It was May of 2005, just months after I purchased my first home, that I learned first-hand just how devastating a fire can be. I was 23 years old and just two years out of college. I thought I knew enough about heating and electrical hazards from the vigorous training I received at my company. I was wrong.
I had just gotten home from a long day of work. I went to turn on the TV and nothing happened. I noticed that nothing in the living room was working, so I went to the basement and found the circuit breaker had tripped. Not thinking much of it, I flipped it back on. That’s when I heard it: a zap-type sound coming from the living room. I will never forget that sound. I quickly ran up the basement steps and saw smoke coming out of an outlet at the front of my home. I threw open the front door and saw the entire front of my house had caught fire. I quickly grabbed my phone, my dog, and my cat and ran outside.
The fire investigation team found the cause of the fire was faulty wiring left behind by the previous owner. While I wasn’t aware of it, there used to be a chimney for a woodstove or fireplace at the front of the home. The chimney was removed, but instead of feeding the wire through the new 2×4, it was simply sandwiched between the 2×4 and the interior drywall. The friction caused the wire to heat up and this caused the circuit breaker to trip. When I flipped the circuit breaker, all the money and effort I had put into my new home literally went up in flames.
I was devastated, but I am not the first nor will I be the last to have this happen to them. The sad part is this could have been prevented. The previous owner should have hired a licensed electrician to do the electrical work, and I should have called an electrician when I saw the circuit breaker had tripped. While I can’t speak for the previous owner (I wonder if they saw their prior residence on fire on the news that night as I watched from my hotel room), I know I’ve learned my lesson. There are many possible causes of fire but there are also many steps you can take to prevent one. Watch our video to learn more!