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“Modem fire nearly burned down house”

Posted in Canada, Community


Published on July 03, 2015 with No Comments

A 38-year-old Guelph, Ont., man has said that he’s lucky that his house didn’t burn down after his Rogers Hitron modem burst into flames, filling his home with foul-smelling smoke and forcing him and his family to spend the night in a hotel room.
Dennis Barbier said he first noticed that something was wrong at about 5 p.m. Monday after he came home from work and suddenly lost his internet connectivity.
Barbier, who works in IT and repairs computers for the University of Guelph, said he went into the basement, where his family keeps the modem, to investigate. That’s when he caught a whiff of burning plastic and noticed that his modem was on fire. “Like, I’m not talking a small flickering. It was a raging inferno,” he said. “Like flames shooting out of it two feet high. It hadn’t just caught on fire, it had been burning for some time. There was black soot everywhere. Luckily I do have a fire extinguisher, so I grabbed it and we put the fire out.”
Guelph Fire Services arrived within a matter of minutes, according to Barbier, and after an initial inspection, firefighters set up a fan in order to ventilate the Barbier’s home of smoke and fumes. The fire service followed up with a visit by a fire inspector.
“I was called in to investigate because it was kind of strange circumstances,” said Craig Bottomley, a fire inspector with the City of Guelph. He noted he’s never seen a modem catch fire in his four years on the job investigating fires in the city.
Bottomley said the official cause remains undetermined, but based on his visit, he thinks the probable source of the flames was the modem.
Bottomley noted that the modem, which was sitting on top of a computer, may have overheated and caught on fire. Once the modem started burning, he said, pieces of burning plastic fell into an opening in the computer below, causing it to catch fire as well. “In my opinion it was very lucky that the homeowner was there at the time,” Bottomley said. “If nobody had been home it would have been a full-fledged house fire.


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