Appliance on Fire

Problem Flames or smoke are coming from appliance.

Background: If an appliance doesn’t work correctly, or if it gives even the slightest shock, disconnect it and get it repaired. Insulation makes appliance cords safe. Replace cords that are worn, broken, or brittle from age or overheating because they can cause a dangerous short circuit and fire. Avoid connecting several appliances through an extension cord, or using octopus-type (multiple outlet) plugs. Run cords in safe, out-of-the-way places.

What to do: If you discover a fire in any appliance, unplug it if possible, or turn off the power at the appliance’s circuit breaker. Call the fire department and explain that there is an electrical fire, and alert anyone else in the home. Don’t put water on the flame; use a fire extinguisher recommended for electrical fires (see below).

Special advice: Only fire extinguishers rated for class C fires and marked with the letter “C” should be used in and around live electrical equipment such as appliances, radios, and TV sets. (Class A fires are those fueled by wood, fabric, paper, rubber, and most plastics; class B fires are fueled by flammable liquids such as oil, gasoline, paint, or grease.) Two kinds of dry-chemical extinguishers are offered for home use: one rated “Multipurpose A:B:C,” which uses monoammonium phosphate against all three classes of fires, and another which uses sodium bicarbonate against class B and class C fires.

Helpful hint: Good locations for fire extinguishers include: the corridor near the door of a bedroom; the end wall cabinet next to a kitchen door; in the hall near the living room; by the tool rack near a shop exit; and the wall close to the doors of either a garage or boat house.