Fire at apartment caused by frayed cord

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A May 27 fire at an apartment building on Edwards Way was caused by a frayed electrical cord, according to Airdrie Fire Department (AFD) Deputy Fire Chief Garth Rabel.

“An electrical cord that was part of a lamp…heated up, sparked or somehow came in contact with a couch and started the piece of furniture on fire,” he said.

Crews from the AFD and Crossfield Fire Department responded at approximately 1:55 p.m. Rabel said there was no real smoke showing when firefighters arrived and residents of the four-storey building had evacuated.

“When crews made their way into a lower level apartment, they found that there was a fire and that, thankfully, the sprinkler system did exactly what it was designed to do,” he said. “(The sprinkler system) pretty much extinguished (the fire) and our team just had to go in and make sure it was fully out, check for extension, ventilate the area and then reset everything to get people back in.”

The fire was limited to the apartment in which it began, according to Rabel. Damage to the apartment and its contents is estimated at approximately $80,000. The family has been displaced and is being looked after by the Canadian Red Cross. The other occupants of the apartment building were allowed back in after approximately two and a half hours.

Rabel said this incident offers a good opportunity to remind residents of the importance of maintaining electrical cords. It is important, he said, to keep unprotected cords out of the path of foot traffic and furniture to prevent fraying, overheating and tripping, and to never run cords under rugs as this prevents the built-up heat from being released, which could lead to a fire.

“When you pinch cords or shove them into places, they get rubbed by things put overtop of them and start to be faulty,” he said.

Crimping an extension cord can lead to a breakdown of the cord’s insulation, he added.

A total of 14 firefighters and five pieces of firefighting equipment responded to this fire, Rabel said.

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