Ways to Reduce Danger from Electrical Fires

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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. -- Electrical problems are one of the most common causes of deadly fires. It was an electric fire which claimed two lives earlier this week in Augusta County.

Nearly a month ago, charred belongings wouldn't be found anywhere in Jim Bushong's home, in Broadway, but an electric fire changed it all in a moment.

"It's pretty much devastating. I mean one minute you have a business and a home and the next couple hours you have nothing," said Bushong.

He knows first-hand the lasting impact of such a fire. It all started and ended with an old fridge. However, this type of fire isn't uncommon in Rockingham County. Last year, there were 62 accidental fires with 13 of those electrical in nature. That accounts for 21 percent of all accidental fires.

There are warning signs that can indicate a larger problem. These include a recurring problems with tripping circuit breakers, feeling a tingle when you touch an electrical appliance, discolored wall outlets and a burning smell or rubbery odor.

"We can prevent a lot of these fires. It's not the electrician that built your home most of the time that causes these fires, it's actually us, as the user, overloading the electrical system," said Joe Mullens, the Assistant Fire Marshal for Rockingham County.

For Bushong, he hopes out of his tragedy, and that of others, the community can learn and avoid becoming a victim.
He advises,"No, we wouldn't want any one to have to go through that. So, take more caution. That's all I can say."