(WGGB/WSHM) - Investigators say it was an electrical cord that short-circuited, causing a deadly fire in Pittsfield yesterday.

As the temperatures continue to drop towards freezing this weekend, it's a reminder to be careful when plugging things into an outlet for heating.

Fire prevention officials are stressing the importance of fire safety.

"It was an extension cord that was plugged into a power strip that was plugged into an old outlet," Pittsfield Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski tells us.

That's what Chief Czerwinski says is to blame for a fire in the city that killed an elderly couple yesterday.

Besides the dangers of old, electrical outlets, fire officials around the Pioneer Valley are asking people to please be careful when keeping warm, especially if you're using something like a space heater this weekend and with temperatures expected to drop significantly.

"A big thing with space heaters is," said Community Risk Reduction Coordinator Lt. Katie Collins-Kalbaugh. "You never want to plug them into something like a power strip. You want to plug them directly into a wall outlet."

Lt. Collins-Kalbaugh of the Chicopee Fire Department tells Western Mass News space heaters aren't usually the number one cause of fires, but they usually are the deadliest, because people are sleeping.

"You should never leave it unattended," continued Lt. Collins-Halbaugh. "If you're going to get up and leave the room, you want to turn it off and unplug it. If you leave it unattended, it can overheat and cause a fire."

It may sound like common sense, but Lt. Collins-Kalbaugh says to always read the manual before plugging something in.

It could help save lives.

"You don't want to plug something in where it can create heat, and," says Lt. Collins-Halbaugh. "Actually cause a fire with the extension cord or with whatever you're using. Always read the manufacturer's instructions."

She says if you have any concerns, you can always call a licensed electrician.

"Any time you're concerned that you're experiencing an emergency with your heating equipment," stated Lt. Collin-Kalbaugh. "Get out of the house, call 911, and let the professionals deal with it, so we can always come out and see what the problem is and then recommend who you should call."

It's also a good idea to check your smoke detectors to make sure they're working.

Fire officials say you should check them monthly.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.


Content Producer

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.