LOGAN — City of Logan Fire Chief Scott Beckett, who also acts as the city’s code enforcement official, said the city is seeking to implement a new inspection process for all new residential electric hookups within city limits.
During the Logan City Council’s most recent regular monthly meeting on Feb. 16, Beckett said he has had discussions with AEP customer services engineer Jerry Peyton about implementing the process. Beckett said it would require any new residential electric hookups within city limits to be inspected by a certified electrician from the city.
Beckett said the city has seen a slew of deadly fires caused by electrical problems, most recently resulting in a fatality in one and severe burns in another.
“The reason we want that done is the last two (fires) … we had a fatality last winter and we have a guy with 60% burns laying at St. Mary’s (Medical Center) right now and both of them is from electrical issues,” Beckett said. “With the demolition going on, we can’t afford for people to put in stuff that’s not up to code, and I know that may be a hard lesson for people to learn, but it’s going to have to be done. We are playing catch-up with what the rest of the other states do. They’re a little bit more strict than we are.”
Beckett cited portable space heaters as a particular issue. He said both recent examples were caused by space heaters running off of faulty wiring.
“We need to be in the process before anything goes on, before anybody turns anything on, whether it be water or sewer or power, whatever,” Beckett said, “because if we’re there from the get-go, then we can make that it’s up to code and it’s not a condemned structure and it’s not going to be something that comes back and bites us in the long run.”
He added, “When you’ve got people jumping power from another house to power a house to power a house, you all know that won’t work,” Beckett added. “That won’t work anywhere, and eventually, it catches up, and that’s what it’s done.”
Beckett said he plans to find another municipality already doing similar measures and modeling Logan’s new code after theirs.
“It’s smart,” Beckett said. “It’s the smart thing to do. It’s more work on us, but I mean, I’d rather go on the front side than be on the back side when the house is on fire.”
Beckett said Stevie Trent, a captain with the fire department, is a certified electrician and has already agreed to perform the inspections.