BLUFFTON, S.C. (WSAV) – A Bluffton house, used as an in-home daycare, was significantly damaged in an electrical fire Thursday evening.

Around 5:45 p.m., crews from six Bluffton Township Fire District stations responded to the home on Simmonsville Road to find flames coming from the back right corner of the house.

Investigators determined the fire was likely caused by several extension cords plugged into a single wall outlet in a bedroom. The cords overheated and ignited the carpeting in the room, officials said.

According to Bluffton Township Fire District, the owner was at home at the time of the fire but wasn’t indoors when the fire began.

Fire Chief Paul Boulware warned against overloading extension cords.

“Many homeowners use extension or drop cords because there aren’t enough outlets for all of their electronics,” Boulware said. “We have a lot more devices that people keep constantly plugged in using extension cords. The danger in doing that is it overloads the cord and causes it to overheat, which can ignite a fire as it did in this home.”

The district passed along the following electrical safety tips provided by the National Fire Protection Association and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:

  • Major appliances (refrigerators, dryers, washers, stoves, air conditioners, microwave ovens, etc.) should be plugged directly into a wall outlet. Extension cords and power strips should never be used.
  • Use ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to reduce the risk of shock. GFCIs shut off an electrical circuit when it becomes a shock hazard. They should be installed inside the home in bathrooms, kitchens, garages, and basements. All outdoor receptacles should be GFCI protected.
  • If any part of an extension cord is hot while in use, it is a warning sign that it may be overloaded. Check if the extension cord is properly rated for the products that are plugged into it. Also, inspect the cord along its entire length to ensure it has not been damaged.
  • Never alter a cord to change its length or perform inadequate repairs such as taping up damaged insulation. Do not trim, cut, or alter the plug blades in any way.
  • Check cords to make sure they have been listed by a recognized national testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Intertek (ETL) or CSA-International (CSA).