Fire officials urge caution with extension cords, power strips
Malden Fire Chief William P. Sullivan and State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey said that the three-alarm fire on John Street on the night of December 26 started with the unsafe use of an extension cord. Two Malden firefighters were hospitalized for injuries that were not life-threatening, and nine people were displaced from the multifamily residence.
“We’re extremely relieved that the two injured firefighters are recovering and that none of the residents were hurt or worse,” said Chief Sullivan. “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. 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.”
“Electrical fires are the second-leading cause of fire fatalities in Massachusetts, including nine deaths last year,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey. “Many of these fires start with extension cords and power strips that are damaged, overloaded, or improperly used. 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 Malden Fire Department responded to the area of 24-26 John St. shortly after 8:30 p.m. on December 26 and observed smoke and flames on arrival. A second alarm was struck, followed soon by a third. The fire was concentrated on the upper floors, where the two injured firefighters were battling the blaze.
The circumstances of the fire were investigated by the Malden Fire Department and State Police Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit assigned to the State Fire Marshal’s office. Mutual aid companies from Everett, Lynn, Medford, Melrose, Revere, Saugus and Somerville responded to assist at the scene, along with Boston Sparks A-10, Cataldo Ambulance and The Salvation Army. The Red Cross is supporting the displaced residents.