Fire inspectors say look out for faulty wiring

By:  Rachael Witter

It's one of the top three causes of house fires.

As a homeowner, there's a few things you can do and even just look out for to stop these kinds of fires from sparking.  Fires like the one in north Lincoln Thursday started by faulty electrical wiring, according to investigators.

Fire Inspector Damon Robbins says old or improperly installed wiring can lead to problems.

“A lot of times we'll run into wiring that is faulty. It was installed by an unlicensed electrician or a do it yourself–er, Tim the tool man type homeowner and a lot of wiring might not be up to code,” says Robbins.

The best way for homeowners to avoid potential fires is to get your wiring done by a licensed professional.  Electrical fires can spread quickly to surrounding walls and other hard–to–access areas.  These fires are especially dangerous because they spread so fast through the wiring.

“By all means do not put water on the fire yourself because water's conductive and it's an electrocution hazard for whoever's putting out the fire. That's why the fire department does de–energize the house by shutting off the circuit main.”

While most power strips are fine to use.. You do have to be careful not to overload extension cords and multi–plug adapters.. they're also culprits in these types of fires.

High wattage appliances like microwaves and TVs can start fires if not plugged directly into the wall.  Extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis, not as a permanent outlet.

“They're not designed to carry the high wattage appliances and they will overload that wire. It will overheat and ignite anything that is combustible near it.”

The fire investigator says electrical fires are more common in the winter with space heaters and electric blankets…but any electrical wiring can start a fire at any time of the year if it's faulty or old.