Investigators determine cause of Ivins house fire that left 1 critically injured

Firefighters battle a house fire in Ivins, Utah, Oct. 27, 2018 | File photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

IVINS A fire that destroyed an Ivins home and sent a woman to the hospital in critical condition was caused by a faulty electrical outlet located in a back bedroom, according to a Utah fire official.

“It was determined that the outlet was old and outdated, which is what started the fire that spread from the back of the structure through the entire structure,” Todd Hohbein, a state inspector and fire investigator, said Wednesday.

He added that particularly in older homes the outlets become loose. Any loose connections or faulty wiring in the outlet can cause arcing and sparking, which ignites in the outlet and the fire can spread.

Read more: Fire destroys Ivins home, leaves woman in critical condition

On Saturday, firefighters responded to the single-story home on the 220 East block of 855 South in Ivins shortly after noon to find flames coming from the rear of the home. Emergency medical personnel tended to the woman, who escaped the burning house on her own but was critically injured in the fire.

The woman was later transported from Dixie Regional Medical Center to the Lions Wound and Burn Center at University Hospital in Las Vegas, a witness told St. George News, but attempts to confirm the information were unsuccessful due to privacy restrictions.

Home electrical fires

Home electrical fires account for an estimated 51,000 fires each year, nearly than 500 deaths, more than 1,400 injuries, and are the third leading cause of all residential structure fires, according to The Electrical Safety Foundation International.

Hohbein said that any home 20 years old or older may have outdated electrical outlets.

“If you plug in a device and the plug can move around in the outlet, or if the plug falls out of the outlet that is a sign that it needs to be replaced.”

Corrosion or charring around an outlet is also an obvious sign it’s time to replace it, he said.

A circuit breaker offers no protection against loose or corroded wiring in the outlets. It will not prevent an outlet fire because it only protects against an overloaded electrical current, too many devices plugged into one outlet or a short in a device or ground faults.

A basic assessment of a home’s electrical system, including electrical cords, extension cords, power plugs and outlets should be done regularly to ensure they are working properly.

Warning signs

Any home is in danger of having an electrical fire if these signs are present:

  • Circuit breaker keeps tripping.
  • Persisting burnt smell with no identifiable source.
  • Several discolored or charred outlets and switches.
  • You have old, outdated wiring.

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