DANVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — The Danville Fire Department (DFD) has determined that the January 30th house fire that occurred on the 500 block of Lewis Street was accidental.

During their investigation, fire officials learned there were several extension cords plugged into each other, including a fireplace, which caused an overload.

Fire officials say extension cords are for temporary use and should never be connected to a major appliance. They say the biggest concern with using an extension cord to power appliances is using the wrong cord which can lead to overheating, damage to the appliance, and increase the risk of a fire or electric shock.

The Electrical Safety Foundation shares a few safety tips when using an extension cord:

  • Do not overload extension cords or allow them to run through water or snow on the ground.
  • Do not substitute extension cords for permanent wiring.
  • Do not run through walls, doorways, ceilings, or floors. If the cord is covered, heat cannot escape, which may result in a fire hazard.
  • Do not use an extension cord for more than one appliance.
  • Multiple plug outlets must be plugged directly into mounted electrical receptacles; they cannot be chained together.
  • Make sure the extension cord or temporary power strip you use is rated for the products to be plugged in, and is marked for either indoor or outdoor use.
  • The appliance or tool that you are using the cord with will have a wattage rating on it. Match this up with your extension cord, and do not use a cord that has a lower rating.
  • Never use a cord that feels hot or is damaged in any way. Touching even a single exposed strand can give you an electric shock or burn.
  • Never use three-prong plugs with outlets that only have two slots for the plug. Do not cut off the ground pin to force a fit. This defeats the purpose of a three-prong plug and could lead to an electrical shock. Never force a plug into an outlet if it doesn’t fit.
  • Buy only cords approved by an independent testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Intertek (ETL), or Canadian Standards Association (CSA).

DFD says no matter if you are using an air conditioner or space heart, always practice fire safety when using appliances.