Wainfleet fire chief cautions proper use of space heaters after another fire

Wainfleet fire chief cautions proper use of space heaters after another fire
By Laura Barton
Welland Tribune
Link to article: Wainfleet fire chief cautions proper use of space heaters after another fire

An overheated extension cord attached to a portable heater is being blamed for another fire in Wainfleet on Friday.

Crews were called out to 43045 Highway 3 just after 2 p.m. for reports of a structure fire. This is the third fire the department and its mutual aid partners have faced in below-zero temperatures this week.

Interim fire Chief Lee Smith said in an email the home’s two residents were at home when the fire started, but made it out of the building unharmed.

The fire began in and was contained to the home’s attached sunroom, but did burn the ceiling structure. Because of that, the main portion of the house was at risk.

Smith said crews made a fast attack and quickly brought the fire under control.

A fire that destroyed a Moore Road residence on Thursday is suspected to have also been started by an extension cord plugged into a portable heater, however, that home had too much damage to be certain about the cause.

Because of these two fires, Smith is cautioning residents about proper use of portable heaters of any kind.

He said these kinds of heaters should be plugged directly into outlets and monitored because of how much current they draw to function. Temporary wiring, such as extension cords, are at risk of overheating when attached to a portable heater.

Smith also reminds residents to have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

Apart from those two fires, on Boxing Day a fire also ripped through an unoccupied home on Misener Road that was being used for storage. Due to the extent of the damage on that home, the exact cause of the fire is unknown, although Smith did note the building had working hydro at the time.

None of the three fires have been deemed suspicious.

Smith said responding to these three back-to-back fires, especially in such cold temperatures, has taken its toll on Wainfleet and mutual aid crews.

Mutual aid has been called in on all three occasions to have a consistent flow of water and to allow firefighters to rotate attack times and take time to warm up and recuperate while on scene. Mutual aid has come from Port Colborne, Halimand County and Pelham fire departments.

Smith said safety has been at the forefront of the firefighters’ agenda on scene in the challenging weather conditions and environments created by those conditions.

Mutual aid responders, police, EMS and Wainfleet’s staff have made all the difference is ensuring these fires were dealt with safely, he said.

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