Power strip fire: 7 people displaced after power strip plugged into another causes apartment fire

Posted at 8:24 AM, Nov 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-23 17:50:16-05

NORFOLK, Va. - Norfolk Fire-Rescue was dispatched to an apartment fire in Norfolk early Tuesday morning.

Fire control received the call at 5:34 a.m., and crews were sent to an apartment building located at 7715 Restmere Road.

Officials on the scene told News 3 that the fire was caused by one power strip plugged into another power strip overheating underneath a bed.

Norfolk Fire Department Battalion Chief Stephanie A. Ramsey says this is one of the most common causes of electrical fires, a type of fire they see skyrocket during the colder months.

Live trees are another major cause of fires throughout the holiday season. Chief Ramsey suggests keeping trees at least 18 inches from the ceiling and making sure it's watered.

"Water your tree regularly," she said. "We don't realize that when we add heating sources like space heaters, it makes the air even dryer; it dries the trees up even more. And then if we don't water them and we have electric sources around them, it doesn't take much for them to start on fire. And it's the perfect route for fire to travel from the floor to the ceiling and then extend on to the overhead or the second floor."

Chief Ramsey also suggests throwing away any holiday lights that are more than a few years old and unplugging all lights, electrical candles and space heaters before bed.

"This time of year, oftentimes we see lights, candles, electrical candles plugged in throughout the night because it is holiday decorating time," Ramsey explained. "Typically, there will be occupants that are sleeping; they may not have working smoke detectors; the smoke goes right to the ceiling first, and then they don't wake up until it's too late, and then they just don't wake up."

Tuesday's fire was under control by 6:14 a.m., and the incident is being considered accidental as the power strips overheated and caught fire on their own.

The fire started in one of the lower apartment units then went on to spread upwards. Only two apartments have been affected by the fire.

No injuries have been reported, but seven people have been displaced.

Officials say the Red Cross is assisting the displaced occupants.