Electrical fire prompts warning from safety leaders

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -- There is a warning today about overloading your electrical plugs and outlets in your home. A recent fire left two people without a place to stay. Now, electricians and fire leaders are urging you to pay attention, especially since many people will be using big AC units this summer.

In some cell phone video of that fire, you can see just a massive ball of flames engulfing the South Richmond home. It left the two guys living in this home scrambling for their lives, with not much than just a few blankets and the clothes on their back.

Richmond Fire investigators later determined that an air conditioner unit, along with several other things, were all plugged into one power strip -- pulling too much power out of the outlet, causing it all to overheat.

We tagged along with Brian Weber, an electrician with Michael and Son on a home inspection.
And just in one home, Brian found a few problems, including the possibility of some wires overheating.

Overheating can leave you with some serious problems down the road and potentially thousands of dollars worth of damages.

"What you are doing is overheating the wires. Once you plug in a device that's pulling more power and you're heating those wires up more than 90 degrees and you are going to start melting the insulation," says Weber.

There are some warning signs that trouble may be lurking. "Potentially you can smell the electrical outlet overheating, a breaker might trip a fuse might trip," says Weber.

But the best advice may be a whole lot easier for you.  "You should get a qualified electrician out there," says Weber.

Michael and Son, our traffic sponsor, is giving free electrical inspections during the entire month of July. You can call them at 800-948-6453.

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