Fire Officials Warn Of Dangers Related To Improper Extension Cord Usage During Holiday Season

Acting Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey

HYANNIS – Fire Officials are spreading awareness of the risks presented by extension cords and urging residents to use caution when handling them following a fire that originated from extension cords powering a Christmas decoration.

The fire took place at a Westford restaurant when a pair of connected extension cords being used to power Christmas lights, one of which had exposed wires crudely wrapped in duct tape, were ran under a door and exposed to continuous friction.

“Extension cords can be convenient, but they should always be used safely,” said Westford Fire Chief Joseph Targ. “Check your extension cord before use and discard it if the insulation is cracked, worn, or replaced. Replacing the cord is much less expensive than replacing all the items that can burn inn a fire.”

Although nobody was injured, Warg and Fire Marshall Peter J. Ostroskey warn that similar situations could have disastrous consequences as an electrical fire indoors such as near a Christmas tree can quickly spread.

Fire Marshall Ostroskey also encouraged residents to use caution with all wires and heating appliances, and to ensure that all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working and up to date.

“Plugging one extension cord into another can overload and overheat it, creating a fire hazard, so use a longer cord instead,” said Ostroskey.

“If you’re using an extension cord outdoors, be sure it’s listed by a qualified testing organization like UL and marked for outdoor use. And be sure to use a cord that’s rated for the wattage of whatever you’re powering. Appliances like space heaters should be plugged directly into a wall socket that can handle the current, not an extension cord,” he said.

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By, Matthew Tomlinson, NewsCenter

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