HANCOCK -- Last week's fire at Powder Hounds Restaurant was caused by an overloaded power strip, ac cording to local and state fire officials.
In a joint statement, state Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan and Hancock Fire Chief David R. Rash said the power strip was in an office inside the restaurant. Powder Hounds is located at 147 Brodie Mount ain Road.
Damages were estimated at $125,000.
The fire was investigated by members of the Hancock Fire Department, State Police assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal, and agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The ATF frequently joins investigations at commercial properties.
An electrical problem is also being blamed for starting the fire that displaced three families from a multi-unit housing structure on Dart mouth Street in Pittsfield on Monday night.
According to the Massachu setts Fire Incident Reporting System, fire departments re sponded to 760 structure fires caused by electrical problems in Massachusetts in 2011. Electrical fires were the leading cause of structure fire deaths in 2011.
These fires caused 14 civilian deaths, one fireman's death, 27 civilian injuries, 81 firemen's injuries and an estimated dollar loss of $30.7 million, accounting for 14 percent of the total dollar loss to fires in 2011. The average loss per fire was $40,337.
"Our electrical needs are constantly growing, so it is important to
To avoid such fires, Coan recommended releasing cords pinched behind furniture and plugging no more than one appliance in a wall outlet at a time. Don't overload power strips, which should only be used with a few low-current devices, he said. And don't use bulbs that exceed the capacity of a lamp or light fixture; don't put a cord under a rug or nail it in place; replace cracked or frayed cords; and don't use indoor appliances and cords outdoors.