HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Honolulu Fire Department reported more than a dozen building fires related to electrical issues this year alone.
A fire inspector is now calling on residents to do what they can to prevent fires inside their homes.
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Honolulu Fire Inspector Carl Otsuka said electrical fires are the third most common type of fire behind cooking and smoking. HFD has responded to 16 building fires related to electrical issues this year so far, and 89 incidents involving electrical wiring or equipment problems.
Otsuka said Sunday’s apartment blaze near the University of Hawaii at Manoa was accidental from an electrical arc or spark in a bedroom.
Otsuka said, “The arc occurred and caught some of the doggy bags toys and clothes on fire.”
Otsuka said preventing a home electrical fire could be as simple as taking a lap inside your home.
Otsuka said, “In the kitchen, all of your small appliances, toaster ovens, even blenders small appliances, small refrigerators make sure they are all plugged in into the wall.”
Then in the living room, homeowners should make sure electronics are on a power strip with a surge protector, and that no electrical cords are covered, stepped on or under furniture.
“People put chairs on them or couches or the cat chews on it and when that is exposed that copper will arc from one line to the other and that’s a parallel arc,” E I Electrical Inc Owner David Eastman said. “If it’s sitting on a rug or next to drapery it will cause a fire.”
Eastman said professionals should be called in whenever there are electrical issues that need addressing, but even simple habit changes could prevent a tragedy.
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Otsuka said, “Plug in their phone, throw it on your bed, when you do that, that heating or if there is an arc it will burn your bed.”