Plug-In Air Freshener Causes N.C. Fire

BESSEMER CITY, N.C. --  A plug-in air freshener is to blame for a Bessemer City fire that killed a dozen pets, investigators said.

The blaze on Chestnut Wood Road early Wednesday took the lives of four dogs, four cats, a snake and an iguana. Firefighters were able to revive one of the family’s dogs and it survived.

“Everybody look at what you have in your house,” said Gastonia's Assistant Fire Marshal Billy Glover.

He said air fresheners that may seem harmless can turn out to be very dangerous.

“This is the second one that I have investigated this week,” Glover said.

He said the problem is that plug-ins use heat to spread the smell, and if it gets hot enough, the plastic will melt.

“And then it gets the air to it and it bursts into flames,” he said.

Glover said that is exactly what happened at the Bessemer City home. He said the plug-ins are safe to use sparingly, but check them often to make sure they don't overheat.

He also suggests residents not keep flammable material near or under them.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said it’s rarely the case that a small plug-in device, like an air freshener or a night light, sparks a fire. It said most such fires are caused by faulty wiring in the house.

One way to protect yourself is to look for the Underwriters Laboratories symbol on the product. It’s the UL logo seen on most electrical appliances.

Bessemer City Fire Caused By Plug-In Kills A Dozen Pets


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