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Dec. 3, 2022

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Drone battery named likely cause of Sifton house fire

By , Columbian county government and small cities reporter
Published:

A charging drone battery is the likely cause of a May house fire in the Sifton neighborhood, according to the Clark County Fire Marshal’s Office.

Fire crews were dispatched at 12:32 p.m. May 22 to 7205 N.E. 125th Ave. The fire was put out in roughly 10 minutes, Deputy Fire Marshal Caleb Barnes said.

No injuries were reported, but flames caused heavy damage to the front of the house and attic, and smoke affected other parts of the structure, Barnes said. Three adults and a dog were displaced, and the damage was assessed at $272,742.

“The walls are still standing, but the inside of the house was really damaged,” Barnes said.

The homeowner left four lithium polymer drone batteries charging in the front part of the house, Barnes said. He was changing a tire in his garage while his adult daughter was in the front yard when they heard several loud booms.

One of the batteries likely caught fire, Barnes said. The deputy fire marshal added that three pressurized cans that were near the charger popped due to the fire, creating the explosive sounds.

A warning label advises against leaving the battery unattended while charging, and the battery was in a charger from a different manufacturer, which may have led to the ignition, Barnes said.

“That’s just a recipe for disaster,” Barnes said. “They’re unstable.”

The incident was reported to the U.S. Consumers Product Safety Commission. Barnes said this isn’t the first time a fire in Clark County was caused by a drone battery.

“It’s not wildly uncommon,” Barnes said. “But as drones gain popularity, I think we will see more of this.”

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Columbian county government and small cities reporter