Lithium-Ion Battery Charging Device Left on Bed in Waiehu Home Fire
An evening fire at a Waiehu home caused an estimated $400,000 in damage and displaced six residents, according to Maui fire officials.
The fire was reported at 10:17 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016 at a one-story home on Alakai Street, about a tenth of a mile west of Lower Waiehu Beach Road.
Department officials say an occupant of the home reported that 30 minutes prior, they began charging a Lithium-ion battery in a USB charging device that was plugged into an electrical outlet. The charging device and battery was left on the bed.
“The rechargeable Lithium-ion battery involved was a stand alone 3.7 volt, 2200mAh battery, much like a AA sized battery. The battery is inserted into a charging block which uses a USB type cord that goes to a regular 110V electrical wall outlet,” Maui Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto explained. “After the battery is done charging, it’s removed and placed back into the device that uses the battery. In this case, the same rechargeable battery is used to power the owner’s headlamp type flashlight and an e-cigarette.”
Fire investigators say they know that the fire started in the bedroom, but were unable to determine the exact cause.
Wailuku firefighters arrived on scene at 10:27 p.m., finding a working fire with flames coming from windows on the left side of the home. Crews had the fire knocked down at around 10:47 p.m. and extinguished at 1:24 a.m.
The residents were at home and detected a smoke odor somewhere within the house. When they opened a bedroom door, they found the bed on fire and evacuated the home. Everyone got out safely and no injuries were reported.
MFS Chief Taomoto said the department would like to educate the public that if a fire is discovered in a room of the home, they should quickly shut the door to the room before exiting the structure, if there is time to safely do so.
“By closing the door, you effectively contain the fire to the room of origin and restrict the spread of heat, smoke and flames from the rest of the home,” said MFS Chief Taomoto. “In this incident, the door to the bedroom was left open, which allowed the fire to spread down the hall and to other areas of the home,” he said.
Sixteen firefighters and a battalion chief from Wailuku, Kahului, and Wailea responded to the incident.
In all, three adults and three children who live in the home were displaced. The Red Cross is assisting those affected. Initially, organization representatives said they were assisting eight people.
Total damages included: $300,000 in damages to the structure and $100,000 to the contents.