or repair damaged or loose electrical cords.
- Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets.
- In homes with small children, make sure your home has tamper-resistant (TR) receptacles.
- Consider having additional circuits or outlets added by a qualified electrician so you do not have to use extension cords.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions for plugging an appliance into a receptacle outlet.
- Avoid overloading outlets. Plug only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time.
- If outlets or switches feel warm, frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuits, or flickering or dimming lights, call a qualified electrician.
- Place lamps on level surfaces, away from things that can burn and use bulbs that match the lamp's recommended wattage.
- Make sure your home has ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in the kitchen bathroom(s), laundry, basement, and outdoor areas.
- Arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) should be installed in your home to protect electrical outlets.