Family: 8-year-old injured in Tampa fire has died

Firefighters blame overloaded power strip

TAMPA, Fla. -
An 8-year-old boy injured in a Tampa house fire has died.
Romello Jackson had been under observation Wednesday at Tampa General Hospital. A Tampa police spokeswoman said in a media release Thursday morning that Romello was taken off life support Wednesday night.
Jackson was hurt Tuesday in the same Tampa house fire that killed another 8-year-old, a 3-year-old and his grandmother.
Investigators are blaming that fire on an overloaded power strip that had been spliced with another wire.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, wiring, switches, and outlets cause 280 fires a year on average.
Electricians say overloading your power strip can happen easily.
"The thing is, with electricity, only god knows when it's going to strike," said Chris Mack, owner of Acme Electrical Services in Tampa.
Mack said one of the most dangerous things you can do is plug in a cord with an exposed wire. 
"That absolutely is a potential fire hazard," Mack said.
But more often, Mack says people buy discount power strips with no safety or "reset" switch and expect them to be able to handle the amperage of high-power appliances like refrigerators, high-power fans and even heaters in colder weather. He said these discount power strips most of the time cannot handle that amount of power coursing through it and can fry, leading to fire.
He recommends never using these discount power strips and limiting how many appliances people should plug into any one power strip. He also said people should not string several power strips together, as that can lead to an overloaded outlet.
"Things to consider: There's a reason your outlet only has two plugs in it," Mack said. "I mean, if it was capable of withstanding that many outlets, you'd have it on your wall."
Mack said if you need more outlets, don't use multiple power strips. Instead, he said to install more electrical outlets. Mack also says every family should have their wiring checked by a licensed electrician every few years to help keep their family safe from fire.


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