Local News

Surge Protectors Blamed for 2 Fayetteville Fires

Posted September 26, 2007

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— Faulty surge protectors likely sparked fires that destroyed a Fayetteville strip mall and damaged a homeless shelter this week, authorities said Wednesday.

As many as 45 antique vendors at Festival Park Place, which is commonly known as Gas House Antiques, lost their wares in a fire early Monday. The first floor of the Rowan Street building was an antique mall, while the second floor was mostly used for office space.

Numerous extension cords were plugged into a surge protector, which might have overtaxed it, authorities said. The fire was then fueled by a propane leak, authorities said.

Many of the vendors were uninsured, authorities said.

A failure in a surge protector in an upstairs bedroom at the City Rescue Mission triggered a fire Tuesday morning, authorities said.

The man who was staying in the room where the fire started suffered first- and second-degree burns and was taken to the Jaycees Burn Center at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. His condition was unknown Wednesday night.

The other 16 men staying at the mission have moved to the Salvation Army, but officials said they will have to move from there within the next few days.

The 105-year-old house, at 120 N. Cool Springs St., has been condemned, authorities said.


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  • Travised Sep 27, 2007

    True. I'm helping with grunt on interrior and the electrial was a recalled on the panel... You could be pulling 40 amps and it wouldn't trip the breaker. So needless to say we put in in a new box and system.

  • jse830fcnawa030klgmvnnaw+ Sep 26, 2007

    Agreed Travised. The building could have improper grounding, and if so, the surge protectors would not have worked correctly. When there is no ground, I have seen surge protectors melt and catch fire since the surge has no where to go. I have even seen Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPSs), which are battery backup units for computers and other high-end electronics, implode when there is no ground to dissipate the surge. If the amperage is insufficient and lots of stuff are plugged into the circuit (which can spread among multiple outlets, depending on the wiring), you can also have a meltdown and can cause fires. So the home or business electrical setup really needs to be examined by a licensed electrician to ensure it is safe.

    Higher dollar surge protectors have a ground fault indicator. If that indicator is lit, don't use the power outlet.

  • Travised Sep 26, 2007

    "Numerous extension cords were plugged into a surge protector, which might have overtaxed it"

    Yah I'd say so. Rule of thumb is you NEVER plug in extention cords into a power strip. I have 3 power strips in one room. Each one is plugged in to the wall to PREVENT fires. Only having 3 outlets in a room becomes an issue when you have a computer, television, and other electronics.

    When I had to run power out to the parking lot I grabbed my construction gauge 100 footer. How many of us have 12 gauge power cords? You need it for long runs! I'll use the 50 thats a 14gauge for shorter runs. Beats melting an 18 gauge.