Overheated extension cord sparks south Jackson house fire - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Overheated extension cord is to blame for south Jackson house fire

By Julie Straw - bio | email | twitter

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Fire investigators know what sparked a blaze that destroyed a south Jackson home the day after Christmas. 

Flames tore through the house in the 1000 block of Combs Street around 11:30 Sunday night.  Fire crews braved below freezing temperatures and prevented the blaze from spreading to neighboring homes. No one was home and Jackson fire officials have not been able to locate the family.

Winter is a dangerous time of year for house fires. According to the United States Fire Administration, in 2009 there were more than 356,000 residential fires resulting in nearly 2,500 deaths, 12,600 injuries and more than $7 billion in property loss. Space heaters were to blame for a third of all home heating fires.

"The most important thing is to ensure that nothing is surrounding it," said Jackson Fire Division Chief R.D. Simpson of space heaters. "No furniture is in front of it. No curtains near it, toys or anything like that because that's a fire hazard."

Fire investigators said a space heater was left on in the Combs Street home, but it was not what sparked the blaze. Officials believed an extension cord powering the unit became overheated.

"Using extension cords can be very dangerous because you can overload those. Whatever their load rating is you have to be familiar with that and if there's any damaged, frayed cords, exposed wire, those are all potential fire hazards," said Chief Simpson.

Managers at Revell Hardware of Jackson said if an extension cord is needed for your space heater do not go for the cheapest item. Spend a little more. Buy at least a 12 gauge cord to accommodate the heater. 

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