Extension cord sparks vehicle fire, threatens home with sleeping family

An older pickup truck on Little Boston Road was destroyed by flames Thursday that firefighters believe was started by an extension cord.

Thanks to passersby who called 911 and alerted the family sleeping inside the house, the home escaped damage.

North Kitsap Fire and Rescue and Bainbridge Island Fire Department crews were initially dispatched to Little Boston Road at 1:45 a.m. after a 911 call reported a brush fire that also involved a vehicle.

As crews made their way to the scene, 911 dispatchers got more information suggesting the fire was about to spread to the adjacent occupied home.

The duty chief upgraded the response to include additional units from NKFR, BIFD and Poulsbo Fire that would be needed to battle a full structure fire. Less than 10 minutes after dispatch, the duty chief arrived on scene and reported the vehicle to be fully engulfed in flames and headed toward the now-evacuated home.

An engine from NKFR’s Kingston station arrived three minutes later and quickly squelched the flames before the structure was damaged. Crews believe that without the passerby’s timely 911 call at an hour when most are asleep at home, the fire would have quickly spread to the home and threatened the lives of those inside.

Firefighters believe an extension cord found in the area was where the fire likely originated. Although it didn’t appear to be providing power to anything at the time of the fire, it was energized — plugged into an outlet — and the associated circuit breaker was tripped. The cord was also pinched beneath a heavy piece of equipment (a gas-powered crab pot puller) that was also destroyed in the fire. Officials believe the blaze likely started where the cord was damaged and spread by gasoline inside the pot puller.

To prevent this type of fire, firefighters said, extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis and unplugged from a power source when not in use. All electrical cords should be protected from over-insulation, being pinched or other mechanical damage.

It is unknown if the family is insured. There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians.

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