Extension Cords: Leading cause for electrical fires

After a recent apartment fire in Shawnee, Kan., fire investigators determined that an extension cord causedthe blaze. According to the Kansas City Fire Department extension cords are one of the leading causes of house fires across the United States.

KCFD Captain James Garrett said extension cords should only be temporary use, such as pulling it into a portable fan or a drill.

 "If you're using extension cords for air conditioning or something like that the best advice I can give you is stop. Stop using extension cords and get those fans window units in a place where they can be plugged directly into the unit."

Garrett said the extension cords can overload the circuit and then catch fire. Electrical fires claim the lives of about 280 Americans each year and injure about 1000 other people, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

A fire broke out in the 12000 block of West 51 st Street in Shawnee, Kan., Friday May, 10, 2013. The fire did close to $200,000 in damage and left more than 6 people displaced. On average, electrical fires cause about one billion dollars in damage to homes across the nation.

The Kansas City Fire Department recommends that you routinely check your electrical appliance and wiring replace worn or damaged cords and avoid putting cords when they can be damaged or pinched by furniture under rugs carpets or across doorway.

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