New Philadelphia, Ohio - Firefighters say a New Philadelphia apartment complex will need some electrical upgrades after a second breaker box there malfunctioned over the weekend.
New Philadelphia Fire Captain Matt Tharp says the department was called back out Saturday morning to the property in the 1200 block of Kelly Street NW when a breaker box started smoking inside one of the units. He says this was in the building adjacent to where another box caught fire on February 14th.
“The tenant stated that the same problem that happened in the neighboring units a week ago was happening to his unit. He said that the main circuit box was smoked real bad. He stated that he threw water on the breaker box to put out a fire that had started on top of the box," Tharp says.
Tharp says no one was injured and the damage was limited to the breaker box and surrounding areas.
“The breaker box was found with smoke coming out of the top. The rafters above the box had some black from heat damage," he says.
Tharp says American Electric Power was called in to temporarily shut off service to the area so they could further inspect the box.
"The main breaker box was completely melted. None of the breakers inside the box were tripped. The box was a GE box," he says. "The fire that was started outside the box had originated to a very small area around the main group of wires."
Tharp says AEP also measured the current entering the building and determined it was within its normal operating limit. He says the fire department has contacted the landlord about bringing in an electrician to inspect the equipment in both buildings.
"They were built at the same time and possibly [have] the same equipment on the electric service line, so it seems like they just have a pretty big problem going on with their electric service in that building.
Tharp says the tenants were evacuated until AEP was able to restore power to the building.