Two fires in Iowa on Monday are tentatively being blamed on overloaded electrical outlets or faulty power cords. One fire destroyed a gas station and liquor store in Altoona, the other struck a mobile home in Shenandoah. Ron Biggers, Shenandoah’s Assistant Fire Chief, says electrical outlet safety is very important.

“Don’t plug a lot of stuff into one outlet,” Biggers says. “Don’t have a lot of cords leading into a lot of junctions and make sure you’re not running any wires under carpet, flooring or behind any baseboard.” Biggers says firefighters extinguished the mobile home blaze Monday morning, which likely started in cords behind a computer. He says no one was home at the time of the fire.

“The guy had just drove up and noticed there was smoke coming out, so he, luckily and what he should have done, kept the door shut and called us and it kept it from spreading any faster,” Biggers says. “Because you’re going to let oxygen in and that’s what the fire’s waiting for, to start breathing, and one of the three components of a fire is oxygen to keep it going and let it go faster.”

No one was injured in the blaze. Investigators say two other fires on Monday had the same cause — a candle left burning unattended. No one was hurt in either of those fires either. One did heavy damage to a home in the Plymouth County town of Struble , while the other gutted a house in South Sioux City.

By Kristan Gray, KMA, Shenandoah