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Charger left on mattress believed to be cause of Westville fire

A charger is believed to have caused a fire in Westville.
A charger is believed to have caused a fire in Westville. - Contributed

Shelley MacInnis has seen warnings online, but says she didn’t realize the true risk of having electronics plugged in near a bed until this week, when a fire broke out in her Westville home.

“I was actually shocked,” MacInnis said after learning the cause of the blaze. “I mean you see it on Facebook and in the news but I didn’t think it would happen to us.”

Westville Fire Chief Kenny Dunn said his department responded to the fire at around 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 6 that appears to have been caused by a cell phone charger left on a mattress.

MacInnis says she was downstairs when she heard a smoke detector go off, so went upstairs to check out what was going on.

She checked her bedroom but saw nothing but then caught the smell of smoke.

Entering the hallway she could see flames under her son’s door. Her son had left just half an hour before, and thankfully was safe.

At that point, her husband Gordie Duchemin jumped out of bed and ran downstairs to get a fire extinguisher. With a towel over his face to keep the smoke from getting in his face, he sprayed the fire.

“If he wasn’t home we would have been homeless because he usually works days and he worked a night shift the day before,” MacInnis said.

Dunn said the fire should be a warning to others of the risks of a charger box or device overheating. He said the blankets on a bed can trap the heat in, which can start a fire.

“It can happen with a laptop or cell phone,” he said.

If you do have to charge a device at night, it’s best to place it on a hard surface, he advises.

“Use a night stand or even lay it on the floor but not on the bed, because blankets and stuff trap the heat in and it gets hot quick,” Dunn said.

In the meantime, MacInnis said they’re thankful the damage wasn’t worse. They’re able to stay in their home, although they have to replace flooring and repaint upstairs and get a new mattress.

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