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WICHITA, Kansas – This summer, Wichita has seen its share of tragic house fires. Wednesday night claimed the life of its forth victim, 18-month-old Austyn Scott.
“Young child was located on the couch, and we determined the fire actually originated on the opposite end of the couch,” said Captain Stu Bevis of the Wichita Fire Department.
Fire experts believe the South Everett house fire was a tragedy that may have been avoided. It highlights the dangers that can come when electrical outlets and wiring are tampered with.
“The cord was actually spliced in one location, plugged into a power strip, and then also utilizing an extension cord,” said Bevis.
Larry Foulk of ACE Hardware says that kind of wiring, is a major no no especially when it come to major appliances that are specially designed to purposely plug directly into the wall.
“Tape, wire nuts, just twisted together; I’ve seen everything done and it’s scary,” said Foulk. “I’m not recommending this to anybody to do it.I see stuff like this done to extension cords all the time and an event where somebody has a cord underneath something and somebody tugs on it, it can come apart just that easy.”
In this case the extension cord failed, causing it to over heat, ultimately catching fire the sofa where little Austyn slept.
With unfortunate cases like this, professionals suggest following the rules according:
- Plug all major appliances straight into the wall, one at a time.
- Keep furniture, rugs, clothing, etc off and away from electrical outlets and cords.
- Watch out for tangled and bundled cords.
- Never splice a cord
The best advice is if you have a need for more outlets, have an electrician install them. Simply rules that when broken, can lead to tragic results.