Homeowner: Hannibal fire started in electrical box installed by family member
Fire damages Hannibal home
Fugate says she had trouble finding the door in heavy smoke.
The home collapsed shortly after firefighters arrived.
HANNIBAL, Mo. (WGEM) -
A Hannibal couple is trying to figure out what's next after losing its home to a fire late last night.
Firefighters say heavy smoke and fire was pouring from the house at 1320 Lindell Avenue when they arrived at about 10:30 p.m. Sunday. Part of the building collapsed withing minutes.
The homeowners say they think the fire happened because their new electric box wasn't installed correctly.
Sharon Fugate's family is helping her pick up the pieces now that her belongings sit under a pile of charred wood.
Fugate and her husband escaped their home safely Sunday night, but not much made it through the fire.
"Photographs, Donald found a few but not all of them," Fugate said. "You know, my grandkids and my kids and things. I lost almost all that."
Fugate says her husband tried to put water on the fire and was burned in the process. He was treated for minor injuries at Hannibal Regional Hospital.
Fugate says the house was filled with smoke, and it was hard to get to the door.
"I just kind of moved myself along the walls trying to find it because I couldn't breathe," Fugate said.
Fugate says fire officials told her there was a problem with the home's electric box which led to the fire. A family member installed it just under a year ago.
"He says it was wired up wrong," Fugate said. "They said that's what it was the fuse box, and it's brand new."
Hannibal electrician Ahmed Elder says electrical fires are usually caused by overloading circuits.
"When the circuits overload, they get hot, and that causes fire," Elder said.
Elder says when it comes to wiring your home, it's best to leave it to the experts.
"I would definitely recommend that they talk to an electrician or somebody that has experience with that," Elder said. "Or even call your local electrical inspector or building inspector. But ask someone who has the proper knowledge because trying to do it yourself, you may get it right, you may not."
The homeowners did not have insurance on the house.The Red Cross is helping the couple now, and soon the couple will move in with family.
Officials also say the home did not have a smoke detector.