Cumbrian residents have been sent a timely reminder of the importance of electrical safety after a fire totally destroyed a 160-year old house full of antiques in Methuen, Massachusetts.
The timber-framed building was the property of a local antique dealer, whose stock includes antique desks, Victorian dining chairs and other fine furniture – much of which was being stored in the house when the fire broke out on Wednesday 12th December, around 2.30 pm. Thankfully, the house was empty of occupants at the time, but despite the presence of two fire alarms most of the antiques were lost. According to a local fire chief, the cause of the fire was probably electrical. The unique construction of the 1840s building allowed the blaze to be swiftly channelled up the walls, and by the time the fire-fighters arrived the upper floors were already engulfed. They spent over two hours battling the blaze on the roof, even sawing timbers to reach the attic space, but while the main building was still lost an adjoining carriage house was saved.
Although the cause of the electrical fault is unknown, it is a sad fact that at this time of year the incidence of house fires – often caused by faulty fairy lights – can rise by up to 50% in areas like Lancashire. An antique mahogany partners desk is the perfect addition to an older property, but brick-built houses can just as easily go up in smoke as timbered ones.
An antique dealer in Preston will have antique mahogany partners desks to add a warm glow to any home – but electrical safety should always come before aesthetics.
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