Las Vegas Sun

April 23, 2014

Overheating refrigerator causes $80K in damage to town home

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A town home fire that began in a refrigerator Saturday night displaced a family of four and caused $80,000 damage, officials said.

The blaze broke out around 8:30 p.m. at the Sheppard Hills town homes, 1950 Simmons Street, officials said.

Las Vegas Fire and Rescue crews arrived to find heavy flames coming from a side door of the two-story building, officials said. Firefighters brought the fire under control in about 10 minutes.

Investigators ruled the blaze accidental and determined it started in the refrigerator. Authorities said two girls were inside when the smoke alarm activated and they heard firecracker-like noises coming from the refrigerator.

One girl retrieved a fire extinguisher and sprayed it on the fire, but both evacuated when the fire continued to grow, officials said.

Neighbors, meanwhile, came to the apartment and saw the flames, officials said.

The fire gutted the kitchen and caused substantial damage to the rest of the unit and attic area, officials said. The Red Cross was assisting the one adult and three children who were displaced by the fire.

Authorities said refrigerator fires generally occur in the summer when the compressor, which produces the cold air, gets extremely hot. If the compressor then comes in contact with combustible items, a fire can start, officials said.

Fire officials recommended keeping adequate ventilation around refrigerators and freezers, vacuuming nearby dust and dirt, and removing trash around the units.

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