Unusual – But Real – Ways a House Fire Can Start

puppy and candle

A lot of written about how to avoid a house fire and what to do when one occurs. But sometimes fires can start in ways that we may not even think about, and we wanted to share some of these stories with you so you can do what you can to avoid them. 


We love the scent and ambiance of candles in our home, but they can be dangerous if not carefully placed and watched. House fires have been known to start when a lit candle is knocked over by children or pets running in the house, or even a Roomba running into the leg of the table on which they are placed. 


Fires started by ovens and clothes dryers are well documents, but other appliances can start them too. In fact, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 500 house fires are started by faulty dishwashers every year. In most cases, liquid dripping out of its proper compartment and coating the dishwasher’s wires is the culprit. 

Glass Objects

Believe it or not, a house fire in London was started by an empty jar of Nutella left on a windowsill. When the sun shone through the window, it was refracted by the jar, started a fire and ignited the curtains. Yes, sunlight being refracted through glass objects, including wind chimes, doorknobs, and a crystal ball, has been known to start other fires. It is rare since the light has to hit at a precise angle, but if you are planning to decorate with glass ornaments, you might want to place them in the shade. 


While few and far between, 9-volt batteries have been known to spark when stored or disposed of next to a piece of metal that connects the positive and negative posts. If this occurs next to something flammable, it can start a fire. This is easy to avoid by storing 9-volts in their packaging and away from metal objects. 

Overloaded Power Boards

More than 5,300 house fires are started every year due to overloaded power outlets. Never “piggyback” adaptors and power boards. It costs a bit more but look for power boards with overload protection which come with a fuse that cuts electricity to the board when overloaded or short circuited. 

Charging Accidents

We are always charging something, and it is easy to forget that this creates a lot of heat. When laptops, tablets and phones are placed on flammable surfaces, heat can build up quickly and lead to a fire. Remember, the air intake on a laptop is usually at the bottom of the computer and can easily get blocked on a soft surface like a bed or couch. 

Overall, be careful with electricity and open flames. Fire hazards are all over your home, so just keep in mind what you are doing and make some small adjustments to avoid a fire. 

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