Faulty circuits appear to be far less the cause of fires in Lakewood apartments as faulty cooks.
Perhaps mandatory cooking classes would be in order?
Forty-two minutes into the video/audio recording of the proceedings of the Lakewood City Council the night of July 5, 2016 there is a PowerPoint slide depicting an apartment fire in Lakewood. Lakewood City Attorney Heidi Wachter represents the slide during the public hearing on the Rental Inspection Program as evidence of the need for rental inspections.
Here’s Wacter’s voice-over when the apartment fire slide appears: “As you can see agencies end up with sometimes the worst of the situations where further resources are put into apartment fires which we have experienced in the City of Lakewood.”
That same presentation – and apartment-fire slide – appears on page 38 of the December 14, 2015 City Council meeting culminating the “ugly” portion of “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” visual walkthrough of Lakewood rentals.
Two of the fourteen slides flashed on the screen during “the Ugly” portion are of a mobile home and what appears to be a trailer. Wachter admits during this portion of her presentation that mobile homes are excluded from the Rental Inspection Program (RIP) given the dwellings themselves are not rented, only the ground upon which they sit.
One-half the remainder of the slides (whether they are taken inside mobile homes or other rentals is not clear) show exposed wiring leaving the impression then that it is in fact unsafe wiring that is responsible for apartment fires which is the last slide shown.
Turns out that may not be the case.
A recent inquiry of West Pierce Fire and Rescue (WPFR) as to the cause of fires in Lakewood netted the following:
In researching data from 2011-2015, WPFR “found 106 structure fires that had electrical/arcing as the suspected heat source. The data is only as reliable as what gets inputted by the crews. We are not able to breakdown by zip codes to determine Lakewood only. The 106 incidents represent 14% of all structure fires.”
And then WPFR concludes their findings with this:
“Unattended cooking is by far the source of the majority of structure fires.”
Lakewood appears to have its wires crossed.
Too many cooks have spoiled this stew.
As rental inspection is billed as a safety issue and cooks – not circuits – are the culprits then it stands to the ever-bit-as-absurd reason as employed to-date by RIP architects that cooking classes, followed up by inspectors to ensure safe cooking standards are met, are in order.
Guess who’s coming to dinner.