Family escapes fire in Inkster, phone charger may have sparked it

By Shawn Ley, Local 4 Reporter, @ShawnLeyLive, sley@wdiv.com
Published On: Sep 16 2013 09:44:00 AM EDT
Updated On: Sep 16 2013 06:55:53 PM EDT

It happened in the 4100 block of Henry Ruff around 6:30 Monday morning.

INKSTER, Mich. -

Could a brand new cell phone charger left in an outlet be the cause of a townhouse fire in Inkster this morning? The fire chief says yes.

It happened in the 4100 block of Henry Ruff around 6:30 Monday morning. Fire crews were called to the townhouse of Alicia Lenear.

Lenear tells Local 4 that she was getting her kids ready for school when she grabbed her cell phone that was left charging in her upstairs bedroom.

“The phone was hot.” Lenear says.

She left the charger in the outlet.

“I didn’t think anything of it.” Lenear said.

When she returned, fire was coming from the walls.

“Everything was on fire. I grabbed my kids and we got out," she said.

Lenear also went door-to-door to the neighboring townhomes to get others to safety, in case the fire spread.

Inkster fire crews were able to keep the fire contained to just Lenear’s home.

The cause of the fire?

Inkster Fire Chief Mark Hubanks tells Local 4 it was likely the cell phone charger left in the outlet.

“It’s a charged line. It’s a live plug. It’s not a good idea, ” Hubanks said.

There are about a dozen cell phone charger fires reported every year.

Some are caused by cheap, after market chargers.

Monday morning's fire in Inkster was from the charger that came with the new phone.  

The fire may also have something to do with the wiring at the townhomes.

Neighbors complained of having issues with the electricity, that, combined with the charger left in the wall, may have added up to sparking the fire. 

Hubanks says the best bet is to charge your device and then unplug the charger from the outlet. 

Lenear in the meantime is staying with friends.

The upper half of her townhome suffered significant damage.

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