FIREFIGHTERS who turned out to a blaze found 14 appliances running from the same kitchen socket.
They had been called to a washing machine fire at a property in Henblas Road, Rhostyllen, Wrexham, at about 12.35pm yesterday.
And they are now warning householders to avoid overloading electrical sockets, especially as decorations start to go up in time for the festive season.
Steve Houghton, of North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: “These residents were lucky. They smelled smoke when the washing machine overheated and called us for assistance.
“The damage could have been worse if they had been out at the time or even more serious if they had been asleep in their beds.”
Gary Brandrick, senior fire safety manager for the service, said: “So many residents use old or dangerous electrical items and overload their sockets, causing a potentially fatal fire risk.
“We attend about 470 accidental fires in dwellings each year and electricity or electrical items are responsible for more than 300 of these fires.
“About 90 of these fires are due to electrical faults but the majority are caused by misuse of the electrical items. It’s important to operate appliances according to the manufacturers’ instructions and to check electrical items and leads for signs of damage or wear.
Mr Brandrick added: “At this time of year it’s important to check that your Christmas tree lights conform to the British Standard.
“Always use an RCD safety device on outdoor electrical equipment and always switch off and unplug Christmas lights before you go to bed.
“Everyone thinks that a fire will never happen to them but there are many stories like that in Rhostyllen showing that fires such as these can happen to anyone. My advice is to get prepared and stay safe.
“To help avoid overloading sockets, give our ‘ampage’ calculator on our website and facebook page a go. It tells you if you are in danger of overloading and helps you to stay electrically safe.”
For a free home fire safety check, where new smoke alarms will be fitted where needed free of charge, please call the 24 hour fire hotline on 0800 1691243.