The Madison Fire Department extinguished a fire Sunday night that caused the siding of an Edgewood Road home to smolder, the borough fire chief said.
The department responded to the fire at 8:25 p.m. after the homeowner smelled smoke in the house and then found the smoldering siding near phone and cable wires, Chief Lou DeRosa said.
Fire officials found the cable TV and phone service wires to the house acted as a heating element that started the wood clapboards burning. The MAIN breaker was shut off in the electrical panel and the fire was extinguished on the exterior by removing the clapboards and wetting down the area, he said.
The fire did not extend into the residence.
Madison’s Electric utility removed the electric meter and determined the “neutral” wire in the meter pan had broken, apparently due to corrosion from water that had, over time, been leaking into the meter pan, DeRosa said.
The broken wire, along with poor grounding of the electrical service, caused the cable and phone wires to become overheated and start burning on the exterior of the house, he said. Madison’s Electric Department disconnected power to the house and the home owner was advised that they needed a licensed electrical contractor to make repairs to the electrical service before power could be restored.
No one was injured and all fire units were cleared from the scene at 9:38 p.m. Madison Police assisted with traffic at the scene.
DeRosa said such electrical problems are "few and far between," but do occasionally happen. Possible indications of electrical problems include flickering light, or lights that are dimmer or brighter than normal. DeRosa suggested residents have a licensed electrical contractor look over their electrical service and the electrical grounding of their service when they have any type of electrical work done.