Space Heater Being Used on Overloaded Power Strip Led to Columbia (SC) Fire

Fire hydrant

Noah Feit

The State (Columbia, S.C.)


The cause of a recent house fire that left four people without their home was determined, the Columbia Fire Department said.

The Nov. 24 morning blaze at a home in the 1500 block of Colleton Street was caused by an overloaded surge protector, the fire department said Wednesday. That’s between North Main Street and Farrow Road, less than three miles from Prisma Health Richland hospital.

No injuries were reported in the fire.

The American Red Cross said it’s helping the family by providing financial assistance for food, clothing, lodging, other essentials, and comfort kits containing personal hygiene items.

A space heater was also plugged into the crowded power strip, and was likely involved with the fire, according to the fire department.

Space heaters are the equipment most often involved in home heating fires, according to the South Carolina Emergency Management Division.

Extension cords and power strips should never be used when powering space heaters, as all heat-producing appliances should be only be plugged directly into wall outlets, and just one at a time, Emergency Management Division officials said.

Heating is the second-leading cause of home fires, deaths and injuries in the U.S., and there are about 45,000 home electrical fires every year, according to the Emergency Management Division.

November through March are the peak months for deaths caused by electrical fires, which most commonly occur between midnight and 8 a.m., Emergency Management Division officials said.

The Colleton Street house fire happened the same morning as a blaze at the Graham-Sleepmaster Mattress Manufacturer near the intersection of Two Notch Road and North Beltline Boulevard in Columbia.

It took hours to extinguish that fire, and its cause is being investigated by the Richland County Fire Marshal.

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