Friday, December 1, 2023

[UPDATE: Knocked Down]Crews Respond to Early Morning Electrical Fire in Ukiah

[Stock photo by Matt LaFever]

Initial reports of a multi-family residential structure fire proved an electrical fire early this morning on Ukiah’s Henderson Lane.

The Incident Commander reported the lines were still active as of 6:06 a.m. and burning in the walls of what was described as a trailer. He requested the City of Ukiah’s electric personnel shut down the lines.

Scanner traffic beginning around 5:50 a.m. indicated dispatch had received reports of a structure fire in a unit on the 100 block of Henderson Lane.

Ukiah Police officers were able to quickly deploy to the scene and found that all the occupants of the home had evacuated and the fire seemed to be electrical in nature and isolated to the roof/attic area.

The officer at the scene recommended firefighters proceed to ensure the fire did not spread to other units.

UPDATE 6:15 a.m.: The Incident Commander reports the fire has been knocked down. Firefighters will be removing wall paneling to investigate the fire. Electrical personnel is still working to shut off power to the area.

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Please remember that this story is unfolding. Information is being reported as we gather it. However, some of the information coming from witnesses and initial official reports could be wrong. We will do our best to get the facts but, in the case that something is inaccurate, we will update with correct information as soon as we can.

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  1. When using a heater, always feel the plug now and then to be sure it’s cool. If the plug feels warm or hot, turn the heater down immediately to medium. Old wiring in the wall can overheat and start a fire behind the socket, io the wall. Never sleep with a heater set o High . (unless you feel the plug now and then to0make sure it’s cool. Sleep on ‘Medium’) Old wiring in a house, can kill…

  2. Thank you R for that life saving tip! I didn’t know that. But a fire is a horrific way to die.

    A lot of fires happen during the holidays and lives are lost due to that.

    Please check the batteries in your smoke detector alarms.

    Sometimes fire departments give away free alarms anyone in need.

    Have a happy & safe holiday.

  3. I hope the families who were affected by that fire didn’t lose all their possessions, the holiday season is stressful enough for many without losing everything.

    And as a semi retired electrician who has just by lucky chance, noticed and extinguished two small electrical fires at clients houses, I’d like to add to R’s valuable comments.

    Many plug-in space heaters when turned up to High will have a warm plug or cord, this is definitely not a safe condition.

    When the cord is warm, the plastic insulation becomes very soft, so any pressure or impact could breach it and cause a short circuit and fire.

    That’s why one should never lay an extension cord under a rug or carpet, just stepping on it enough times when it’s warm and soft could cause a fire or even electrocution.

    Over the decades I’ve seen several plug-in space heaters with Melted Wires and Plugs, but thankfully, the owners unplugged them before it started a fire or short circuited and tripped the circuit breaker.

    Even a short circuit can cause a fire within seconds due to the electrical arcing, and I believe the 2019 Chapel of the Sea fire in Fort Bragg was due to a short circuit in an outlet.

    Also, if you have any wall switches that when turned on, make a low volume arcing sound, or if the light takes a second or two to light up, please replace it right away.

    And when checking your wall switches, any of the toggles that feel loose or worn out (compare to to others in the structure) should be replaced.

    Lastly, do check your electrical outlets for any that are loose, broken, burned, melted, or the plug falls out of, replace them straight away.

    Feel them with the back of your hand (more sensitive to heat), especially when when appliances are turned on, and if they are warm, there is a problem and an electrician should investigate.

    Sorry to go off on this but a house of an acquaintance near me in FB burned up due to an old circuit breaker panel (as reported here in Mendo Fever).

    I preformed an electrical inspection there and advised the renter to call the landlord immediately and have the whole meter/circuit breaker panel replaced as it was extremely hazardous.

    Apparently, the home owner ignored that warning and the tenant barely made it out of the house because the fire started so fast, and they lost all their possessions, it was very sad to see.

    So, please folks, do pay attention to your electrical devices and appliances, an electrical fire can start very fast and make one homeless in minutes, or even kill them as they sleep.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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