Firefighters warn about electrical fires during holidays and cold weather

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CLEVELAND – As the weather turns colder and the holiday season is upon us, there’s a warning from Cleveland firefighters. They say they are responding to an increased number of electrical fires.

Cleveland firefighters took photos of the aftermath of a fire inside a home on Linn Drive in the city’s Glenville neighborhood Wednesday morning. One woman was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation.

Investigators believe the fire was started by a faulty cord from a space heater.

“It looked like it had caught the contents of the bedroom on fire, the majority of these electrical fires are in the bedrooms, a lot of them can be related to overloading outlets, you never want to put more than one heat producer appliance into an outlet,” said Mike Norman, public information officer for the Cleveland Division of Fire.

Norman says those appliances could include such things as a coffee maker or toaster. But he says this time of year, unattended space heaters and improperly used extension cords are the main culprits.

“Extension cords are temporary, they’re not supposed to be permanent, you want to make sure your extension cord is not running underneath the carpet or across a doorway where it’s gonna get worn out or damaged,” Norman said.

He says also remember to keep space heaters away from flammable items like curtains and bed covers.

“People will have their space heater plugged in, they’ll forget about it, it will cycle off, it’ll turn off when the temperature comes up and then when the temperature drops back down, it’ll turn back on, and if the bed covers have been thrown against it or something, it can be a cause for a fire,” he said.

Norman reminds people to have working smoke alarms and regularly water live Christmas trees. Also, inspect those Christmas lights when you pull them back out of the box.

“As the holidays approach, people get their extension cords out, they’re plugging in their Christmas tree and so forth so, we just want to make sure people are aware to be careful as they’re getting ready for the holidays and as they’re trying to stay warm this winter,” he said.

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