Tragedy gleans knowledge to be passed on

House fire reveals flaw in commonly used appliance

To the Editor:

On September 2 my family’s home burned to the ground.

Some of the sting has been taken out of this horrific event by the kindness and support of friends, neighbours and acquaintances.The response was immediate and most thankfully received.

This experience brought home some of the benefits of living in a rural and supportive community. When the need is there, the community responds. This does not stop with the individual but extend to business and also brought home the importance of doing business locally.

Years ago we chose Similkameen Agencies as our insurance broker and could not be more satisfied with the way the insurance process has unfolded, beginning at Similkameen Agencies with a quick response by Nancy Allen who had the insurance process underway even before I had phoned her. Thank you, Nancy and Similkameen Agencies. Each person we have dealt with from the initial adjuster on has been helpful, patient and taken the time to clearly explain the process and what we should expect.

The most likely cause of the fire was a malfunctioning power bar. The power bar in question was not a cheap one, nor was it the most expensive, but in the $40 range. We have learned more than we ever wanted to know about power bars, but now understand what we need to do to help protect ourselves in the future. I hope this information will help Review readers protect themselves.

Inexpensive power bars have a surge breaker that is bi-metal and work nicely for circuit overload protection (using too much power). When the one metal heats to a critical temperature faster than the other metal it causes the bi-metal to arc, breaking the circuit.

The problem is however, with a low wattage draw over a period of time, both metals heat slowly and uniformly not arcing one metal to break contact. This can result in the power bar to be self-igniting, causing a fire.

After learning this I checked the warranty of my $50 + surge protector (power bar) used for my computer and accessories. The following is taken from the warranty:

“This warranty does not cover damage caused by lightning, accident, misuse, or alterations to product. *This product, like ALL surge suppressors, has a FINITE life. Even under normal circumstances and in the absence of defects, the product’s life will end when the component providing surge protection exceeds its capacity and ceases to provide protection from surges and spikes. “

Lee McFadyen

Karl, Sarah, Skye and Shannon


Sumac Road, Cawston



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