DeQuincy man loses home, pet to fire started by phone charger

Published: Aug. 11, 2023 at 9:20 PM CDT
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DEQUINCY, La. (KPLC) - A phone charger was the cause of a fire that burned a mobile home in DeQuincy a few weeks ago. Now the homeowner is telling his story urging people to be careful when charging their phones.

Homeowner Edward Caswell is still in disbelief about what happened to his home.

“I was kicking myself in the butt because I charge my phone on my bed, just happen to throw it on the bed and didn’t even think about it at all,” he said.

“It’s all gone, it’s all gone. I lost my wife two years ago and I still have some of her stuff, thank God,” Caswell said.

It happened so suddenly, Caswell said. He had gone over to a friend for about an hour.

He left his dog and phone at home to let it charge on his bed. But what he would witness as he approached his driveway blindsided him. His mobile home was in flames.

“Yes, I was shocked, it was devastating. The first thing I thought was, ‘Where’s my dog,’ and the fire department had her out there trying to resuscitate her, but she didn’t make it,” Caswell said.

Firefighters determined the bed caught fire from an electric spark from his phone charger.

DeQuincy Fire Chief Johnny Copeland said the last three fires his team has responded to have all been due to an electrical cause. One last week was started by an air conditioning unit.

“The window unit had a cord plugged into the receptacle and the cord itself actually overheated and caught on fire. The bed was pushed all the way against the cord. This was actually a handicapped person that this home belonged to, so had this been the middle of the night this could’ve been tragic,” he said.

Ward Six Fire Chief Todd Parker explained though fires started by chargers are rare, there are some safety tips to follow.

Always use the charger the device came with. Avoid using batteries at very high temperatures.

And most importantly, never cover your charger cords while charging your device. Don’t place it on your bed, or under your pillow or blanket.

At the time of the fire, Caswell was on disability and could not afford to insure his mobile home. A fundraiser has been created for donations to assist him in rebuilding.