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Overloaded power strip blamed for Wilhelmina fire

  • courtesy of Susie Anderson

An overloaded electrical power strip started a fire that destroyed a Wilhelmina Rise house Wednesday morning, a fire department spokesman said today.

Capt. Robert Main said an investigation determined that the fire was caused by a power strip on the back enclosed lanai of the house at 3953 Koko Drive. A freezer, exercise treadmill and other items were plugged into the power strip there, Main said.

Power strips “are meant for light loads and temporary use only,” Main said. He said residents who need a long-term power source should hire a licensed electrical contractor to install additional outlets.

Residents should inspect power strips regularly and replaced them periodically, he said. “As they get older, they get more prone to wear and tear,” he said.

A woman in her 80s, Helen Choy, was hospitalized after the fire after a surveyor working nearby went into the burning house, followed the sound of her voice and carried her out. Her husband Kenneth Choy was treated and released, as was the Good Samaritan, Carl Loando of ControlPoint Surveying.

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