Fire that killed brothers blamed on overloaded power strip

January 7, 2020 GMT

FITCHBURG, Mass. (AP) — A house fire in Massachusetts that took the lives of two brothers last weekend was caused by an overloaded power strip, investigators said Tuesday.

The victims of the fire in Fitchburg reported at about 12:30 a.m. Sunday were publicly identified as Gregory Wilson, 61, and Franklin Wilson III, 50, according to a statement from the office of state Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey.

The fire started in a first-floor bedroom of the two-family home.

A space heater, a cellphone, a lamp, a television, and a computer monitor and processor were among the items plugged into the power strip, according to investigators.

It cannot be determined which, if any, of the appliances caused the overload or if the use of all the appliances together triggered it.

“I would ask anyone else in the city using a space heater to make sure it is plugged directly into the wall outlet, not an extension cord or power strip,” Fitchburg fire Chief Kevin Roy.

There were also no working smoke alarms in the house.