Misuse of extension cord caused Mass. fire that injured 2 FFs, officials say

Two unconfirmed explosions were reportedly heard, briefly trapping two crewmembers, a Malden spokesperson said

By Kiernan Dunlop

MALDEN, Mass. — A Malden fire that displaced nine people and injured two firefighters the night after Christmas was caused by the unsafe use of an extension cord, according to Malden Fire Chief William Sullivan and State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey.

On Monday at 8:30 p.m., Malden firefighters responded to a report of a structure fire located at 24 John Street. Once first responders arrived on the scene, officials spotted a heavy fire that extended into the attic.

While firefighters were dousing the flames of the three-alarm fire, two unconfirmed explosions were reportedly heard, briefly trapping two firefighters, a department spokesperson stated.

The fire was concentrated on the upper floors, which is where the firefighters were injured, according to the fire officials’ statement.

The firefighters were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

“This fire started with an indoor extension cord that was run through a window along the outside of the home, where it ignited the building’s exterior,” Sullivan said. “If you must use an extension cord outside, be sure it’s rated for outdoor use and keep it away from water, snow, and ice.”

Sullivan said the department is relieved the two injured fire fighters are recovering and that none of the residents were hurt or worse.

Electrical fires are the second-leading cause of fire fatalities in the state, causing nine deaths last year, according to Ostroskey.

“Many of these fires start with extension cords and power strips that are damaged, overloaded, or improperly used,” Ostroskey said. “Always be sure that these items are free of damage and rated for their intended use. Never connect one extension cord or power strip to another, and always plug heavy appliances like space heaters directly into a wall outlet.”

The cause and origin of the fire was determined by the Malden Fire Department and State Police Fire and Explosion Unit assigned to the State Fire Marshal’s office.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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