Saturday fire prompts warning from fire chief on proper outlet use

Using lower amp extension cords between high amp devices can result in fires.

Worthington Fire Department truck, winter 2022.
Worthington Fire Department truck, winter 2022.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

WORTHINGTON — The Worthington Fire Department responded to a call in the 1200 block of Eighth Avenue on Saturday, after receiving reports of smoke in the ceiling. Worthington Fire Chief Pat Shorter identified the cause of the fire as an overloaded outlet.

The result was a small electrical fire, and though an electrician was contacted to make repairs, the residence is still occupiable. While the damage was minimal in this incident and no one was harmed, Shorter warned that isn’t always the case, and the fire department has received many calls similar to this one.

“Make sure that your outlets and extension cords or power strips are rated for what your intended use is,” Shorter cautioned.

One problem the fire department tends to see is people running lower amp extension cords to power strips. Breakers in most modern households tend to be set at 15 or 20 amps, and using two-prong extension cords — usually designed for between five and seven amps — between items like overloaded power strips and space heaters can cause the wire to overheat and start a fire.

“You can have a small or big fire depending on what the situation is,” Shorter said. “If someone’s home, usually you get lucky and catch it early. Not home, we have a full house fire to take care of.”

Emma McNamee joined The Globe team in October 2021 as a reporter covering Crime & Courts, Politics, and the City beats. Born and raised in Duluth, Minn., McNamee left her hometown to attend school in Chicago at Columbia College. She graduated in 2021 with a degree in Multimedia Journalism, with a concentration in News & Feature Writing and a minor in Creative Writing.
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If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of no more than five years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both for each of the charges against him.
If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment, a $10,000 fine, or both.
For incidents reported Jan. 22 through the early morning of Jan. 27.